Report: Core Mobile CPU shortage worsening

— 6:00 AM on April 26, 2010

Remember last month's stories about supply of Intel's new Core Mobile processors running tight? The situation hasn't improved, according to PC World, which reports that the shortage actually "appears to be worsening."

The Core Mobile lineup encompasses 32-nm Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 notebook processors. PC World quotes a U.S. distributor as saying tight supply of those parts has triggered a bidding war, which has in turn led to price hikes of as much as 20%. Not only that, but research firm CLSA Asia Pacific Markets told PC World the shortages could postpone some laptop launches by "three months or more"—and help AMD grab some much-needed market share in the process.

The folks at IDC sound a little less alarmist; PC World includes a quote from IDC's Shane Rau, who explained, "I don't think that the shortage will be so acute as to hold back the market and raise system prices significantly." Rau believes smaller vendors will bear the brunt of the supply issues.

Intel, meanwhile, says it has started ramping 32-nm production at its third and fourth fabs ahead of schedule. The chipmaker will have four fabs churning out 32-nm chips by October, according to CEO Paul Otellini.

In March, the rumor mill blamed Acer for ordering too many Core Mobile processors and leaving smaller PC vendors with insufficient supply. (Acer is, after all, the world's second-biggest PC vendor today.) Perhaps the shortage explains why Apple only just released MacBook Pro laptops based on the new Core Mobile chips, and why the 13" model still packs a Core 2 Duo.

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