UPDATE: Athlon 64 support high, chips low

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Motherboard manufacturers have voiced their support for AMD's latest 64-bit Athlon chip, despite some citing chip shortages in the region as a looming problem.

“We think it will sell extremely well, although the chips are going to be hard to find,” said Tomasz Swatowski from manufacturer Albatron.

It's a sentiment shared by other leading motherboard manufacturers, including ABIT, Gigabyte and Shuttle.

These manufacturers, and more, have Athlon 64 motherboards ready to ship and have working samples on display at Computex. However, they expect sales to only pick up at the end of the year when AMD's chip fabrication plants ramp up production.

At launch, AMD expects to have approximately 80,000 chips available, with 400,000 released by the end of the year.

In the meantime, AMD distributors in Australia are expecting big demand for the chips and don't expect any major supply issues.

Rob Kester, area manager for Australia and New Zealand at AMD distributor Avnet Applied Computing, expected that allocations should cover local demand, although it was still “early days” and difficult to tell. The distributor was expecting to receive shipment of around 100 pieces by the end of the week.

“We are aware that North America and Europe have had massive demand for this product. Most guys are bringing in boards and initial quantities are small,” he said. “It'll kick in towards the end of the quarter.” he

Avnet has had some initial demand in small quantities, but Kester expected that high-end gamers and graphic-intensive markets would drive sales.

He also claimed some motherboard manufacturers had been willing to bundle the processors with their motherboards. Kester was encouraging buyers, however, to purchase the chips separately.

Safa Joumaa, sales and marketing director at local Tyan and ABIT motherboard distributor Altech Computers, confirmed he had heard rumours in relation to the bundling of Athlon chips with motherboards. I don't believe there's going to be bundles -- there's no way in the world. It's going to be way to expensive, he said, adding that buyers could be paying up to $2,500 for a bundle.

A spokesperson at a local motherboard distributor, who declined to be named, said supply of the “extremely expensive” Athlons shouldn't be a problem. “We're hearing that there's enough stock for everybody,” he said. “However, there's a catch -– if demand is going to be so high, are they [AMD] going to keep up with demand?”

Already, around a dozen companies have expressed interest in purchasing boards with the Athlon chip, but no solid orders had been finalised, he said.

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