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DVD-ROM drives are likely to stay on allocation until summer while the mobile phone industry eats up much-needed components.
Soaring demand for Digital Signal Processor (DSP)chips, needed as PC punters rush to switch from CD-ROMs to DVD-ROMs, as well as for mobile phones, is to blame for the drought.
Lead times are currently around 24 weeks for DSPs in the IT industry, but mostly the chips are on allocation. In the words of Les Billing, Microtronica MD, “they’re like gold-dust”.
“Very small quantities are getting through as manufacturers try to support the channel. But everyone is capacitied out making chips for the mobile phone industry,” he said.
The DVD explosion seems to have taken the industry by surprise. Adrian Thompson, Carrera’s marketing director, said: “Growth of the DVD-ROM business was way over what a lot of people realised it would be. Nobody realised how quickly they would take off.”
The same DSP component is used in CD-RWs. As demand for these devices has boomed recently ‘“ partly thanks to consumers increasingly using them for copying PC games ‘“ manufacturers have been unable to cope.
The industry has been told not to expect supply to start meeting demand until May ‘“ the time when PC orders generally start to decline. The grey market isn’t much help either ‘“ sources told The Register it is possible to get DVD-ROMs via the back door, but they cost the earth. And it is extremely rare to find DSP chips on the grey market.
It looks like the PC industry will have to wait and play second fiddle to the mobile phone frenzy.Â®