Chip Cos. Are Feeling Chipper: Intel Raises Estimates

[qi:gigaom_icon_chip] Intel (s intc) this morning lifted estimates for its third-quarter revenue, saying it now expects sales of $9 billion, give or take $200 million. That’s up from its previous guidance of $8.5 billion, give or take $400 million, issued just last month. The chipmaker, which is due to report third-quarter results on Oct. 13, attributed the higher outlook to strong demand. Intel’s revised guidance is one of several signs indicating a potential recovery in technology.

The North American book-to-bill ratio for chips rose to 1.06 in July from .80 the month before and from an anemic .47 in January. A book-to-bill of 1.06 means that $106 worth of orders were received for every $100 of product billed for the month. The measure is generally viewed as a forward-looking indicator of demand for the tech industry.

Earlier this week, a Lazard research note on Marvell (s mrvl), which supplies Wi-Fi chips for the PC market (among other devices), noted that PCs, which represent a large end market for chips, are doing well, too. Semiconductor analyst Daniel Amir wrote:

“Based on our checks we continue to believe that the PC supply chain is healthy and inventory levels may be on the low end…We expect the trend to continue as PC companies position for the launch of Windows 7 and the PC build will provide another jump in shipments in 3Q, which should drive growth for MRVL given its ~50% exposure to PCs.”

Confirming the brighter outlook ahead for PCs, Dell (s dell) CEO Michael Dell was quoted in that company’s fiscal second-quarter 2010 results releases as saying that, “If current demand trends continue, we expect revenue for the second half of the year to be stronger than the first half.”

Outside of the PC sector, mobile handset sales in the U.S. are up 14 percent from the previous year, and Cisco (s csco) CEO John Chambers said earlier this month that he sees positive signs when it comes to sales of the routing and switching gear that his company provides. Inside that networking gear are more chips. Silicon Valley is by no means exuberant, but it definitely looks like the tech world is feeling a bit more optimistic.