Intel Delays New Chip Release

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2003-04-14

Intel Delays New Chip Release

Intel Corp. has delayed the release of the 3GHz Pentium 4 processor due to "anomalies" in the new chip, according to a company spokesman.

However, the delay shouldnt cause the Santa Clara, Calif., chip maker too many headaches as long as it doesnt stretch out over more than two months, one analyst said.

Intel spokesman George Alfs said that in recent testing, engineers "found an anomaly with" the chip, which was scheduled to be released on Monday along with a chip set aimed at high-end PCs.

Alfs would not elaborate on the nature of the problems, but said they only involved the Pentium 4 chips that support a new 800MHz front-side bus in the 875P chip set, formerly known as Canterwood. A 3.06GHz Pentium 4 with a 533 front-side bus has been shipping since November. He also was unsure how long the delay would be, saying only that Intel officials "expect to be shipping soon."

Rob Enderle, an analyst with Giga Information Group Inc., said its not unusual to see delays in chips as manufacturers continue to crank up the performance.

"This isnt going to do a lot of damage, unless the delay is longer than two or three months," said Enderle, in Santa Clara, Calif. "Its generally better to do these things right than do them fast."

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It will have some impact on Intels bottom line—given that while such high-end components ship in smaller volumes, they also go for higher prices—but the chip maker was fortunate that the delays happening in the second quarter, as opposed to the third or fourth quarters, when computer sales peak, he said.

But delays that last long can be a problem for manufacturers, Enderle said. Advanced Micro Devices Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., was scheduled to release the desktop version of its new Hammer architecture before the end of last year. However, that chip—the Athlon 64—now will start shipping in September.

"If theyd had put it out when they were supposed to, they would have had a big jump on Intel, which didnt have anything like it at the time," Enderle said.

Now Athlon 64 will launch around the same time that Intel comes out with its Prescott chip, which industry observers expect to become Pentium 5.

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