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Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Intel Delays New Itanium Chip Until 2006


Intel said on Monday it was delaying the next version of its Itanium chip that is used in high-end server computers until the middle of 2006, citing quality issues.

The company now plans to begin volume production of the next version of the Itanium chip, code-named Montecito, in mid-2006, pushing it back from its initial plans for volume production in the first quarter of 2006.

"We're not going into details on the specifics of the processor other than to say we're not satisfied with the quality right now," said Intel spokesman Scott McLaughlin.

The basic reason behind the delay is that Intel had to make sure that the new chips would be throughout tested before launch, said CDRinfo Horst Katter, Senior Marketing Manager Enterprise Solution EMEA (Intel).

Sales of the Itanium chip, which is used in high-powered, high-end computers to replace mainframe computers, among other uses, have not been as robust as Intel has hoped, analysts have said.

But Montecito will still deliver twice the performance of the current Itanium version code-named Madison, McLaughlin said.

New platforms

Intel also made some other changes to its line-up of expected chips, which Intel calls a roadmap and lays out to the industry regularly at its analyst meetings.

A new Xeon MP platform, or collection of processors and chipsets, called Truland, will replace the Reidland platform that was due out in 2007, Katter said. The new platform includes Dual-core Xeons of up to 3GHz, 2x2MB L2 cache as well as a 667 and 800 MHz FSB. Intel expects broad OEM availability of the Xeon MP platform before the end of 2005.

Staying at the server solutions, Intel announced the Xeon DP platform (Linderhust). The new platform includes Dual-core Xeons of 2.8GHz and 2x2MB L2 cache.

Tigerton will be the code name of the processor that will replace the Whitefield processor that had been planned for use in the Reidland platform. Tigerton is expetced to contain a minimum of four cores.

Among other enhancements that Intel said would make Caneland more powerful than the Reidland platform is a direct connection between the processors and the chipsets, which speeds overall performance. The microprocessor giant will add a dedicated path to the chipset from each processor. That will address bandwidth constraints when several processors compete to communicate to the chipset over just one front-side bus.

Copperation with ATI

Intel seems to address a shortage of chip sets for its low-end desktop motherboards by using devices from ATI Technologies.

Intel placed information about its D101GGC motherboard, which uses ATI's Radeon Xpress 200 chipset, on its reseller website Monday.

Pricing and availability for the boards were not available, but one systems builder said the boards should be priced competitively with similar Intel-only products.

This is the first time Intel has used a third-party chipset on its branded motherboard. The move is intended to ease supply woes for systems builders who have been struggling to compete with low-cost desktops from Dell, some systems builders said.

During an analyst conference call earlier this month, CEO Paul Otellini denied rumors that Intel would permanently halt production of low-end chipsets. Otellini said Intel will resume making the chipsets when more capacity is available.

Although third-party motherboard options are available in the low end space, many systems builders prefer Intel-branded motherboards because of the service and support that accompanies them.

Doug Phillips, vice president of products and solutions at Seneca Data, a system builder based in Syracuse, N.Y., said the ATI relationship should help address the supply issue. It remains unclear, however, if there will be a sufficient number of boards to completely resolve the issue.

The D10GGC motherboard will feature an 800MHz or 533MHz system bus, two DIMM sockets that support DDR 400/333 memory, one PCI Express x1 connector, one PCI Express x16 connector, four SATA ports and onboard Ethernet, along with ATI's integrated Radeon graphics capabilities.


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