Intel to delay next version of Itanium chip

By : |October 25, 2005 0

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

Separately, the world’s largest chipmaker said it would invest $650 million in its New Mexico chip plant for next- generation chipmaking technologies, creating more than 300 jobs.

Intel 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.

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 hoped, analysts have said.

“These very high end chips are hard and it is always tough to control the schedules in terms of when they’re going to be ready for prime time,” said Nathan Brookwood, an analyst at market research firm Insight 64. “There’s probably some more testing that needed to be done.”

But Montecito will still deliver twice the performance of the current Itanium version code-named Madison, McLaughlin said. The market for such high-end computers amounts to about 500,000 units annually, Brookwood said.

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

A new Xeon MP platform, or collection of processors and chipsets, called Caneland, will replace the Reidland platform that was due out in 2007, McLaughlin said.

Tigerton is the code name of the processor that will replace the Whitefield processor that had been planned for use in the Reidland platform.

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.

“We had an opportunity to be able to deliver even more performance,” McLaughlin said.
The Xeon MP chips are used in computer servers that have four microprocessors or more in them. Server computers are the workhorses of computer networks.

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