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Intel said Wednesday that shipments of its 90nm Pentium 4 chips had increased 1 million units per week by late April, which is on-track with the company’s expectations to ramp up volume production of its 90nm products in shortest time possible.

Prescott processor initially saw a massive delay from the Q2 2003 to Q1 to 2004 because of numerous issues with Intel’s 90nm fabrication process as well as the layout of the chip itself. But despite of this fact, Intel’s executives have been pretty confident in regards the ramp of its new products. Intel’s president Paul Otellini said last November that the Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker expects to ship around 70 million of its Prescott microprocessors made using 90nm fabrication process in 2004. The ramp was expected to be very rapid and shipments of CPUs with Prescott cores inside were projected to account for 60% of all Pentium shipments as well as 40% of all Celeron shipments next year, the firm expressed its hopes.

The world’s largest maker of computer chips – Intel – had to face numerous challenges with the latest version of its Pentium 4 chip, as the company embraced new 90nm fabrication process, 300mm wafers with new equipment as well as the new internal design of the chip itself.

Intel uses strained silicon and new materials with its 90nm process technology, which brought some additional difficulties. Furthermore, the company ran into power leakage problem, current flowing in a circuitry that is not being used at the moment. Even though the issue has been around for decades, it became dramatically serious with Intel’s Pentium 4 E processors known as Prescott.

The internal design of the Pentium 4 “Prescott” processor was also changed tangibly from the previous chips mainly because of deeper pipeline, 64-bit registers and loads of other changes.

Intel did not elaborate on the speed-mix and product-mix of its 90nm products at press time. The company also did not indicate whether it is satisfied with the yield and costs of its 90nm goods.

Some customers of the company were initially not satisfied with the supply of high-speed 90nm Prescott processors, such as Intel Pentium 4 3.40GHz. It is not clear whether the issue with supplies of such components has been resolved.

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