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A report from web-site Friday states that the world’s largest chipmaker Intel Corporation had decided to delay the commercial release of the Pentium 4 processor clocked at 4.0GHz till next year. The achievement of 4.0GHz clock-rate was a milestone of the Pentium 4 chips set by the company’s president Paul Otellini in late 2003.

4GHz – in 2005

Intel originally planned to release its Pentium 4 processor at 4GHz clock-speed in the fourth quarter of 2004, which was a highly-advertised and discussed introduction. However, following the recent sequence of product delays the company now tells its partners that the chip clocked at 4.0GHz will only ship in the first quarter 2005, according to reports.

Despite of massive transition to 90nm process technology that theoretically allows microprocessors to be clocked at high rates, some of Intel’s high-end products are only available in limited quantities even now. For instance, Intel recently said that its Xeon 3.60GHz processor would only be available in limited quantities as production ramped through Q3 2004.

Earlier this year Intel had to postpone the release of its Pentium 4 processor 3.40GHz produced using 90nm process technology for more than a month. As a result, computer makers had to stick to older-generation Pentium 4 processor 3.40GHz manufactured using 130nm fabrication technology.

More Delays to Follow?

Intel has been reshuffling its plans brutally since late 2002 when the company announced the postponement of its much-anticipated Prescott processor from mid-2003 to a later date. Afterwards, the Santa Clara, California-based chip giant had to delay the mobile product code-named Dothan and the desktop Prescott processors for a number of times. Recently the company also decided topush the release of a new mobile platform forward. More badly for Intel, the firm’s server business also faced postponements.

Since the company’s businesses are closely connected with process technology and certain similar peculiarities of various products, the setback of high-speed desktop processors may also affect server and mobile plans.

1066MHz Bus, AAC, XD Technologies?

It is not clear whether Intel is still on-track to deliver its anticipated infrastructure with 1066MHz processor system bus that includes chipsets and processors. According to people familiar with the company’s roadmap, Intel targeted to deliver 3.46GHz and 3.73GHz processors for enthusiasts in Q3 and Q4 respectively.

Intel has also been telling its partners that it would deliver revamped versions of the Pentium 4 with additional security capability along with the so-called AAC feature that is aimed to shrink CPU’s power consumption and clock-speed allowing computer designers to reduce the noise level produced by fans that cool down high-speed microprocessors. Originally Intel promised to bring such Pentium 4 products in October, but at this point there is no information whether the plans are on-track.

An Intel representative could not comment on the story at press-time.


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