Although Intel Corp.’s initial Core i7 lineup includes a central processing unit that sells below $300, the new microprocessor family may never become mainstream, at least, based on Intel’s plans. Apparently, the quad-core Core i7 will have a tiny share among Intel’s desktop shipments even in three quarters from now.
According to Intel’s plans that X-bit labs has learnt, Intel pushes its highest-performing Core i7 chips based on Nehalem micro-architecture only into personal computers aimed at consumers. But even on that market Intel has no plans to be really aggressive with promotion of the new platform or flood the market with processors, while reducing the supplies of existing Intel Core 2 Quad central processing units (CPUs).
The share of Intel Core i7 chips is expected to be below 1% of all microprocessors that Intel will ship in Q4 2008, slides from certain product planning documents claim. Moreover, the proportion of Core i7 chips will hardly rise above 3% even in Q2 2009. In fact, even in the third quarter of next year, when Intel releases the first mainstream market-oriented Nehalem-based quad-core chip code-named Lynnfield, the share of Core i7-based platforms is projected to be below 5% of all CPUs sold by Intel.
The comparatively slow adoption rate of a new microprocessor design may be easily explained by the fact that Intel Core i7 chips require a completely new infrastructure: new core-logic sets, new mainboards, new sockets, cooling systems and so on, which is why system integrators might not demand rapid transition. In fact, since Lynnfield will use different infrastructure and code-named Ibex Peak core-logic compared to currently-shipping Core i7/Bloomfield (which is supported by Intel X58-based mainboards), its adoption rate may also not be fast.
Transitions to new micro-architectures along with new infrastructures have never been rapid neither for Intel nor its smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices. This time is not an exception, but gloomy economic outlook may further slowdown adoption of Intel’s Nehalem.
Officials from Intel did not comment on the news-story.