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Intel Corp.’s next-generation mobile platform known under “Centrino 2” brand-name as well as under “Montevina” code-name may have issues with new wireless network controller as well as built-in graphics core inside core-logic. While the impact of the problems is uncertain, the most logical consequence of such issues is slower than expected ramp of the platform or product launch delay.

According to American Technology Research analyst Doug Friedman, Intel had a mis-step in the completion of FCC certification of a next-generation Wi-Fi 802.11n wireless network controller, which means that at least initially Intel Centrino 2 laptops will be equipped with previous-generation 802.11a/b/g controllers in the U.S. In addition, Mr. Friedman said in a note to clients that the chipmaker had discovered issues with Intel GM45 core-logic that features integrated graphics core.

No exact details about the issues were provided, though, Barrons web-site quotes Mr. Friedman as saying that Intel’s options were to “screen for failures in completed systems or to retest the chips at Intel”.

“It is too early to measure the impact to the launch until the severity of the issue is understood in terms of percentage of output affected. We believe the potential impact is to lower-end systems as higher-end notebooks are designed with discrete graphics cards. In fact, the impact on Intel is a possible improvement in mix within the chipset business; however, it is offset by the yield loss related to the functional issues,” Mr. Friedman wrote.

According to estimates, only about 8.5 million of 32.6 million mobile graphics adapters sold in Q1 2008 were discrete, whereas 24.1 million graphics adapters were integrated. As a result, a delay in the launch of Intel GM45 core-logic may have a serious impact on the market: the notebooks initially developed with integrated graphics in mind may not be redesigned for discrete graphics cores overnight, therefore, notebook suppliers may need to alter product mix or delay introduction of the Intel Centrino 2 notebooks until the chipmaker solves the issues with built-in graphics.

Earlier this year Mr. Friedman said that Advanced Micro Devices – Intel’s arch-rival – had issues with its code-named Puma mobile platform, but later retracted the comment.

Intel did not comment on the news-story.


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