Intel chipset faces delay

UPDATE: 'Solano' delay follows Rambus problems with 820 chipset

Intel is to delay its next-generation 815 "Solano" chipset launch to June 19 due to technical issues, according to sources. Intel, however, flatly denied any delays, saying the 815 is "absolutely on track".

The delay would follow problems with Intel's high-end 820 chipset, which was stalled for several months in 1999 because of difficulties with its use of Rambus DRAM memory (RDRAM).

Solano fills a gap in Intel's product line between the 820 and the low-end 810, which is generally used with the budget Celeron chips. It supports industry standard PC133 SDRAM memory, meaning the system bus can run at 133MHz. Previously the only performance chipset available from Intel, the 820, supported costly RDRAM memory.

The system bus transfers data between the processor and the memory, a crucial bottleneck for increasingly speedy systems. The chipset will support newer Celeron processors based on the 0.18-micron manufacturing process, as well as the Pentium III. It is compatible with 66MHz and 100MHz system buses.

The 0.18-micron process allows for more transistors to be crammed onto a single chip, while producing less heat -- resulting in a higher-performing processor.

As a side note, support for older, 0.25-micron-based Celerons will no longer be a priority with the new chipset, Intel has confirmed. The older chips, based on the "Mendocino" core, were prized by hobbyists for their capacity to be pushed far faster than the clock speeds they were intended for.

More details to follow.

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