Intel details 1999 Merced release

Summary:Pre-empting next week's Microprocessor Forum, Intel Corp. today gave a more definitive timetable for the release of its first IA-64 microprocessor, code-named Merced.

The Santa Clara, Calif., company said it will deliver Merced sometime in 1999 and that it will be built on a .18-micron process. Previously, Intel officials would say only that Merced would be available by the turn of the century.

The small-micron process is surprising because analysts have speculated that Merced would be built on a .25-micron process. Intel released its first .25-micron product, a Pentium Processor with MMX Technology for portables, in June.

A smaller process is beneficial for a number of reasons. First, it yields more die per wafer and, therefore, greater chip output. Second, it is a less expensive and more efficient way to build processors.

Although Intel did not discuss manufacturing or finished goods cost, the smaller process may result in Merced chips that are very reasonably priced.

Intel also said it will discuss next week the road map for the current IA-32 architecture.

Intel officials said the following companies are working with it on IA-64-based products:

Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Microsoft Corp., NetPower Inc., Oracle Corp., Phoenix Technologies Ltd., SAP AG, Unisys Corp., SAS Institute Inc., SCO, Hitachi Computer Products Inc., Sequent Computer Systems Inc. and Stratus Computer Inc.

Topics: Processors

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