As it races to get its Ultrabook platform out to market for the holiday shopping season, Intel is putting the brakes on its Ivy Bridge 22nm chip-manufacturing process. According to DigiTimes, the company has pushed back its plans to introduce the new processors from the fourth quarter to the spring of next year.
Intel is anticipating slowing PC sales in 2012, and is attempting to reduce costs in response. In addition to extending out the launch date for its next-generation chips, the company may postpone converting one of its plants to 22nm.
Having just released Sandy Bridge this year, Intel has some breathing room before dropping another new chip platform on the market. Desktop Ivy Bridge processors are now due in March, with laptop CPUs on tap for April. Ivy Bridge is the first platform from Intel to use tri-gate transistors that can be stacked vertically to improve performance while substantially reducing power consumption.
Update: Intel contacted me with the following information it wanted to share to clarify the DigiTimes report.
[W]e've said for several months now that we expect to have 22nm Ivy Bridge ready for high-volume production at the end of this year. Beyond that, we haven't said anything on timing for introduction. Additionally, Intel announced in January that we planned to invest $500 million in Fab 14 in Ireland to prepare it for a future technology node. We did not announce which node it would be. However, as of today we're not planning on putting 22 nm into that factory.