Intel delays launch of recalled PIII

The chip maker will focus on getting its next-gen Pentium 4 to market, and delay reintroduction of the faulty PIII
Written by John G.Spooner, Contributor

Intel is gearing up to launch its next-generation Pentium 4 chip as soon as next month, but the chip maker won't ship its recalled 1.13GHz Pentium III chip until next year.

The 1.13GHz Pentium III was recalled in August due to a problem that could cause certain applications to freeze.

Intel executives at the Microprocessor Forum here said Tuesday they'd rather emphasise the Pentium 4 as Intel's performance leader instead of rushing to get the fixed Pentium III back on the market quickly.

"With the emphasis on Pentium 4, we don't see a lot of demand for [1.13GHz Pentium III] in the fourth quarter," said Bill Siu, vice president of Intel's Intel Architecture Group. "We're probably looking at next year [for 1.13GHz Pentium III to ship]."

However, volumes also play a major role in the relaunch. The 1.13GHz isn't expected to ship now until the second quarter of next year, when it will be available in large volumes. The 1.13GHz Pentium III was only available in very limited quantities when it was first announced last July. The 1GHz Pentium III, which was announced in March, was not available in large quantities until last month.

Another consideration in 1.13GHz launch plans has to do with packaging. The chip had previously been available only in Intel's cartridge-like SECC2 packaging. Intel has plans to transition the chip to its newer 370 pin socket FC-PGA package, otherwise known as flip chip, next year.

PC makers told Intel they'd rather not design PCs with the SECC2 package and then have to redesign those PCs again within a short time to accommodate the FC-PGA package, Siu said.

Meanwhile, Intel's main competitor, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), is expected to launch its 1.2GHz Athlon chip for desktop PCs at the end of this month. AMD discussed its strategy to break into the corporate market with a new dual processor chipset, called 760MP. The company demonstrated, for the first time, a dual processor Athlon system at the Forum.

Intel, which was expected to launch Pentium 4 this month, is now expected to begin shipping the chip at 1.4GHz and higher speeds late next month. The Pentium 4 will become Intel's performance leader, but Siu expects it to move into the mainstream of the processor market "within a very short period of time".

At the Microprocessor Forum, Intel officials went over the design of the Pentium 4 processor, but revealed no new information since disclosing a number of details on the chip since its autumn developer conference.

See Chips Central for daily hardware news, including interactive roadmaps for AMD, Intel and Transmeta.

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