More info on the P4 delay

— 3:38 PM on October 2, 2000

This is getting to be a pretty familiar thing around here, but once again Intel seems to be having some difficulty. As you probably know by now, the Pentium 4 has been delayed; it's now scheduled to be released some time in November, as opposed to the Halloween release date most had expected. According to a ZDNet report, the delay has PC makers up in arms, complaining the P4 will not be in boxes shipping for Christmas. Even worse, take a look at the following quotation from the ZDNet report on Yahoo News:

In explaining the Pentium 4 delay, Intel assured PC makers that it has identified the problem involving the 850 chip set and has found a workaround solution that should enable the company to bring the new processor to market around Nov. 20, according to sources.

Now take a look at this newly released CNET news article:

Sources at PC makers, speaking under request of anonymity, confirmed that a problem with how the 850 chipset interacts with PCI graphics cards was responsible for the Pentium 4 delay.

Ouch. One can only wonder what exactly the problem was with the PCI bus on the i850 that caused this glitch. It will be interesting to see how Intel fixes this problem. But there's also this report at The Register detailing an elaborate consipiracy to keep i850 and P4 out of the market for Christmas.

The bug with the 850 Tehama chipset blamed for the P4 slippage is fairly minor and reportedly only affects one, unnamed, video card. Intel has already identified the cause and fixed the problem, and, according to one Register source, the 850 is 'already more stable than the 810, 820 and 840 chipsets combined'.

It would appear that P4 and Tehama are ready to roll, so why the delay?

Well, whatever the reasoning behind the P4 delay, news like this, as well as Intel dropping the Timna last week, really doesn't bode to well for chipzilla. Especially with recent news that AMD may be releasing the 1.2GHz Athlon (Thunderbird) and an 800MHz Duron this month, as early as October 9th or perhaps the 15th. Meanwhile, Intel is still strugling to get their 1.13GHz parts out on the market, and even the 1GHz parts are still selling above $700—compare that with $450 for the 1GHz Tbird and $660 for the 1.1GHz version. And word has it AMD will be slashing prices on October 9th.

What's it all mean? My guess is we'll be seeing T-birds flying off shelves this holiday season, while Intel releases another 'warning' stating that quarterly profits will be lower than expected due to lack of demand from Santa Claus. Just a guess, though.

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