In early December, we linked to a story on a French website that claimed Intel had postponed its 45nm Core 2 Quad processors from January until February or March because of an erratum in the chips. Sure enough, when Intel unveiled its 45nm roadmap last week, 45nm Core 2 Quads were given a “Q1” time frame very distinct from the “January” schedule for 45nm Core 2 Duos. However, Intel said nothing of the cause for the apparent delay, leaving observers to speculate.
Kristopher Kubicki from DailyTech has managed to obtain some concrete information from anonymous Intel engineers, and all signs indeed point to a hardware bug causing the setback. “Intel is very sensitive to mean time to failures. During a simulation, at high clock frequencies, we noticed an increase of potential failures after a designated amount of time,” one source told DailyTech. “This is not acceptable for our customers that require longterm stability. It’s a showstopper.”
Reportedly, the 45nm quad-core Core 2 Extreme and Xeons that launched last year aren’t affected by the erratum, because they use a different stepping that doesn’t exhibit the same problem. The only thing DailyTech couldn’t squeeze out of Intel was a precise schedule for the 45nm Core 2 Quad launch, but the site adds that Asus and Gigabyte expect the chips some time next month.