Clearly, Intel is gearing up to launch Sandy Bridge very early next year. If there’s any truth to the latest story over at Fudzilla, AMD might not have anything resembling a counterattack for a good, long while. Citing anonymous sources, the site says the release of Llano has been postponed until the third quarter of next year.
Fudzilla goes on to claim that "something went wrong" with Llano’s first tape out, and that AMD will spend "six to nine months" getting the chip fixed up and into mass production. Even a July launch would put AMD half a year behind… and considering Llano is based on the same architecture as today’s Phenom IIs, it probably won’t have the brawn to take Sandy Bridge head-on in CPU benchmarks.
Somewhat paradoxically, AMD’s first Bulldozer chip seems to be quite far along. (AMD said recently it intends to begin sampling this quarter.) Keep in mind that chip is based on a brand new architecture and a brand new manufacturing process. That’s not to say Llano is any less of a challenge. While it uses a proven CPU architecture, Llano includes AMD’s first graphics processor manufactured using a SOI fabrication process, GlobalFoundries’ 32nm one.