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Merced… kinda dead? Or kinder dead?

Big Cartridge dragging itself along like a Frankenstein figure..

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Some intriguing reports are trickling our way about the progress of the Intel Merced project and so we thought it worth our while to revisit the subject, once more. It's hard for us to firm up the story that nine months ago, Intel CEO Craig Barrett carpeted Dr Albert Yu and got very irritated at the progress of the processor. We weren't there, and neither was our fly on the wall, but those rumours are doing the round. More intriguingly, we hear that Intel has made some attempts to get samples of the Big Cartridge out of the door to OEMs, but that performance figures on those liken its performance to a PII/233 rather than the 800MHz behemoth world+dog was expecting. Further, you will remember that some months ago we reported that even within Intel, the Merced project was considered something of an albatross, largely caused by infighting and politics. The reports we have published during the year of the babes-in-the-wood Intel has hired holding up progress on Merced also seem to have legs. According to the latest rumours, senior architectural engineers who formerly were allowed to hire very experienced designers, are having newbies foisted on them. According to this set of rumours, the Merced thingie has gone through as many as 25 somersaults and may yet have to go back to the drawing board for yet more nuts+bolt work. Thus, we have a simulator that works fine and dandy, and initial silicon samples that don't boot to order. And with Craig Barrett, Intel's CEO, telling The Register last week that Real Merced could be as long as 18 months away, it all adds up to a long and sorry tale. That is, if any of these rumours above are true. More and more, it seems as though the Big Cartridge looks like that Frankenstein-created monster, with great bigs nuts and bolts sticking out of its neck. ®

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