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Intel has managed to tape out its design for the Merced IA-64 microprocessor. That means that samples are likely to be with customers within eight weeks or so. Paul Otellini, a senior VP at Intel, confirmed the news at a conference call following the release of its Q2 financial results. The completion of the design means that factories can start to produce first silicon samples of the microprocessor, which it will test and then send to customers. Because the Merced processor is aimed at the high end of the workstation and the server market, PC companies are likely to spend some time testing the design. Volume production is still slated for the middle of next year, Intel said. ®

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