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Intel loses big industry face to AMD over Coppermine

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Analysis Chip giant Intel pre-announced the 733MHz version of its Coppermine Pentium III along with a heap of other .18 micron processors on the 25th of October last. But now the evidence is mounting that we're only likely to see systems introduced by major vendors in January of next year. Both Gateway and HP have confirmed to us in the last week that they're not selling systems using the 733MHz processors yet, while as we also reported, other major OEMs think Intel's Coppermine is pants. (Pants here refers to the situation on yields and supplies, of course, rather to the technology itself, which is very probably not pants -- no, we didn't say hot pants. Fujitsu-Siemens, which maybe is number three manufacturer in Europe, will use the Athlon because of the embarrassing lack of Coppermine processors, while Compaq is taking a similar step. Next Monday, as we predicted here shortly after the "announcement" of Intel Coppermine processors, AMD will intro a 750MHz Athlon processor, likely to be sold, in the US at least, by Gateway. AMD has 750MHz parts at .18 micron. Intel has so few 733MHz parts at .18 micron that none of the major PC vendors can introduce machines based on it for a fair while yet. What is going on? At the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) held in Palm Springs last September, there were more journalists present than ever before. Craig Barrett, CEO of Intel, stood next to senior VP Pat Gelsinger and said that his company would introduce these Coppermine parts on time. But there is a big difference between an "introduction", otherwise known to spin paramedics as a "launch", and to factories actually rolling enough microprocessors off the production line to satisfy demand. One OEM (original equipment manufacturer), and one which is a loyal Intel customer, took the unprecedented step last week of laying into his supplier for only providing mobile Coppermines to its research and development team four days before the "launch" of mobile Pentium IIIs using the .18 process. Notebook manufacture is far trickier than making desktop machines -- this PC company pointed out that it needed three to four months to be able to make motherboards for notebook machines using the processor. Meanwhile, AMD has shown that it is able to execute on its plans for its .18 micron process. Surely heads must now roll at Chipzilla Central? The Coppermine launch was quite evidently not related to anything but the marketing need to stick one in AMD's face. That's not what we should expect from a company of Intel's size, which previously prided itself on good execution of its plans. Perhaps someone should sharpen a suitable Dramurai sword so that a senior suit at Chipzilla Central can fall on it. In the meantime, we shall now refer to Coppermine as Verdigrisgate, where necessary... ® See also So why is Intel's Coppermine not pants?

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