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Intel juggles 2GHz P4 release timeframe

Q3 and Q4 mentioned in dispatches

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Intel has delayed the release of the 2GHz Pentium 4.

Either that or it's trying to pave the way for a 'surprise', 'early' release of the part.

Speaking at the Taipei Intel Developers Forum, Louis Burns, the head of the chip maker's desktop platforms group, said the 2GHz P4 is due to ship in Q4. Intel has also been demo'ing the chip in a concept system at the IDF.

According to the most recent Intel roadmap that we've seen, however, the 2GHz P4 is due sometime in Q3.

Northwood, the 0.13 micron die shrink on the P4, is due to debut mid-Q4 2001 at speeds of over 2GHz. Perhaps Burns was referring to that processor, not the current 0.18 micron version.

How, then, to explain the discrepancy? For a start, having just released the 1.7GHz P4, Intel naturally doesn't want anyone to know that a faster version is just down the road.

We suspect that Intel doesn't want to raise expectations too far right now. It's trying to get people to buy into P4, for which it's just cut prices by a massive margin. If you're trying to ramp up immediate demand, you don't want to stifle it by hinting that faster chips are so close.

Then again, Intel may have run into production issues. It's not hard to imagine a situation where the company can punch out 2GHz P4s, but it can't offer them at the low prices it's currently trying to flog 1.7GHz parts at. Maybe it's playing for time, and make the most of the psychological value of the leap to 2GHz. ®

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