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Intel runs three Ivy Bridge fabs ragged for April blast off

Ultrabook makers scramble for supplies

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Intel is stepping up production of its much-anticipated Ivy Bridge processors for an official launch as early as next month - but is adjusting its numbers to meet increased demand from Ultrabook vendors.

Sources in the notebook industry told Digitimes that, despite reported delays of up to two months, production is still by and large on schedule, and that Intel is increasing production of the low-power chips for Ultrabook and smartphone platforms. Traditional desktop and notebook segments, meanwhile, will be festooned with high-end processors.

The Ivy Bridge family squeezes an Intel multi-core CPU and graphics processor onto the same 22nm-process die with added power-saving features allowing the chips to comfortably slip inside small battery-powered devices.

Although a Chipzilla spokesperson told The Reg the firm wouldn’t comment on unannounced products, we were handed a prepared note to confirm that the launch is still on track to take place in “the spring”:

We’re ramping three factories simultaneously, and making some production adjustments to meet increasing customer demand for processors for Ultrabook devices. To ensure customers have adequate supply to support a broad market launch for third-generation Intel Core, we are adjusting the launch schedules accordingly. Intel expects to supply the market with 50 per cent more 3rd Generation Intel Core than second-generation Intel Core in the first two quarters of the two products’ respective ramps.

Such has been the demand for Ivy bridge-based Ultrabook processors that some vendors could be ready to unveil their next round of ultra-thin notebooks based on these chips as early as May with prices dropping to the sub-$900 mark, said Digitimes.

A recent report by Juniper Research predicted that Ultrabooks will grow at three times the rate of tablets over the next five years as prices continue to fall. ®

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