Notebook makers gear up for May Dothan debut

Fingers crossed...

Intel has put back the release of 'Dothan', the 90nm version of its Pentium M mobile processor, to late April or early May.

And Taiwanese notebook manufacturers are pretty annoyed about it, a DigiTimes report detailing the delay claims today.

Last month, Chipzilla's COO and President, Paul Otellini, admitted that the chip's release had slipped from Q1 to Q2. Dothan had been expected to debut on 15 February.

"Our validation processes recently showed the need to make some circuit modifications to enable high-volume manufacturability," he said at the time.

When the chip was announced, back in March 2003, it was officially scheduled to appear sometime in the second half of the year. Internal roadmaps had it down for an October release. That came and went, and Intel went on record to say that "revenue shipments" would be made before the end of 2003.

That paved the way, it was hoped, for the mid-Q1 official outing.

The effect of the delays has left Taiwanese notebook manufacturers, who produce almost all of the world's portable PCs, wondering quite when Intel will ship the chip. Apparently, they're tooling up for hardware production in May.

Some observers believe Intel is holding back on Dothan to devote its 90nm production lines to 'Prescott', the 90nm Pentium 4, which launched yesterday. Chipzilla has already said it wants to aggressively ramp up Prescott volumes during Q1 and Q2, and may well want to devote 90nm fab resources to the new chip in order to allow it to do so.

The Pentium M remains a popular processor, courtesy of all the Centrino marketing spend. Demand is sufficiently high, we'd say, for the market to stand the late introduction of Dothan.

The second generation of Centrino, codenamed 'Sonoma', is due sometime during Q3 or Q4. ®

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