July 2000 Industry Update

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Prpcessor Update

Intel Processors

Intel marketing seems to be working overtime right now. In an obvious attempt to grab the psychological lead in the speed race, Intel pre-announced a ‘1.13GHz’ Coppermine processor that will be shipped early in Q3. The official roadmap shows this as a 1.1GHz that will be “Limited Production for the Consumer Market”. This is the highest speed Coppermine processor shown on the roadmap, and the additional…uh, 30MHz… is apparently intended to allow Intel to keep bragging rights even when AMD announces their own 1.1GHz part. It is very interesting that last year Intel successfully maligned AMD for pre-announcing parts, and yet find themselves doing the same thing this year.

The Pentium IV (formerly known as Willamette) is shown on the roadmap as being introduced early in Q4 in very small quantities. Intel themselves have said that only a few hundred thousand will ship in 2000, which is literally a drop in the bucket. This has not prevented the pro-Intel forces to proclaim the imminent death of the Athlon, of course. The initial speeds will be 1.3GHz and 1.4GHz, with the 1.5GHz and faster being introduced in Q1 2001.

On the previous roadmap no Celerons faster than 700MHz were listed, however this newest roadmap shows an 800MHz by the end of the year for desktop models. Mobile Pentium III processors will reach 900MHz at the beginning of Q1 2001, with a 1GHz part scheduled in Q2 using .13 micron process technology (code named Tualatin). Mobile Celeron processors are scheduled to ramp to 800MHz by Q1 2001.

In the server market, the Itanium is scheduled to debut at 733MHz in early Q3 for 4-way and 8-way systems, then quickly ramping to 800MHz. In Q1 2001, the Foster is listed as debuting at 1.3GHz then moving to 1.5GHz and above soon thereafter, completely replacing the Xeon line of processors. McKinley will make its entrance in Q4 2001. Tualatin Pentium III processors will also be available for dual processor systems.

Availability of higher speed Coppermine processors seems to be getting better as predicted last month after the Katmai processors were reintroduced in the ‘sweet spot’ of the market. Unfortunately, Intel has indicated that shortages are likely to continue through the rest of the year,

AMD Processors

A source close to AMD in Asia indicated that the Q2 target for processor shipments was met in early June, and that Q3 forecasts seem to indicate the targets will be easily met as well. One of the biggest concerns, however, is that VIA seems to be having trouble meeting their K7 chipset targets due to some chipset bugs as well as some yield problems. Reportedly, these bugs and production issues are now resolved but July shipments may be impacted. One motherboard manufacturer indicated they were having problems getting K7 chipsets from VIA, but several others claimed they were able to acquire all they needed.

VIA Processors

Though there has been some marketing activity regarding VIA/Cyrix processors, it is much quieter than one would expect. It seems that there may have been an exodus of Cyrix and Winchip personnel, particularly from the design teams, which has put the entire project into disarray. It would seem that in this case no news is a cause for concern.

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