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Intel hopes to reach full production capacity after a two month delay

Just months ago at the 2011 Intel Developer Forum, executives with the world's largest traditional personal computer chipmaker, Intel Corp. (INTC) were all boast and bravado, saying their competitors were years behind in process.  Indeed, the talk about the dramatic gains in terms of power efficiency and clock speed using Intel's proprietary 22 nm FinFET 3D-transistor design sounded very impressive.

But the first chinks in the armor perhaps began to show at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, when Intel was caught faking its 22 nm Ivy Bridge DirectX 11 demo during its ultrabook pitch.  Intel brushed off the trickery, but the incident raised some serious questions.  If the 22 nm chip was launching in April at production volume and had already been taped out in final form, why would Intel have to use canned video?  Why couldn't it show its real product?  Why the obfuscation??

Well, DigiTimes is reporting that multiple OEM sources have shared that Ivy Bridge is being delayed from April to June.  While not a huge delay, the report raises questions about whether Intel's 22 nm process is as stable as it claims.

To be fair, the OEMs appear to be claiming that the delay is due to inventories:
Because most first-tier notebook vendors are having trouble digesting their Sandy Bridge notebook inventories due to the weak global economy, while Intel is also troubled by its Sandy Bridge processor inventory, the CPU giant plans to delay mass shipments of the new processors to minimize the impact, the sources noted.

In other words, PCs didn't sell well in 2011, Intel built up a surplus of CPUs, and so it wants to delay its release.  This is all very plausible, and indeed lines up with write-offs found in Intel's earnings reports.  

But it is also possible that Intel isn't being entirely forthcoming and that Ivy Bridge wasn't being delivered at the reliable high volumes it had hoped.  And it could very well be a bit of both factors -- too high inventories, and some struggles on the process front.

Regardless, it sounds like customers will have to wait on Ivy Bridge, a bit.

That's good news for the competition.  AMD hopes to aggressively roll out its Trinity accelerated processing units (APUs) later this year.  The chips are built on a 32 nm process (GlobalFoundries), but still aim to be competitive with Ivy Bridge in terms of power consumption and graphics performance.  AMD is gambling that the CPU will lose, processing speed-wise, to Ivy Bridge, but be "good enough" for most consumers.  

Trinity in the wild
AMD's Trinity APU (center) will launch later this year and aggressively target would-be Intel Ivy Bridge buyers by offering improved graphics and power efficiency at a lower price. [Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech]

AMD hopes to price its chip + chipset package at hundreds of dollars beneath Intel.  Where as Intel is targeting systems $700 and up, AMD has stated to us that Trinity systems will retail for $500 or less.  Strong 2011 APU sales of AMD's initial swing at this strategy made it look like a home run.

Likewise, ARM CPU makers, including Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM) are looking to invade laptops and compact desktops late this year, with the introduction of 28 nm ARM CPUs compatible with Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFTnew Windows 8 [1][2][3][4][5][6].  The Q4 2012 devices are expected to follow a strategy similar to AMD's -- strong power efficiency at a low price.

The delay is also good news for third party USB 3.0 chipmakers like Renesas Electronics Corp. (TYO:6723), ASMedia Technology Inc., and Etron Ltd.  As Ivy Bridge was the first Intel chip to include on-die USB 3.0 support, it was expected to render these competitors' designs obsolete.  But now, they have been bought a bit more time.

Intel's core hope in terms of maintaining its dominant position is to beat the competition in process, and trickle down its process improvements into its budget models, mitigating cost and architectural disadvantages.  Intel has made big promises [1][2] regarding Atom-powered smartphones, but without 22 nm technology it appears to be forgoing any sort of big mobile push in 2012.  The longer it waits, the more advantage it gives to the hungry rivals.  Intel should hope that the delay does not set back its very aggressive 22 nm Atom rollout.

Sources: DigiTimes, MaximumPC [faked Intel Demo]

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RE: Lack of competition from AMD?
By LRonaldHubbs on 2/17/2012 1:46:20 PM , Rating: 4
why should Intel rush putting out new faster parts when they have plenty of existing inventory that mops the floor with their competition?

Ivy Bridge is a die shrink of the current CPUs, and should be cheaper to make as a result of fitting more chips on a wafer. It is in their interest to shrink the design no matter what the competition does simply because it gives them a cost advantage.

RE: Lack of competition from AMD?
By Dylock on 2/17/2012 2:10:34 PM , Rating: 2
Still, the law of supply and demand comes in here. While having a smaller chip saves Intel money, in no way would they be concerned with reducing their profit margin by flooding the thirstless market.

RE: Lack of competition from AMD?
By Daemyion on 2/17/2012 2:19:39 PM , Rating: 2
It's in Intel's interest to clear Sandy Bridge stock without reducing margins on them. That stock is already manufactured and sitting in warehouses because of slow PC sales. If AMD were competitive, Intel would move Ivy Bridge into channels quicker, and the surplus SB profit margins would suffer as a result.

RE: Lack of competition from AMD?
By kenyee on 2/17/2012 3:20:29 PM , Rating: 2
If AMD had something that competed, Intel would have been more than happy to write off excess inventory to roll out something that would stomp them.

RE: Lack of competition from AMD?
By Targon on 2/20/2012 8:10:05 AM , Rating: 3
And even with this, AMD still beats out Intel in terms of overall quality of laptops and even desktops in the low end of the market(<=$520). Yes, Intel is ahead in terms of CPU design, but Intel GPU technology is FAR FAR behind, and have you ever noticed how many problems there are with Intel based networking due primarily to poor drivers?

Since we have GPU acceleration in web browsers and Flash(yes, people around HERE hate Flash, but it is still a huge part of the web right now and normal consumers don't share the dislike of it). This makes GPU power important, so all those systems with Intel graphics end up not looking like they are so much better, even with faster CPUs in them.

This is why the AMD A6 and A8 based machines really do sell well, not because they are the fastest in terms of CPU power, but because they ARE competitive on a system level in terms of price/performance/features.

RE: Lack of competition from AMD?
By AntDX316 on 2/21/2012 5:12:54 AM , Rating: 2
I think they are talking about the 3930k and 3960x

wouldn't be surprised in not selling much cause of the price tag and the fact the 2500k-2700k is good enough for gaming

I shut HT off on my 4.9ghz 2600k and everything felt Worse

3930k is $599 plus you need a $200+ motherboard when you can get a 2600k for like $300 and a $150 motherboard, it's not really ideal cause someone who is on a budget can get other parts better with the difference saved for same cpu consumer non developer/renderer performance

By retrospooty on 2/17/2012 3:01:35 PM , Rating: 2
" It is in their interest to shrink the design no matter what the competition does simply because it gives them a cost advantage."

Your both right. Intel will make more $$$ with a die shrink, but initially, yields are always low. Becasue they have no competition, they can afford to spend another 2 months to fine tune the process and get yields higher. Guaranteed if AMD had a competitive offering you'd see it released in April. You would also see Ivy Bride on socket 2011 right off the bat, instead of waiting. Intel is so far ahead, they can afford to milk it.

RE: Lack of competition from AMD?
By TakinYourPoints on 2/17/2012 8:39:11 PM , Rating: 2
They still have existing Sandy Bridge CPUs that they can clear out for full price. Why not take advantage of it when AMD parts aren't competing?

RE: Lack of competition from AMD?
By bbbarry on 2/17/2012 11:29:05 PM , Rating: 2
Heres the thing, "Lack of Competition" No Longer applies, AMD is going to stomp Intel this year / Next year in the laptop market, While Intel will still hold the PC Market. Why you ask?
1. AMD Ultrathins are a much better deal than Intel Ultrabooks
2. AMD "Trinity" Cores can Support Light Direct X 11 Games, and it can Do it well. Most people including myself still would not recomment an Intel Laptop without a discrete Graphics card
3. Removing the Discrete graphics card means less power consumption
4. Intel's Manufacturing Performance may be ahead, But AMD's Architecture is becoming better than Intel's Current one, And with Intel all focus on Die Shrinks, This could mean a hazy future for Intel
5. Any CPU Performance above 3 GHZ in a laptop, and 3.5 GHZ in a Desktop Is more than enough. There are very rare situations where you would need more than this
6. AMD Simply, Has better Graphics, And with the next Fusion core to have GCN Architecture, It will probably pull further ahead than Intel.

Im not a fanboy, I have never owned an AMD Chip that is not graphics, I am Simply looking at it from the outside because im looking at these new "All in One" Chips for uni. And Honestly, looking at it, AMD is comming with a Vengeance and ARM is comming with the Salt

RE: Lack of competition from AMD?
By TakinYourPoints on 2/17/12, Rating: 0
RE: Lack of competition from AMD?
By Targon on 2/20/2012 8:17:49 AM , Rating: 3
A lot of the "Intel dominates laptops" is only because Intel has a huge presence in the mindset of many, not because people really have tested the machines side by side and have made a decision based on their needs.

Now, what sort of performance in real-world tests will Intel bring with Ivy Bridge? I don't care about select benchmarks, I am talking things like testing browsing speed under Firefox with Flash(there are a LOT of Flash apps out there). If AMD based machines are competitive in terms of price and offer other benefits, they will be fine. The A8 really does well in terms of heat dissipation in laptops, you don't burn yourself compared to the Intel machines which ALL feel like you would burn yourself if you let the machine sit on your lap for a few hours.

RE: Lack of competition from AMD?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/18/2012 1:48:46 AM , Rating: 1

AMD is going to stomp Intel this year / Next year in the laptop market,


Why you ask?

Because you ate shrooms when you came up with this?

RE: Lack of competition from AMD?
By bbbarry on 2/18/2012 2:41:26 AM , Rating: 1
Lol. That real is Ignorant

Think Of what people want, People want a Laptop that can do everything at a cheap price and a long battery life. I very much Doubt people will want to pay +$200 for the same thing.

DW Many people are already saying to buy AMD Stock and almost every website has moved it off Hold/neutral to Buy (Unlike poor NVIDIA)

When i think of the General Public i think we should really include Light gaming, Your right in saying if someone wanted a gaming a laptop you would go Intel + an ATI(AMD) or NVIDIA Card. but really, Who needs that anymore.

Most people here think Intel = Best because of name. Not so, Think of 2006. Back when AMD was on top. Intel was in a bad way, Then all of a sudden they pretty much mopped the floor with AMD with their new Architecture. Now it's on the other foot, Intel has been ignoring AMD and going Mobile, AMD has a new architecture. A university already made the Fusion core's performance go up by 20% by moving one function from the CPU Part to the GPU part. Mate, Trinity > Ivy Bridge this time round, Sorry to say

Oh if you want the best gaming around, Im pretty sure the best Graphics card at the moment is AMD anyways (7970) ;)

RE: Lack of competition from AMD?
By bennyg on 2/19/12, Rating: 0
RE: Lack of competition from AMD?
By bennyg on 2/19/2012 5:47:56 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Lack of competition from AMD?
By bennyg on 2/19/2012 5:32:56 AM , Rating: 2
1. More to it than just price...Intel has margin to play with, it can compete with AMD on price if it wanted to. Ultrabooks are better that's why they're more expensive. Intel makes the same profit on 1 CPU as AMD on about 5 by my guess. Revenue is for ego, profit is for reality.
2. So what... most people don't care about gaming and wouldn't have a clue what DX11 means. To that crowd, the "2Gb VRAM" on the specs sheet means more...
3. Wrong on two counts, crunching FP numbers costs power whether it's on-die IGP or dGPU... and Optimus powers down the dGPU quite effectively. Haven't yet met an all-AMD notebook of equivalent power with better battery life than an Intel/Nvidia option regardless of price...
4. Lol, I'd rather have Intel's R&D budget than AMD's any day, look at performance increase in IPC from 45nm Core2 to 45nm Nehalem and 32nm Nehalem to 32nm SB, 15% IPC from pure architecture is something AMD hasn't done from any of K8 to K10 to Phenom to Dozer. Remember when everyone was saying "Intel's dead, Prescott is a stinker with current leakage issues, it'll be the last CPU they make"... then they came out with Conroe...
5. Roflol, are you still using a P100 with Win95 because it is "good enough" for typing a Word Doc... if power becomes available immediately it's used to create a better experience (only occasionally, less optimised software)
6. If all AMD can say is it's cheaper and the IGP on their chipset is a bit faster... and Intel can still say their chips are faster, have lower power consumption, have more features, are more reliable... Intel will still own the CPU space for anything over $200.

Ask anyone who knows the slightest thing about business, you do NOT want to own the low end of the market without a bigger strategic benefit flowing on to the high end... discounting for market share is a sign of utter desperation.

Nicely done, it's nice to have a change from all the iTrolls.

By Hyghlander465 on 2/20/2012 1:44:39 PM , Rating: 2
AMD suck when it come to CPU. But GPU rock all the way.

The problem with Ivy bridge is the firmware for the GPU or embed GPU don't work. One more time Intel Israel majorly Frak up. Last year chipset problem was design in Israel Intel. But the real issues is rushing off product that are not real for the market. Maybe Intel learn! But Intel Oregon design are one.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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