Intel to launch Woodcrest, Conroe and Merom in Q3

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Santa Clara (CA) - Faced with increasing competitive pressure from AMD, Intel apparently has accelerated its launch schedule of its new Core microarchitecture. While Woodcrest, which will carry the Xeon 5100-series designation, was always scheduled for a Q3 introduction, chief executive Paul Otellini on Wednesday confirmed that the company will also be announcing the desktop processor "Conroe" (Core Duo E4000 and E6000 series) as well as the mobile CPU "Merom" (Core Duo T5000 and T7000 series) in the third quarter. All three variants will be shipping "in volume."

Sources previously indicated that especially Merom may see an October or possibly November launch. Conroe recently was also rumored to be slipping into October. Otellini indicated that Intel is gearing up for mass production of its Core architecture at this time; if Intel will be able to keep its Q3 promise, the company may be shipping Woodcrests, Conroes and Meroms for revenue as early as in June or July of this year.

In preparation of Core, Intel has to deal with rising inventory levels of 90 nm and also 65 nm processors. According to the company, already higher than usual inventory levels will continue to climb during Q2 and improve in Q3. The company now has three 65 nm factories online and mentioned that it will see more 65 nm than 90 nm wafer starts during this month. Despite increasing inventory levels, the company does not intend to slow its 65 nm chip production: "The 65 nm ramp and yields are on target. We are not slowing the process down. 65 nm is our future," said chief financial officer Andy Bryant during a conference call with analysts.

According to Otellini, Intel will be using the second quarter time frame to "reset" its business a lay the foundation for the launch of Core, which he described as "the most compelling product lineup in years." During 2007 he plans to thoroughly analyze and improve the overall efficiency of the company - a process that Intel has not seen in about 20 years.

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