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Tick Tock issues push Ivy Bridge to the end of Q2 2012

The onerous march of Intel’s roadmap is the kind of thing you can set a very slow watch by. While it might make the occasional defensive move against a launch by AMD, in general Intel is used to marching to the beat of its own, metronomic, beat. In pushing too hard on the design side, has Intel developed roadmap arrhythmia?  KitGuru spies investigate.

New production technology means that processors can be made smaller and smaller.

Innovations in the architecture of a new chip, means that it can deliver more powerful functionality.

When you look at CPU design in such simple terms, it all seems quite simple and logical: Having lined-up all of the architectural changes together, you’re then able to get your new design up and running on 100% proven production lines. Similarly, when your production boffins come up with clever stuff on the line, you can take a proven CPU and try it all out. Great idea.

However, what happens when you were originally geared up for a launch right at the start of Q1 2012 – on the latest process technology – but then discover that you need to make some pretty fundamental changes to the design?

Specifically, that you need to add in PCI-Express 3 functionality and DirectX 11 graphics.

You know from the way we’re typing this that the answer is a ‘big slip in roadmap timelines’.

At the time of writing, we’re hearing that Sandy Bridge will need to hang on a lot longer than originally anticipated. It will be Z68 and X79 through to the start of next year’s summer.

Naturally, any issues in bringing Ivy Bridge to market, on schedule, will create a ripple effect throughout the rest of Intel’s future roadmap.

How long before Ivy Bridge can stand on the shoulders of previous Intel giants? Will it be mass market before July 2012?

KitGuru says: It’s surprising that Intel was forced into making architectural changes, but less surprising that the changes would push the roadmap back. The real question must be, “Is AMD in position to take advantage of this mis-step?”. It’s hard to see it happening, but the next 9 months will see AMD being presented with its best chance, in a long time, to eat into Intel’s market share.

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