Intel sampling Penryn chips ahead of Q4 launch

Intel hopes the 45nm chips will keep up the pressure on rival AMD

Intel is making samples of its Penryn server chips widely available to computer makers ahead of a planned product launch during the fourth quarter, a company executive said Wednesday.

"We're now broadly sampling [Penryn] for all the various platforms," said John Antone, vice president and general manager of Intel Asia-Pacific, in a telephone interview.

Penryn is the code name given to the 45-nanometer versions of Intel's processors. The server version of the Penryn chips will be the first to hit the market, followed by mobile and desktop chips.

Intel hasn't said publicly when the Penryn launch will happen, except to say the chips will be available during the fourth quarter. The company hopes the chips will keep up the pressure on rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), which has seen its server market share shrink in recent months.

The Penryn launch will happen after AMD's upcoming server chip, called Barcelona, hits the market. Originally scheduled for a midyear launch, the quad-core Barcelona chips will begin shipping in August, and will be available in servers from September. AMD is betting the server chip's design and performance will stem its market share losses, but Intel remains confident that Penryn will extend its lead.

Preparations for Penryn's impending launch come as Intel appears to have regained its mojo, following several missteps last year.

On Tuesday, Intel reported a 44 percent increase in second-quarter profit, to $1.3 billion. Lower selling prices for its microprocessors during the period were offset by higher than expected unit shipments, the company said.

Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan, accounted for 51 percent of Intel's $8.7 billion second-quarter sales, largely because so many of the world's computers are manufactured in the region, the company said. That figure does not reflect where those computers are bought by end-users.

When looked at from a consumption basis, processor shipments to end-users in the three main regions -- the Americas; Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; and Asia -- are roughly equal, with each accounting for about one-third of unit shipments, Antone said.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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