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7/30/2004
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Intel Delays Pentium; Talks Up Wireless

Pentium 4 delay is latest in a series of missteps.

Intel on Friday said a faster version of its flagship Pentium 4 processor won't be available by the end of the year as promised. It's the latest in a series of missteps that include product cancellations, delays, and inventory problems.

A 4-GHz version of Intel's Pentium 4 chip won't arrive until the first quarter of next year, Intel said, when the company will be able to produce it in the volume customers require. Intel has had a tough year: Earlier this month the company postponed shipment of its next-generation Centrino technology for mobile computers until early next year, instead of late this year. In May, it canceled development of a scheduled Pentium chip to concentrate on dual-core technologies that appear more promising. And in a conference call with investors this month, the company said it has too much inventory of certain wafers that could push down prices.

At a press event centered on wireless computing Friday, Anand Chandrasekher, Intel's VP and general manager, said a key area of investment for the company is producing chips that consume less power. Problems with dissipation of heat from processors has influenced Intel's product design, and Chandrasekher said the company is working on power-optimization technologies that will stretch the ability to provide computing performance with ever-shrinking power requirements and use available power more efficiently.

Dual-core technology, in which side-by-side processors work in tandem to make better use of battery power, will enable PCs to stretch power reserves without sacrificing performance, added Mooly Eden, VP and director of marketing for Intel's mobile platforms group. "This is going to be a big revolution you're going to see in the coming years," Eden said.

Intel is also developing technology that would allocate power based on the processing needs, automatically detecting the speed--and thus the amount of power--a particular software application might need, for instance. "I would like to use exactly as much microprocessor power as I need and nothing more, so I can maintain battery life," Eden said.

IBM on Friday introduced semiconductor technology called eFUSE that uses electrical components and software algorithms to adjust the power consumption of chips based on the requirements of the programs they're running.

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