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Intel 946GZ And 946PL Chipsets On Track For 2Q

Intel is on track for a second-quarter roll-out of its 946GZ and 946PL low-end chipsets to replace the 945GZ and 945PL, according to industry sources. Taiwan motherboard makers are concerned about the speed of the migration and clearing stocks of existing products.

Intel positioned its 945/955 chipsets, which appeared in the second half of 2005, as the mainstream solutions for the dual-core Pentium 4 platform. However, at the end of 2005, the company announced its 975 model to replace the 955. Motherboard makers are now saying that the availability of so many chipsets is complicating production planning and they need time to adjust.

In addition, Intelís aggressive development of PCI-E and its limited second-half supply of the entry-level 865 and 915 AGP-supporting chipsets backfired, and created an opportunity for third-party chipset suppliers and AMD solutions, according to the motherboards makers. When Intel resumed 865 production, the low-end chipset market was jammed with low-cost third-party solutions. With a high premium, motherboard makers are now facing a major problem to clear their stocks of Intel 865 chipsets.

The roll-out will complete the Broadwater product line, with the new chipsets joining the 945P/945G-replacement P965/G965 mid-range and the 955X-replacement 975X high-end chipsets.

Intel is pushing the Broadwater lineup in preparation for the new Conroe core, which is not supported by the 945/955 chipsets. The Broadwater chipsets also support the Smithfield and Presler desktop cores.

According to the motherboard makers, Smithfield and Presler offer clock speeds between 2.80GHz and 3.60GHz, while samples of the Conroe start from 2GHz. Intel's desktop strategy is expected to differ from its notebook strategy, in which there is a clear differentiation in the clock speeds of its low- and high-end solutions: the Yonah from 1.06GHz to 2.33GHz and the Merom starting at 2.33GHz.


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