AMD delays 2 Phenom chips, moves up energy-saving quad-core

Company giving priority to energy-saving chip and upcoming triple-core technology

Advanced Micro Devices is pushing back the release of two Phenom processors just as it speeds up the release of what it's calling an energy-efficient quad-core chip.

In November, AMD announced that its upcoming Phenom 9700 and 9900 processors would ship in the first quarter of this year. John Taylor, a spokesman for AMD, told Computerworld Friday that they're being pushed back to a second-quarter delivery.

At the same time, Taylor said that the company is picking up the pace in delivering its 9100E processor. The 9100E, which reportedly uses a third less power than regular Phenom chips, had been slated on in-house road maps to ship in either Q2 or Q3, but is now on the docket to be released this quarter, he said.

Not so long ago, AMD discovered an errata in the Transition Lookaside Buffer (TLB) that delayed shipments of some of the highly anticipated Barcelona chips. The errata -- a bug -- also affects Phenom processors, which are based on the same architecture.

With the delayed Barcelona chips weighing down AMD, which had its fair share of financial struggles last year, there was quick online chatter about what this new delay will mean for the company. Taylor was adamant, though, in saying that the delay is part of a rearranging of priorities rather than a major problem with the chips.

"No, no. It's much more a matter of prioritization and resources than any problems with the processors themselves," he added. "Our focus is on the energy-efficient products and triple-core products."

Taylor said AMD's plan to ship a triple-core processor in the first quarter is still on track. "[Resellers] want triple-core as fast as they can because it gives them differentiation and it hits a sweet spot in the market," he added.

That means AMD should be releasing the energy-efficient 9100E processor during this quarter, along with the triple-core and long-expected Barcelona chips.

"Yes, we're seeing [negative online buzz about delayed products], but our focus is on making sure we get products right when we introduce them and making sure the end users get a good experience," said Taylor. "We are having to make tough choices about prioritizing. Just watch us over the next few months when we get triple-core on the market and this energy-efficient processor in the market."

Earlier this week, AMD announced at the International Consumer Electronics Show that its new laptop processor, code-named Puma, will ship in the second quarter of this year. Trying to generate some positive buzz after months of taking it on the chin while rival Intel hit its stride, AMD said its new notebook system will optimize battery life while bearing up to hefty graphics demands.

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Sharon Gaudin

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