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Intel scraps new desktop, server chips

Intel cancels plans for two upcoming products in order to move up a switch to so-called "dual-core" technology: chips that have two processors instead of one.
/ Source: Reuters

Intel Corp. said Friday it has scrapped plans for two upcoming products, a move that analysts said showed that the world’s largest chip maker was trying to circumvent the growing problem of how much heat its chips generate.

The move marks a break with the chip industry’s focus on cranking up raw chip speed, which has the effect of boosting how much heat computers give off and requiring expensive and noisy cooling systems.

Instead, Intel will combine two processors onto a single chip, allowing for lower power usage as well as doubling performance. This strategy was not expected for at least a year-and-a-half, said Dean McCarron, the head of Mercury research.

The chips being canceled include the fourth-generation Pentium 4 chip, code-named Tejas, which was to be sold next year, Intel spokeswoman Laura Anderson said.

Also being dropped is a new Xeon processor for low-end computer servers, code-named Jayhawk and believed to be based on a similar architecture to Tejas.

Instead, Intel will sell so-called “dual-core” processors for desktop and notebook computers next year, ahead of schedule. Dual-core chips contain the power of two microprocessors in a single piece of silicon, “like putting two cylinders in a car instead of having one big cylinder,” Nathan Brookwood, an analyst with Insight 64, said.

Intel plans to introduce dual-core chips for desktop computers in 2005 and plans to start shipments of dual-core chips for notebook computers the same year, Anderson said.

That feature was originally to be introduced in Intel’s Itanium chips for powerful data-serving business computers, she said.

McCarron said that while heat generation was a factor in Intel’s decision, another impetus was likely Intel’s success in developing advanced manufacturing techniques that can accommodate dual-core chips.

“They’re also taking advantage of their new manufacturing capability, which allows them to put two processors onto one (chip),” he said.

Engineers assigned to the canceled projects will be reassigned, Anderson said.