Sources close to Intel Corp. confirmed reports that the Intel 815 or "Solano" chipset has been delayed, and said the new launch date will be June 19.
An Intel spokesman denied the chipset had been delayed, saying it was still on target to meet its scheduled release date.
Sources said they believed Intel was still finalizing its product release roadmap. Lately, Intel has delayed certain Xeon microprocessors in order to maximize yields and satisfy its OEM customer base.
The 815, however, is seen as an important product release for Intel because it mixes a native interface to PC133 SDRAM with the latest performance-enhancing features that OEMs covet. While the 815 is targeted at the low-end "value" segment of the PC market, it will support both the 133-MHz front-side bus of the Pentium III plus the 66-MHz and forthcoming 100-MHz bus of the new Celeron microprocessors that use Intel's Coppermine core. A source confirmed that Intel is de-emphasizing support for the older, 0.25-micron "Mendocino" versions of the Celeron, long prized by hobbyists that over-clock the chips to faster frequencies.
After initially declining to comment on the release date of the Intel 815 and 815E, a spokesman for Intel, Folsom, Calif. strictly denied that the launch date of the Intel 815 had been changed. "We have not changed our initial launch date of the Intel 815," he said. The launch remains firmly on schedule." He added that the 815 will support both the Celeron and Pentium III product families.
The launch date of the Intel 815 has been juggled within June on a couple of occasions, agreed OEM and industry sources. In early May, however, an update passed from Intel to its customers placed both the Intel 815 and an upgrade to the current Intel 820 -- the "Intel 820E" -- on June 5, these sources said. The same update correctly predicted the launch of the 933-MHz Pentium III and Xeon processors on May 24, among others.
Two versions of the Intel 815 chipset are actually being released on the same day: the Intel 815 and 815E. The latter differs from the Intel 815 in that it uses the second version of Intel's I/O Controller Hub, or ICH-2. According to previously-disclosed roadmaps, the ICH-2's key feature is its inclusion of the ATA-100 storage interface.
However, no problems with the ICH-2 have been reported, and the first new chipset to use the technology, a derivative of the existing Intel 820 or "Camino" chipset, is still on track to launch next Monday, sources reported. The Intel 820E, as it is called, uses an interface to Direct Rambus memory.