Intel to push back Ivy Bridge, scrap 22nm fab upgrade – report

Rumours are circulating that Intel will be forced to push back the release of forthcoming Ivy Bridge platform, with plans to ditch an upgrade to a 22 nanometre fab. But Intel, itself, has another tale to tell.

Due to the PC market getting ever slower, there’s speculation Intel is preparing to delay the launch of the cutting edge tri-gate processors.

According to Digitimes sources,  Intel is looking to delay Ivy Bridge from its planned release at the end of 2011 until March 2012.  This would mean Apple missing out on the chips for its MacBook releases.

This would perhaps allow a smoother move with Sandy Bridge products, but would certainly be an embarrassing move for a behemoth like Intel to have to push around release dates to save a few pennies.

It seems part of the decision might rest around hesitation to upgrade to a 22 nanometre process at Intel’s Fab 24.  For the power saving Ivy Bridge, which will make use of leading 22nm process technology, this would certainly effect production.

Indeed a move by such a large firm as Intel could mean a lot of other semiconductor firms feel the after effects of any disruptive decisions.

But Intel is thought to be mulling over scrapping a $500 million budget to upgrade its 22nm fab.

It would seem the case that the chip industry needs new releases of leading edge products to keep demand up, so why Intel would start messing about with its flagship products is unclear.

We contacted Intel. A representative said: These reports are just speculation. We had never confirmed a release date for Ivy Bridge, and have still not done so.
“Back in January we announced a $500m investment to prepare the F14 facility for a future process node upgrade and that stands. We are very pleased with the progress of this project to date  with 200 fulltime hires, and 850 construction jobs,  and we are committed to delivering this project for the corporation. We did not confirm a specific node for Fab 24 when we made the investment announcement, but as of today, we are not planning to build 22nm at Fab24. As we said though, we will spend the capital to prepare for a future node.”