Intel has ditched plans to launch an 800Mhz version of its server and workstation chip after customers asked it to slow down its renewal cycles.
The chip giant confirmed that it would not be launching an 800Mhz version of its high-end Pentium III Xeon chip, which was due in the second half of this year. The company will instead wait until the first quarter of next year to launch a 900Mhz version of the processor.
Intel's last server chip launch was its 700Mhz Pentium III Xeon chip in May.
"We were on track to deliver these chips and there's not problem with production, but our customers want to slow down the introduction of our server processors to allow for users' validation of servers, which takes a long time. It will also ensure a greater performance improvement from past server solutions," said an Intel spokesman.
"We are going to extend the time between introductions from three months to six months. This is something will we do specifically for our high-performance workstation and server chips, not for smaller appliances," he added.
Alberto Bozzo, operations manager for Hewlett Packard's Netserver division, said: "Customers keep saying that with these types of server the evaluation and testing takes a long time. These servers are often used in mission-critical environments and customers are focusing on scalability rather than increases in clock speed.
"A slight change in processor speed means complete re-evaluation. We completely endorse Intel's decision."
Peter Lemon, research manager at analyst firm IDC, said he is not surprised by the announcement. "Intel has being trying to shorten the cycle of its server chips to that of its PC chips, and customers don't want this."
Customers are waiting for infiniband technology, which will speed up the links between servers and peripherals, said Lemon. "At the moment, ever faster engines are being stuck into the server chassis - it's like having a Renault 5 fuelled by a Porsche engine, creating bottlenecks in the system," he added.
"Another issue that could be driving this slowdown is that Intel rarely used to launch products with bugs, but we have seen far more of these due to faster cycle times."
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