According to The Inq, Intel is trying to push its 45nm processors into the first half of this year. If they succeed the first 45nm chips may arrive six months ahead of schedule.
It may want to, but is it technically feasible? It isn't like it is simply buying off the shelf parts, because this is bleeding edge tech.
There are two parts to the process, the design and the manufacturing. Think of this as the pretty patterns you draw and the things you draw them with. Both need to be on time and with the desired characteristics or you get nowhere fast. Intel has both planned for the fourth quarter and to pull Penryn in, both are needed.
The design side is the more probable candidate. The core is, by all accounts, in great shape, better than Core Number Numeral was at this stage of the development.
But when we heard the rumour of a massive 45 nanometre breakthrough, we dismissed it because of the manufacturing process. Pulling in the tools, ramping the process, and just physically moving all that stuff into the fabs was going to be somewhere between damn hard and impossible.
In talking with manufacturing people, we've learned this might not be as impossible as it seems. The 45 nanometre process was basically done and set in mid-2006. With the recipe set, it was just a matter of equipping the fabs and getting the tools in place. Shake them down, and hopefully you are in business..