Charlie from The Inquirer heard from his sources that AMD's Barcelona processor turns out better than expected. But not at launch though, the first Barcelona models that will be unveiled on September 10 will be clocked at 2GHz and won't be able to give Intel a beating.
However, a new stepping will allow AMD to quickly ramp up these chips. Rumour has it that AMD will be able to boost the clockspeed of the Barcelona by almost 50 percent before the end of the year which should make these chips quite competitive against Intel's offerings.
In any case, the stepping after the launch part turned out good enough to run with, but by the time that was known, there were enough of the previous stepping parts in the oven to force the launch. When volume ramps and the consumer parts hit, speeds will be back in the game.
Keep an eye out for low volume sample parts of the next stepping, that will point the way much more than launch clocks. If you see higher binned parts floating, well, those are likely from the next stepping, and will be more in line with what you will get in Q4.
By the end of the year, I would not expect AMD to be ahead, a six month delay has put it against the Penryn cores instead of Woodcrest, but it should have enough CPU power to be competitive. From that point, it become a matter of which can ramp faster, and which chip scales better
Perhaps AMD's future isn't as grim as some of us expected when we heard all the bad news about AMD's Barcelona chips earlier this year.