AMD has delayed the shipment of the desktop version of the Hammer ,wich is codenamed Clawhammer, to the first quarter of 2003.
Earlier, AMD planned to ship Clawhammer to manufacturers by the end of the fourth quarter of this year and have it on store shelves in the first quarter of 2003.
The server version ,the Opteron,is not delayed and will keep his schedule to release in the first half of 2003...
The delay on Clawhammer, which was originally slated to come out in the first quarter of 2002, should heat up the competitive atmosphere of the microprocessor market in 2003. AMD has stated that Clawhammer will outperform Intel's best chips and pave the way for AMD to get its processors into the corporate environment. The holdup, though, could erode any performance advantages to Clawhammer, especially as Intel has encountered few problems in ratcheting up the speed of its chips in the past year.
"AMD was counting on Clawhammer to put some distance in terms of performance with Intel," said Nathan Brookwood, an analyst at Insight 64. "It is going to be a closer horse race than it was supposed to be."
Similarly, the company will postpone the commercial release of "Barton," a new version of the Athlon chip with a performance-enhancing 512KB secondary cache, from the second half of this year to the first quarter of next year.
The delays are occurring to accommodate the release of a new version of Athlon with a 333MHz bus, said Crank. Current Athlons come with a 266MHz bus and 256KB of secondary cache. Typically, a faster bus, which is the main data conduit between the processor and memory, means better performance. An Athlon with the faster bus will come out this quarter, he added.
Kevin Krewell, senior editor of the Microprocessor Report industry newsletter, disputed AMD's explanation. "The slip indicates something wasn't ready," he said. "The 333MHz bus is a stopgap because Hammer is delayed."
Although Krewell couldn't specify an exact cause for the delay, he listed several possible reasons. For example, as Hammer is a completely new chip, motherboard and chipset makers may be having trouble finalizing their products; or AMD may have wanted to wait until it could make Hammer in larger volumes. Hammer will also be AMD's first chip containing silicon-on-insulator, a technology from IBM that helps prevent electrical leakage. "They may be having problems with that," Krewell said.