A leaked Intel slide shows delays for upcoming "Havendale" and "Auburndale" processors that feature integrated graphics.
A recently leaked Intel slide, assuming it can be believed, has revealed Intel’s updated roadmap for mainstream Nehalem platforms and it would seem Intel has some changes in mind. Apparently due to "customer feedback" and "2008 client platform learnings", Auburndale and Havendale will now be pushed back for release into January 2010. According to earlier leaked Intel roadmaps, Havendale was previously planned for Q3 of 2009 alongside Lynnfield, but now it would seem that only Lynnfield will be available in time for Christmas 2009.
When given the chance to comment on the news, Intel stated it had not announced release dates yet, but assured us that Auburndale, Havendale, Clarksfield and Lynnfield are targeted for production in 2H 2009.
Havendale and Auburndale will feature a GPU integrated alongside the CPU in the same processor packaging, with Havendale being for mainstream and value desktops and Auburndale for mobile PCs. Both Havendale and Auburndale will have two cores each, with the ability to add a discrete graphics solution also. The reason for the delay of Havendale and Auburndale may have something to do with their integrated graphics, as Intel has taken quite a bit of criticism lately for delivering poor performing graphics solutions on their current platforms: maybe Intel has decided it needs to further increase performance? With all the talent Intel has been rumored to be hiring lately for developing Larrabee, Intel should really not have any excuse for only being capable of producing weak integrated graphic solutions. There is also the possibility that Intel may be wishing to give a longer life span to current platforms, with or without a refresh to the platforms, in an attempt to appease clients.
Intel would not disclose any new details about Havendale or Auburndale when questioned, but did tell us that these processors are targeted for mainstream market segments and should be great products for both consumers and businesses. By integrating the graphics and providing an integrated memory controller that supports DDR3, there apparently should be a dramatic increase in performance over current IGP solutions and a savings on board layout costs.
For many, the delay of Havendale may not be of much concern, as Lynnfield is still expected on time, which will target mainstream and performance desktop systems using discrete graphic solutions. Havendale will feature two cores, while Lynnfield will feature four. Future notebook buyers may however find the news that Auburndale will be delayed a disappointment, as integrated graphics are commonly used in notebooks and any boost there in speed would be welcomed to more than just entry-level buyers. Additionally, due to the lack of competition in the high-end market for Intel right now, Intel may be considering a delay also for Sandy Bridge, the successor to the 32nm die-shrink of Nehalem.
Intel is not the only company pushing back anticipated processors it seems though as AMD has had a roadmap slide leak of its own, indicating two of its Phenom processors based of its upcoming Deneb core will be delayed until January 8th, 2009. Previously expected to be released before the end of 2008, there are concerns that maybe things are not running as smoothly for AMD as it has been claiming. The AMD Phenom FX processor based on the Deneb FX core is rumored to be expected out in mid-2009 and assuming there are no delays in getting it to market, Intel may finally have some welcomed competition again in the high-end market.
In the end, Intel and its clients may enjoy the tick and tock pattern they have developed over the years, which does ensure sufficient life cycle for their products, but to consumers that feel Intel is holding back its faster products, it stops seeming like Intel is really trying to leap ahead.