Intel delays new itanium chip release

Intel Corp, the world’s largest maker of computer chips, has delayed the release of its Itanium processor because of quality problems, the first postponement since a series of hold-ups in 2004.

The chip, referred to by the company as Montecito, was scheduled for introduction in ”early 2006″ but will now be mass-produced in ”mid-2006 pushing it back from its initial plans by almost three months, said Scott McLaughlin, a spokesman for the Santa Clara, Calif. company.

”We need a little more time,” he said. The delay is ”quality related,” he said, declining to give details.

Mr. Giles said that some additional work was required “to meet production-level quality standards before we ramp the chip into volume production.”

The Itanium chip, which has a different design and isn’t compatible with Intel’s mainstay Pentium personal computer chip, was originally designed to replace it.

David Wu, an analyst at Global Crown Capital in San Francisco said “, A problem with Intel’s other server chips, called Xeon, would be much larger”.

But Intel’s McLaughlin said there are no problems with Xeon. A future version of that line, scheduled for introduction in 2007, was replaced by a new design that will allow the chip to communicate better with other parts of the computer, he said. It’s still planned for sales in 2007.