|Intel on Wednesday said that shipments of its Pentium 4 90nm chips had increased to 1 million units per week by late April. Intel has hit the nail on its head by ramping up the production of its 90nm products in terms of volume in the shortest time, which is on-track with company expectations.
There was a massive delay in the shipments on Prescott processors from Q2 2003 to Q1 2004 because of problems faced by Intel. Intel embraced new 90nm fabrication process, 300mm wafers with new equipment as well as the new internal design of the chip itself but faced numerous problems. The internal design of the Pentium 4 “Prescott” processor was changed tangibly from the previous chips mainly because of deeper pipeline, 64-bit registers and loads of other changes. Despite the problems Intel has been pretty confident in regards the ramp of its new products, it expects to ship 70 million of its 90nm Prescott microprocessors by the year end.
Intel uses strained silicon and new materials with its 90nm process technology which brought additional difficulties, the company also ran into the problem of power leakage. The issue of power leakage - current flowing in a circuitry that is not being used at the moment - has been around for decades but it became serious with Intel’s Pentium 4 E processors which are also known as Prescott Processors.
Many customers initially not satisfied with the supply of high-performance 90nm Prescott processors, such as Intel Pentium 4 3.40GHz. It is not clear whether the issue with supplies of such components has been resolved.
The ramp was expected to be very rapid and shipments of Prescott processors are projected to account for 60% of all Pentium shipments as well as 40% of all Celeron shipments next year.