A source has claimed that Intel's new enthusiast chip line, known as the Sandy Bridge E series, has hit a last-minute snag, with the planned Q4 launch being pushed back to early 2012.
While motherboards based on the new LGA-2011 socket format are pretty much finished - as Gigabyte showed us at Taipei's Computex event earlier this year - the chips to go with them look like they won't be arriving on the market until Q1 2012.
We were told at Computex that Intel had allowed its board partners to show members of the press non-running samples of the LGA-2011 socket motherboards with the X79 chipset in order to take the shine off AMD's launch of the AM3+ socket format for Bulldozer processors.
Despite the fact that the samples weren't running in a system, there was plenty to see: the new socket format features a dual-catch mechanism to reduce processor damage during installation, memory slots are located at either side of the socket in a quad-channel configuration to improve performance, and the chipset includes support for massive quantities of SATA ports and PCI Express 3.0 lanes.
Our preview of the board got plenty of interest from Intel fans, but the company has remained quiet on the chips themselves. Although rumours pointed towards a Q4 launch of a 3.3GHz six-core or eight-core model priced at around $1,000, very little information has leaked out of Intel's labs about the chips: until now.
A "very reliable source" speaking to the guys over at VR-Zone claims that the chips have now been delayed until at least January 2012, although no reason is given. Whether the move comes as a result of rumoured delays in AMD's Bulldozer launch or, as VR-Zone guesses, in order for the company to stock up on silicon for its lucrative Xeon server-oriented processor line, is not known.
With Intel maintaining silence on the matter, it will be interesting to see what January brings. The company will have to be careful, though: if AMD gets its high-end consumer-oriented Bulldozer parts out first, the chip giant could find itself playing catch-up to the underdog for a change.