A rumour has surfaced that Intel's much anticipated Ivy Bridge processors could be delayed. If true, this could mean that anyone holding out for a shiny new notebook or Ultrabook based on the new chip could be in for a wait.
The rumour, reported by Digitimes, suggests that volume shipments of the new processor line won't start until June, despite the fact that the new CPU is due to be officially launched in April.
The Digitimes article suggests that the delay could be planned, in order to clear stock of existing Sandy Bridge products, which retailers have been struggling to sell in the economic downturn. Neither Intel or any notebook manufacturers have confirmed this theory, however.
Despite the rumoured delay, Digitimes' source confirmed that a limited volume of Ivy Bridge chips will be available in April, as expected, but that volume shipments won't start until after June.
What we find a little strange about this rumour is that it doesn't appear to be unusual in any way. Pretty much every new chip goes through a brief period of limited supply before ramping up to volume shipments, and there's no reason why the implementation of Ivy Bridge should be any different. In fact, ramping up to volume shipments in June after an April launch is pretty good going!
One thing is for certain though - anyone who's in the market for a new notebook, or better yet, an Ultrabook, should try to sit on their hands for a few months. Since Ivy Bridge represents a "tick" in Intel's "tick tock" release schedule, it benefits from a new 22nm fabrication process. As such, Ivy Bridge will draw less power and produce less heat than Sandy Bridge, making it the ideal partner for laptops, potentially providing useful gains in battery life.
The other factor to consider is the upcoming launch of Windows 8. We could find that many notebook manufacturers plan their launch cycle around Microsoft's new operating system, offering customers the double bonus of a new CPU and a new OS.
Only time will tell exactly how this will play out, but at least we won't have too long to wait.