Two PC makers said today that Intel notified them the processor would not be ready for delivery around Halloween, as expected, while sources at a third manufacturer said Intel indicated it may not arrive by then. The Pentium 4 is not expected until the week of Nov. 20 and possibly later.
Sources earlier said Intel planned on an Oct. 30 release date.
"Pentium 4 has been scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter, and that remains unchanged," said an Intel spokesman, who declined to comment on exact dates.
One PC maker expressed exasperation at Pentium 4's delay and Intel's inability to give a firm date for the processor's release. Others said Intel had told them absolutely the processor would ship three weeks late.
"I can't tell you how frustrating this is," said a source at a PC maker that requested anonymity. "It's like one glitch after another."
The apparent delay is another chapter in Intel's recent woes. A week ago, the chipmaker warned third-quarter revenue would be as much as 9 percent below expectations.
The Pentium 4 is viewed as an important step forward for Intel, as it moves beyond the lagging chip architecture introduced with 1996's Pentium Pro processor. With Pentium 4, which is expected to debut in 1.4-GHz and 1.5-GHz versions, Intel hopes to solve some of the problems that have plagued the Pentium III as the company ramped up the clock speed.
A recent glitch with the 1.13-GHz Pentium III processor, for example, forced Intel to recall the processor.
With the this new delay, Intel has effectively made it impossible for most PC makers to deliver Pentium 4 systems in volume for the lucrative holiday shopping season.
"That's hard to swallow," said a source at one PC maker.
News.com's Michael Kanellos contributed to this report.