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Pentium 4 Xeon chips delayed a few weeks

Intel postpones the introduction of the first Xeon workstation chips based on the Pentium 4 design, citing a flaw in the housing that holds the core microprocessor.

Intel has delayed by a few weeks the introduction of the first Xeon server chips based on the Pentium 4 design.

The chip, originally slated to come out Tuesday, was delayed because of a flaw in the chip packaging--the housing that holds the core microprocessor--discovered at the end of April, an Intel representative said. A fix is being implemented.

The chip, which will run at 1.4GHz or faster, will now come out toward the end of May. Workstations using the chip will come out at the same time, the representative added.

Code-named Foster, the new processor will be the first member of the Xeon family to be based on the Pentium 4. Current Xeon chips are based on the Pentium III.

The Xeon line will, more than ever, serve an important role in helping the company improve its bottom line. Although Intel ships far more Pentiums, Xeons typically sell for more than their desktop equivalents and, as a result, carry heftier profit margins.

The 1GHz Pentium III Xeon, for instance, sells for $425 each in quantities of 1,000. By contrast, a standard 1GHz Pentium III sells for $225.

Intel will also begin to experience competition from Advanced Micro Devices in this market for the first time. AMD is expected to release a chipset next week that will allow PC makers to build servers and workstations containing two Athlon servers.

Currently, computers can only handle one Athlon at a time, limiting the chip's appeal in the server and workstation market. NEC has adopted Athlon for a server appliance, but only for the Japanese market.