US analysts seem to have just woken up to the fact that Intel's system on a chip Timna is scheduled for launch next year. We've mentioned before that the cheapo chip is on shaky ground, and the analysts' comments give us no reason to make us change our minds.
Timna's due to launch in Q1 2001 at '700MHz or above' is still Intel's official line. Given the rate at which clock speeds are rising - and prices falling-, by the time it appears in March, at - let's say 750MHz to give it the benefit of the doubt - it's going to look distinctly underpowered and overpriced compared with the Duron and Celeron notebooks that will be on sale by then, let alone mobile PIIIs and the like.
Megahurts sells. If it didn't, Chip and Chimp Zillas wouldn't be persisting in their rather puerile 'mines bigger than yours' battle at the high end. Punters going into their local PCs 'R' Us will go for an 800MHz Celeron/Duron every time, rather than a 750 Timna, even if it's a few bucks cheaper.
And then Intel has an unofficial bottom line when it comes to pricing - no Intel CPU in living memory has ever sold for less than $69, regardless of its clock rating. Any lower than that and the cardboard box it comes in and the delivery costs weigh in at more than the chip itself.
That'll give Intel a problem.
The total saving for a notebook manufacturer by using a Timna rather than a Celeron plus separate graphics and audio will be no more than $30, tops. How will Chipzilla price Celerons against Timna? The SoC chip should cost less than Celeron because it's entry-level, but the Celeron has less functionality, so it should cost less than Timna.
If Celeron costs less than Timna, there goes a sizeable chunk of that $30 saving. If Timna costs more than Celeron, Celeron becomes the entry level.
We still reckon Timna's headed for the gulag before it's even hatched - a bit like the i752 graphics chip that never was.
Who'd be a chip manufacturer, eh? ®