Intel Corporation made the surprising announcement this weekend that it is canceling its low-end Timna chip, which was to have eventually replaced the Celeron. Timna, which integrated its more typical microprocessor functionality with memory and graphics controllers, was to have targeted the sub-$600 market. But Intel says that the Celeron, coupled with its 810-series companion chipset, can perform the same role at similar costs. Intel first announced the Timna in 1999 and the company wanted to release Timna in late 2000. It was recently delayed until early 2001, and then ultimately cancelled because of technical issues.

"We believe the decision \[to cancel Timna\] will not have a financial impact," an Intel spokesperson said. "Basically, the product would have arrived outside of the launch window of the customers that wanted to use the part." Intel says the cancellation is due to problems with Timna's memory controller, the Memory Translator Hub (MTH), which would have allowed the chip to work with low-cost SDRAM memory. In a foolhardy move, the Timna was originally designed to work with more expensive RDRAM, which has since been shown to provide negligible performance benefits over the more-common SDRAM.

PC makers have told Intel that the combination of a Celeron microprocessor and the Intel 810 chipset enabled them to efficiently make machines that meet the needs of the low-end market. This meant that the need for another chip, such as the Timna, was non-existent. Coupled with the problems Intel was having making Timna work properly, it became clear that the product was unnecessary. "Our customers have really indicated that they like the stand-alone Celeron products better," a spokesperson for Intel said. "It gives them more flexibility in terms of their design.