Intel phasing out another Nehalem processor

Santa Clara (CA) – Yesterday, we learned that Intel has begun phasing out the Core i7 940 processor, today we are told that the Extreme version 965 will be retired this year as well. Looks like the current three i7s weren’t really part of the actual Nehalem launch, but more of a vanguard, or, if you prefer to be a bit more direct, sort of placebo products to maintain the promised 2008 introduction date of the technology. 2009 shapes up to be Nehalem’s year, not 2008.

There are voices who claim that the three i7 processors introduced in 2008 cannot be considered actual launch products of the technology and we may have to agree that the three products introduced back then – which are still the only desktop Nehalems available today – can hardly be described as a product family, at least if we look at the size of Intel’s other processor families.

However, we would expect Intel to have an issue with that statement, especially since the company recently stated that 1 million Nehalems have been shipped already. But, it is worth mentioning that half of that number were Xeon 5500s and the other half were i7 CPUs and, by Intel’s own definition, every chip that hasn’t reached a production count of at least 1 million, cannot be considered a volume production part. And in that view, it is interesting to see that Intel is announcing the retirement of two of the three i7 CPUs before they have reached that volume production mark. Following the i7 940, the company announced that the 965 will be phased out as well. Final orders will be taken on September 4, 2009, and final products are planned to ship on May 7, 2010.

The obvious conclusion is that Intel has other products that will be taking the place of these i7 CPUs rather sooner than later, even if the official word is that the company will be shipping the current i7s “through 2009.” However, we can’t help but feel that these shiny new chips suddenly look somewhat old.