Intel has delayed its next-generation Sonoma chipset until next year.

Sonoma was expected out in the second half of this year, but a design problem will push back the formal industry launch to next year, a source at Intel has revealed. The chipset will ship for revenue this year, meaning unit shipments will be sent to PC makers, at which time Intel will be bringing in revenue from Sonoma. Unit shipments to PC makers typically occur about six weeks before the products are available using the chipset.

Silicon for the chipset didn't meet Intel's production standards, the source said, characterising the problem as a design issue rather than a manufacturing issue. The silicon problem is not related to a flaw affecting the 915 G/P and 925X chipsets, formerly known as Grantsdale and Alderwood, that led Intel to recall some of those chipsets from system vendors and channel partners late last month. That flaw was in the I/O controller on the chipsets and could prevent a computer from starting normally.

Sonoma will enable Intel to introduce a Pentium M processor with a 533MHz front-side bus, which connects the chipset with the processor, as well as providing PCI Express interconnect technology and support for DDR2 memory.