Intel is delaying release of its next-generation mobile chipset, code-named Sonoma, until the first quarter of 2005, according to a source at Intel.

Sonoma was expected out in the second half of this year, but a design problem will push back the formal industry launch of the chipset to next year, the source says.

Silicon for the chipset didn't meet Intel's production standards, the source says, characteriing 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 533-MHz front-side bus, which connects the chip set with the processor, as well as providing PCI Express interconnect technology and support for DDR2 memory.

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.