Flaw will hold up Xeon availability

Flaw will hold up Xeon availability

-- IT purchasers should be aware of a flaw in the Intel Pentium II Xeon design, because it may cause systems to reboot at random.

Found in 450NX chip sets, which will be used by OEMs for one- to eight-way servers, the chip-set error will hold up the availability of the chip set until at least July 17.

By then Intel will have provided OEMs with a coding patch and its validation process should be complete, Intel internal documents stated.

The error is believed to be in circuitry that checks Level 2 cache memory, said Kelly Henry, a senior analyst at IDC.

Many OEMs have planned Xeon server announcements to coincide with Intel's launch, but all had already built a safety zone into their product rollout plans.

"Getting to market the day after a processor is announced is not one of our goals," said Chris Norman, director of product marketing at Gateway.

Compaq is not fazed by the delay.

"If there is a problem, that's not unusual. You're always ironing things out. There is always uncertainty about when these things go to market," said one official.

He added that for now the bug will not affect Compaq's release of its four-way Xeon ProLiant 6000 and 7000 servers in the third quarter.

Other OEMs also slated their Xeon rollouts for late third or fourth quarter, and some said such breathing room during the incorporation of a new processor is part of their planning process.

"We always expect to find something, then make corrections," said Jim Gargan, program director of IBM Netfinity. IBM will display its two-way Netfinity 5500 and four-way 7000M10 at Intel's Xeon launch, but will not roll out the servers until September.

Joining IBM and Compaq will be Dell and NEC with Xeon four-ways and Gateway, which will announce its ALR 9200 two-way and ALR 9400 six-way Xeon servers at next week's launch.

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