Shipments of Intel's new 3GHz Pentium 4 processor were halted on Monday due to the discovery of an "anomaly", according to an Intel spokesman.
The new chip was placed on what Intel called "ship hold" because the company had detected a problem in "a very small number of the 3GHz chips," an Intel spokesman, George Alfs, said. The new 875P chipset, with support for a 800MHz front-side bus, was unaffected by the anomaly.
"It sounds like whatever it is is relatively minor," principal analyst at Mercury Research, Dean McCarron, said. An issue arose during the company's internal testing procedures but it's not something that would require a "silicon spin" or a redesign of the hardware, in order to fix, he said.
"A change may be needed in the BIOS, or a change in a specification," McCarron said. "Basically all of that points to it being a relatively small issue, rather than something that would be significant. The delay in shipping product should be relatively short."
Alfs declined to be more specific about the nature of the problem.
Intel was working with its customers on fixing the problem, he said. Units has already been shipped out to PC and workstation manufacturers.
The cessation of shipments would probably affect the availability of several new systems - announced the same day - that featured the chip, he said.
As of Monday afternoon, Dell Computer, Gateway, and HP were selling PCs and workstations on their Web sites with the 3GHz Pentium 4, Intel's first chip to feature an 800MHz front-side bus. All three companies were trying to determine how Intel's announcement would affect the availability of their systems.