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Intel halts 1.13GHz PIII orders

Intel halts 1.13GHz PIII orders

Intel has recalled its 1.13GHz Pentium III processors after a number were found to be faulty under certain conditions.

But an official for Intel said "recall" is too harsh a word for the company's decision to retrieve and retool an undisclosed number of faulty 1.13GHz Pentium III processors. Intel spokesperson Howard High said that the advantage of having only "a small number" of the faulty chips to replace, combined with the fact that the 1.13GHz Pentium III was targeted at a relatively small initial user base and not widely distributed, makes Intel's decision something less than a recall.

The early adopters that placed orders for the 1.13GHz Pentium III are "the kind of people that Intel wants to develop a strong relationship with," said High.

When asked if the problems with the 1.13GHz Pentium III might strain that strong relationship, High replied, "I don't think so. We are bringing a potential issue to the user, and not the other way around," said High. "[These customers] buy Intel because they expect a certain quality level. So if [Intel] comes to you and says these are not up to our level of quality, that reassures them that this company is very conscious of the quality, and it reinforces one of the reasons people buy the Intel brand."

The glitch that caused Intel's fastest Pentium III processor to fail also caused both IBM and Dell last week to stop taking orders for the 1.13GHz Intel chip, according to officials for both computer makers.

The news came on the same day chip rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) began shipping its 1.1GHz Athlon processor in volume.

With few details, Intel spokesperson George Alfs said that when the processor "hits a certain speed at a certain temperature while running certain code in certain units," the processor fails.

Apparently, the problem was discovered by either Tomshardware.com or HardOCP.com, both hardware testing companies that were provided with motherboards of the faulty chip from Intel for review, said Alfs.

Intel technicians have been able to replicate the problem brought to the company's attention by those outside testing sources, said Alfs. Based on those test results, Intel has stopped production of the chip, and won't resume production until the problem is identified and corrected, Alfs said. "We'll pull these [processors] back and fix the problem and ship new parts out in a couple of months."

The number of chips shipped since the end of July has been "very small", according to Alfs, and Intel is working with the vendors who bought the chip to resolve the problem.

The Australian market has not been hit by the problem. An Intel spokesperson said the chips had only shipped locally from July 31 in limited volume and no machines had been affected.


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