A confidential internal memo has revealed the depth of Intel's problems with standard high volume (SHV) quad processor Pentium Pro technology, which will lead to delays of up to eight weeks (PC Dealer, 15 May).
The bugs mean vendors that use their own motherboards, including Compaq, ALR and Apricot, will be able to clean up in the SMP market, leaving HP, Dell and others behind.
Gary Stimac, VP of network systems at Compaq US, said: 'We'll ship in June and in volume. We'll expand our systems later to 250MHz and 300MHz systems.'
According to the Intel memo, SHV boards hang during the boot process and in operation if voltages fluctuate and temperatures rise. Workrounds 'are so complex' that Intel refuses to support them or replace samples already with OEMs. Intel has already started 'quick turn' evaluations, and hopes to deliver some boards by the end of June. There is a 90 per cent chance the bugs mean delays to the end of July and a 10 per cent chance of delays beyond that.
Intel still plans to roll out double chip configurations in the next two weeks. In June, it will promote the Pentium Pro as a desktop processor, dropping prices again on August 1, and bring forward the date of release for the P7 as it prepares to fight potential rival Cyrix. Intel has brought forward the release of its 200MHz Pentium to June 10 to match Cyrix' introduction.
The P7, code-named Merced, is likely to be sampled towards the end of the year, according to US sources.
An Intel representative confirmed the existence of the erratum document.
Although the bug is a chip-set problem, the company will rework it by making adjustments to the clock reset circuitry.
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