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Intel Recalls 1.13-GHz P-IIIs Due To Glitch 213

KuRL writes "C|Net is reporting that Intel has begun to recall their 1.13-GHz chips, which had the best clock speed on the market, due to a glitch that caused the chip "to malfunction in laboratory tests under certain conditions." Yes, it was only that specific. It is quite clear that Intel rushed this chip out upon hearing that AMD would be releasing a 1.1-GHz chip of their own."
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Intel Recalls 1.13-GHz P-IIIs Due To Glitch

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  • by iamriley ( 51622 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @11:35AM (#821132) Homepage
    According to Tom's Hardware [] (located withing the last couple of sentences on the page), the 1.13GHz perform fine when underclocked to 850MHz.
  • This one will be known as the 50lD F457 D0D0 bug.

  • The orginal articles about the chips at Toms' hardware mentioned that when the chips were underclocked to 850MHz they worked flawlessly
  • I liked the phrase "certain application software" from a previous press release/story. Yeah, like Windows 98, Linux, NT... little things like that. :-)
  • In that case, it's time to punish them for their disregard for consumers by not buying their products.

    All this bottom line garbage is stupid. We're moral creatures because that's what works. If it didn't, we wouldn't be here. It's time companies were held to the same standards.

  • Instead of criticizing him outright, why don't you find the answers to your questions on his site....
  • by Nexx ( 75873 )

    Did Intel actually learn the mistakes from the i820 debacle too? Will they become the "release and recall" company? I think it's a better marketing jingle than the "Intel Inside" was *grin*

  • First off, is that even possible, short of, say, an undocumented MMX or SSE or something call? Even if, why would MS want to do something like cut out AMD? Intel maybe, but I can't see MS jumping on that without that feature offering big performance benefits. Its not like MS wants its software to run on fewer machines. Isn't world domination what Bill is all about?

    Anyway I've had more than my share of K5 problems under normal windows, not to mention NT.

    I'm not sure which conspiracy theory to believe, that intel would make features for MS only, which sounds a bit far fetched since offering these performance enhancing features to all operating systems would make them look a lot better for any type of solution, that MS would make intel only features which shouldn't happen without the first option since the x86 spec is there for everybody to see and again the world domination thing, or AMD makes some bad parts. I never did like the K5 so I'd be inclined to believe option 3, but I don't want to assume anything based on the few K5's I've used sucking.

    Supposedly some branch of the K6's (K6-2, 3?) I don't know, throws up when running 98SE, but is fine in just 98 first edition. That's what one of the computer shops in my area told me when I commented on their lack of anything AMD, no Athlon, nothing. I haven't played with the particular combination, 98SE seemed like such a waste. As did running it on a K6 at the point when 98SE came out.

    AMD apparently said to the shop it was a windows issue and the processors would work fine when underclocked if 98SE had to be run. At that the owner of the shop decided to do without AMD. If thats the case I probably wouldn't have thought highly of pin the blame elsewhere, especially if they worked when underclocked.

    I know the shop doesn't carry anything AMD and this is the given reason and they supposedly tested this out thoroughly and received that response from AMD, but could somebody tell me up as to whether this was ever an issue? I'm inclined to believe them because they know their stuff, and are one of the best shops in town, but I'm not big on the whole conspiracy thing. Does anybody know if or which AMD's aren't fully compatible?

  • Well, I still feel good about not liking Tom and his reviews. It is not so much that he found the bug but the fact that "I'm going to keep this as evidence and not help Intel" and his general approach to this situation...

    And his attitude shouldn't be what it is considering what he is doing

    Are you really trusting enough to think that Intel didn't even consider trying to hush the problem up by making sure they had all of the problematic chips? Especially given how forthcoming they've been in the past (about the Pentium floating-point bug or the Rambus performance problems or the 820 chipset issues)? Intel had as many 1.13 GHz chips as they wanted and I didn't see anything about Tom not being willing to share his tests (and, in fact, it was a test that Tom was the first to try - the kernel compile - that probably pushed Intel over the edge). Tom was willing to help Intel, he just wasn't willing to let Intel back him into a corner.
  • Someone in Intel DID piss him off several years ago. Do people still remember his trouble when Intel was trying to shut his website down for posting some "undesirable" info? I think it was Pentium 2 preview with benchmarks that were not at all impressive. He was scrambling to get lawyers and money to move to faster servers. He still practised medicine in those days.

    I don't think that he bashed Intel when their CPU's were clearly superior. In general his reviews are quite good, original, and present products in true light. However, the arrogance that his articles are laced with doesn't make him very popular. Money and fame can get to anyone's head.
  • Amid Intel's 1.13GHz difficulties, the AMD 1.1GHz chip which shipped oday and has been benchmarked at []Sharky Extreme. []

    Now we can see if AMD has the mettle to become the processor leader or not.

  • Then I'll show you a company soon to be bankrupt.

  • And I can probably name some other scientists who know more about hardware than he does. What gives him so much say.

    Yes, and so can I. That's not relevant to the post at hand. Richard Feynman isn't Albert Einstein either, but he's no hobbyist. Comments need to be relevant to be useful. As for what gives him so much say, I suggest you peruse his site, and see if you can find a better one on the net.

  • Hmm. Thanks. Being an engineer (padawan), that's food for thought.
    I might have known if i had my driver's license.


    yay sawfish

  • by Ralph Wiggam ( 22354 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @12:44PM (#821146) Homepage
    I think Tom did the exact right thing. Kyle Bennett from HardOCP sent his CPU back, they returned what they said was the same chip, basically saying "we don't see anything wrong". Mysteriously, the returned CPU performed much better than it did before. Tom had made so much noise (and deservedly so), that he HAD to keep his proof or he could have gotten burned so hard.
    Let's say that both Kyle and Tom returned their chips, had them switched with working ones, and Intel then fixes the problem quietly without a public recall (which could be easily done considering how few are really out there). Tom then looks like a total idiot who can't test a computer and Intel buys their way out of a huge mistake.
    Tom, if you're reading this, you're awesome. Keep up the damn fine work.

  • by mincus ( 7154 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @11:35AM (#821147) Homepage
    For some reason I get pictures of Intel exec's crying about losing marketshare to thier wives, and thier wives telling them that they should have stopped playing 'mine is bigger than yours' when they were in 2nd grade.

  • ike or

    oh yeah, is the best place to find out about vital flaws in the PIII 1.13Ghz that you just bought.


  • nothing good, eh? nothing good has come out of it because the p3 1.13Ghz doesn't work? Because its pushed back to 2001?

    Wake up, buddy. the p3 1.13Ghz wouldn't have a release date next year, problem or no problem, if they didn't have to compete with AMD. Chips wouldn't be even close to the Ghz range by now if intel could still hide behind Moore's [economic] law. The Highest end of us would be using 650-700 Mhz chips, maybe

    It's called capitalism. It means that when companies compete, they have to work harder and produce better products, or they go out. So the longer this "pissing contest," as you call the free market economy, continues, chips will continue to get faster.

    If faster chips cannot be produced that are stable, (which they can, in any case, as AMD is showing us every day) it is because the technology really is at its limit, at least for now, not because of competition between chip manufacturers.

    If you really think that all that's been at stake over the past year and a half or so between Intel and AMD has been essentially bragging rights (as in a pissing contest) then you are sorely mistaken.



  • they are cheaper, they preform almost equally to intels chips, and they dont cause cancer in lab rats. Now if only they were kinder to overclockers....

  • They are fallible!! Nice to see them kinda fall on their faces. Just another example to show that competition really does let the best company win.
  • Hell, yeah new CPU architectures are always good. You can only tweak the old stuff so much before you cant tweak no more. I'm pretty happy with my Duron 700 too. Actually I just bought it this month for my temporary computer, my old '97 era P233MMX just wasnt cutting it any more. Plan to upgrade to an AMD Athlon Tbird @ 1.5GHz come January and a DDR mobo.
  • by Jon_Sy ( 225913 ) <> on Monday August 28, 2000 @11:38AM (#821153)
    "Intel executives said it was too soon to say how much the bug might cost, but the cost will not be material to Intel's earnings."

    "For a long time, Intel was this machine that couldn't break and AMD couldn't take two steps without tripping," Gwennap said. "For the past year, Intel has been having problem after problem, and AMD keeps cranking out more and more chips."

    Is anybody else repulsed here? I find myself reminded of a premise in 'Fight Club', that car companies tally up the repercussions of a recall before bringing the faulty vehicles back to the manufacturing plants...if the cost of all the lawsuits is lower than the cost of the recall, it's never issued.

    This is similar, with a twist...i find it really difficult to believe that intel couldn't find fundamental errors in the architecture of this chip before it was shipped. Like the article says, they've been doing this for far too long without a hitch for things to suddenly start going wrong. So if they found the problem, why was the chip released?

    This is where the other quote comes in: Intel doesn't care. The market value of beating AMD to the punch was far, far greater than the cost of pulling a few thousand chips back to the plant, and angering a handful of Linux users in the process. Much like a couple of passengers burned to a crisp wouldn't stop the SUVs from rolling out onto the pavement, why should Intel let poor products keep them off the front pages of tech columns around the world?

    Only, this hypothesis is somewhat more insidious...i'd go so far as to claim that Intel was aware of the problems before the release of the chip, and shipped it anyways...i doubt if Ford Motors would put a time bomb into showrooms simply because there was a profit to be found in it. of course, the fallout press in that scenario would be cataclysmic to their PR, but who is going to shed a tear over some poor Slackware hacker?


  • to add, it was every processor from 350+... I have a 450, and it's notoriously worse than a 350 that an old roomate had -- but this was an issue that I saw in 95b, and had to boot to "safe" and issue the patch every single time I'd re-load my main system.

    I'm planning on a thunderbird soon.
  • If Intel is looking for reasons not to let millions of defective products into customers' hands, they need look no farther than Firestone's example.
  • I can imagine that the 'real' intel roadmap, the roadmap used by marketing, includes the occasional bug and/or recall just to keep the Intel name in the newspaper.

    All a type of hype.

    This sure will make the rock solid 2.0+ GHz P4's and merceds look sweet by comparison. will you buy a 1 GHz Celeron now that the x86 core has shown itself to be unstable at high speeds? (alright maybe that's stretching the machiavellian a little, but realistically, the value in the pIII name is going to have to be downgraded in favor of the other chips).

    I wonder if the p4 will really swoop in and take the lead at this rate... between rambus and 1.0 GHz problems, the pIII is looking pretty bad in middle age. The p4 will be like a sleek and solid dream machine by comparison.
  • Intel has begun to recall their 1.13-GHz chips, which had the best clock speed on
    the market due to a glitch that caused the chip "to malfunction in laboratory tests under certain conditions."

    Intel executives today cited "ambiguity in language" as the source of the misunderstanding that caused them to release their 1.13 GHz chips a bit too soon.

    "We thought that the glitch was what gave us the top speed," said one exec. "Really, that's the impression we had from the report our engineers gave us. And even some Slashdot headlines."

    Sources say misuse of commas or failure to see them is becoming a widespread industry problem. "There's so much focus on the dot... some people think that's it, period, as far as punctuation goes. We really also need to look at the comma,"
    said an economist somewhere in New York.

    In other news, Intel also lost a bundle when they misunderstood some foreign currency prices...
  • I think the ironic thing is that intel doesn't even use equipment that's powered by intel processors to test their processors. They use the Schlumberger [] testers which are powered by sparcs and come with a sun workstation (the software is only offered on sparcs). It should also be noted that intel is schlumberger biggest customer!

    Testers are used for characterising chips (timing, functionality, input currents, etc.). Schlumberger's fastest tester (the ITS9000KX) reach 1Gbps, although according to the a schlumberger employee they mostly use a slower model (I think it was ~400Mbps) so intel may not be testing these things at speed (although, are there any pins that run above 400MHZ?). They might have left the at-speed testing to a bench setup (i.e. a computer) running windows, and that may be why they missed the bugs.

    Considering the obvious problems reported on Tom's hardware, you have to wonder if they're giving enough coffee to their product engineers.


  • by MAXOMENOS ( 9802 ) <maxomai&gmail,com> on Monday August 28, 2000 @11:40AM (#821160) Homepage

    I guess it's time for us to dust off the f00f bug jokes that plagued Intel when the Pentium first came out....

    Q: What's that 'Intel Inside' sticker called? A: A warning label!

    Comeon folks, use 'em if you got 'em...let's get all this out of our system before Jay Leno and Dave Letterman get on the bandwagon tonight and ruin the fun for everyone...

    The Tyrrany Begins.... []

  • I don't have other references to back this up, but according to a neighbor of mine who had been a GM engineer, the Corvair was killed not because of Nader's now known to have been rigged "tests", but because of simple economics.

    Not enough Corvairs were sold to support an entire car line that shared virtually no major parts with any of GM's other vehicles.
  • The PIIs were using separate cache chips, that's why Intel invented that silly package.
  • "Intel exec's crying about losing marketshare to thier wives"
    1. Damn! Intel executives' wives are stable at 1.13GHz?!? Imagine a Baywatch cluster of those...
  • I thought and still think from various sources over the years that getting a computer meant that the damn thing was supposed to work for an indefinite period of time. It's supposed to be an *investment* afterall and one of the rules of investments should be a good rate of return. Overclocking is and has been known to dangerously decrease the length of a computer's processor and it's ability to function properly. I never have been able to overclock mine and I doubt if anyone ever bothered to publish a book from a reputable source indicating how exactly in no uncertain terms how it should have been done. I't just not a good idea. I don't have extensive training in electronics and the like and I don't like hardware to die. Reliability is the main and in fact should be the only thing gudeing a purtchess after price. Where will reliability go if you start overclocking something that wasn't meant to be actually *run* at the speed that it's been forced to run at. Sure a model T can be forced to run the Indy 500 but that isn't going to be good for even 1 lap at those speeds. My point is if I am paying anyone anything I expect quality for my money not some device that was designed for people to monkey aroudn with it to get it to even work properly. No that that's out of the way I think that Intel is making a double standard by preventing people from shooting themselves in the foot by taking the gun and shooting everyone else's feet first. It's just bad manners.
  • Intel is jamming FUD down the uninformed throats in an attempt to stem the blood loss until they can rush the P4 out the door.

    With all the "blood loss", one would have to wonder if the P4 will be truly ready, or merely "ready enough" when it comes out.

    I've grown a bit leery of anyone's "latest and greatest" processor cores; I will be buying Athlons and Lower-end PIII's for my servers for a bit to come, until other people have beta-tested the sledgehammers and P4's.

  • I wonder too, if it wouldn't compile a linux kernel you'd think they wouldn't ship it. For crying out loud they know the Itanium, not even released yet compiles linux, don't they? Did some PHB walk into the factory and just switch something without an engineers consent or what? I would hate to think that windows is the only system booted to check if a processor works or not.
  • being the fastest one to the finish generaly won't satisfy anyone either, especialy if they have to pay for it.
  • by GoRK ( 10018 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @11:27AM (#821168) Homepage Journal
    Why so much noise?

    Didn't you get your cheque from Intel to be mum about this?
  • I disagree,

    Do you think Firestone execs are laughing in their boardrooms right now?

    Do you think they are happy about all the new-found publicity?

    I highly doubt it.

    I for one would think twice about the prospect of purchasing a shiny new set of Firestones for whatever car I was driving. Sure they will fix this problem & their QA department will look doubly hard, but why take that chance?

    I would rather deal with a company whose current record was less tarnished. Execs at both Firestone & Intel know that.

    This is not some attempt to keep Intel in the media spotlight.

    This is the engineering department getting overruled by the marketing department. If you have any questions about how this can happen, simply read any of Scott Adams books on how this process takes place.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    How long did AMD and Intel think they could keep on going pushing overclocked POS chips out the door?
  • That makes sense, but i wouldn't let them off the hook so fast.

    If you enlist the aid of malaysian masons who use glue sticks to lay bricks, is anyone surprised when the house falls down before it's finished? This is the kind of problem i could find early.

    More to the point, would i sell you a house like this?


  • like or or or any of several others that aren't run by a single point of failure about a single topic that a person must take at face value. Unlike most people on this site I don't have an extra 20,000 somolians lieing around to spend on hardware. I have to take the cheap stuff. What about something about getting the cheapest real computer that will run linux or how about preformance differences of say early Pentiums (a comptuer I actually might buy in the near future). Things like that. I don't have sound hardware, I don't have massive and strange video cards, I can't (I wish I could) just pop in a new CPU that actually works, things like that. Personally with a lot of money riding on something I don't see how I can trust a fly by night operation and quite frankly I don't trust the internet very much.
  • by yakfacts ( 201409 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @12:51PM (#821173)

    I am a fan of the Athlon, and have been more pro-AMD since the overhyped and under-performing Pentium II was released.

    So I shed no tears about this recall. Intel's position as a 2000lb gorilla needs to be shaken; they have dealt with issues like the 486DX50, and Pentium FPU bug in a less-than-graceful way.

    This product was a crude attempt to FUD AMD out of the market with what looks like an overclocked part. But AMD has been guilty of faulty components as well.

    An earlier poster mentioned some bad K5 CPU samples. I would go so far as to claim the entire K5 line with its "PR" rating was a joke. The performance was poor and the failure rate high.

    At that time AMD was willing to do anything to stay afloat...this continued into the earky K-6 (less than 300Mhz) era. But since then AMD has been producing an enterprise-level CPU, even if some of the motherboards for the Athlon were not up to snuff.

    My point is that both Intel and AMD have at times traded reliability for release dates. We should not let them forget it, but nor should we rule out one manufacturer's product on the basis of rumor or a recalled product.

  • That's a lot of face to loose to AMD.
  • I have no idea of what link it is (I just found the magazine at a software company's office), but PC Magazine did a test of high-performance computers. Compaq's 1GHz Athlon, and other PIII 933MHz and 866MHz computers by Dell and Quantex, to name a few, were benchmarked with 128MB of RAM and Win98SE. The Athlon never led in any category.
  • by Alternity ( 16492 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @11:29AM (#821176)
    Wow. Congratulations to Tom from Tom's Hardware and Kyle from Hard|OCP. Somehow I have a feeling that this recall is more due to your findings than to "tests in laboratory". At least Intel reacted the good way realising they made a big mistake and did the right thing by recalling. What annoys me is that they had to wait until some chips had been shipped before realizing their CPU still had issues.

    I wonder how those who flamed Tom for his negative review feel now...
  • I wonder if the p4 will really swoop in and take the lead at this rate... between rambus and 1.0 GHz problems, the pIII is looking pretty bad in middle age. The p4 will be like a sleek and solid dream machine by comparison.

    As I've stated elsewhere, I have a different opinion. With all the problems Intel (and AMD too) have had with their latest cores, I believe the P4 will have at least 1, if not more, issues that will require massive engineering attention. Every new core, from the 486 to the P6, have had some issues associated with it, and I don't think the P4 will be any different.

    Of course, I would like to see Intel absolutely shine in their P4 efforts, but then I'm biased; I have several friends who work for various Intel subcontractors that I don't want to see out in the streets =P

  • by Upsilon ( 21920 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @11:29AM (#821178)
    Recall? What are they recalling? They have to actually have sold some of the chips before they can recall them. Even Dell, Intel's lapdog, has been unable to get these chips in any kind of volume. This "product" was pure vaporware from day one.
  • > Too little competition yields monopolistic power; increase competition and the consumer benefits, but beyond a certain point, the competitors start doing anything to hurt each other, at the expense of the consumers. ... does anyone reading this think Intel would have done this had it not been for the pressure from AMD?

    You're right - it's all AMD's fault.

    Are you seriously suggesting that having a single competitor is too many for the good of the consumers?

  • It's long been the mindset of a lot of people that having a strong competitor in your marketspace creates higher quality products in order to compete. Not always so. Case in point: This article. Instead of creating higher quality products, Intel creates a shittier one.

    How much do you want to bet that marketing (which should be latin for as much for as little as possible- but isn't) would opt to rush products out the door instead of getting some actual meat into what is being released?

    The same would happen with Linux if it were doing as well commerically against Windows as AMD was against Microsoft. Microsoft would be releasing versions of their software earlier, and doing seemingly whatever it can to make money without higher quality products.

  • >How long did AMD and Intel think they could keep >on going pushing overclocked POS chips out the >door? The fact is that AMD chips are not overclocked. They're merely able to run at higher speeds. Stably. The Intel chips are not. Their instability problems are the sign of an overclocked core that simply cannot handle the speed. The fact that they run perfectly at 850Mhz proves this. However, the AMD chips are reliable at 1100MHz. Unlike Intel. And they're far cheaper. So guess which processor I'm buying? Clue: doesn't rhyme with 'Dentium Free'.
  • A sure sign that your company is "marketing" driven instead of "engineering" driven, is when your CPU is named "Pentium" or "Thunderbird" instead of a nifty number like 80486.

    It sort of reminds me of NICs. Personally, I have always liked the engeneering/project name better than the marketing name. Vortex and Boomerang sound much cooler than Ether Link 3.

    At least AMD uses better names.

  • due to a glitch that caused the chip "to malfunction in laboratory tests under certain conditions."

    This should have read: due to a glitch that caused the chip "to malfunction in laboratory tests EXCEPT under certain conditions."

    Gotta love the 'ol Intel two-step here.
  • I wonder if compiling the linux-kernel is considered to be a laboratory test/experiment! Does this make us all nuclear scientists?
  • Don't be so condemning or praising of the two companies. They *both* act out of necessity. AMD would love to be in Intel's position, with Intel's worries.

    Both are market driven; Intel defines the market, and AMD has to become skilled at playing in that market. However, if Intel ever stops defining the market, AMD has the potential to catch up and define it for themselves. Once they define the market in such a way that they(AMD) get all the advantage, then AMD will also get all the money.

    Still, I would think Intel is making enough money and has enough mindshare that it wouldn't do something so stupid as rush to market...

    The nick is a joke! Really!
  • Thats because these CPUs are NOTHING more than 850s which are 'designed'(well maybe not as well as they thought) to run at 1130mhz Intel and AMD simply overclock their chipsets to give them more life when yeilds allow it, but this time I guess a bean counter somwhere in Intel is getting yelled at right now. SmokeyDP
  • You mean they didn't engage in overclocking
    Increasing the core voltage (again), a much larger heatsink than even the 1ghz PIII and terrible instability under CPU intensive tasks, this sounds very much like overclocking to me.
    Intel were trying to out do AMD with their 1.1Ghz Thunderbird and paid the price.
  • I wonder just how many parts they really had to recall. Maybe a dozen or so circulating in the benchmark community, but I hardly expect that there will be any great volumes of CPU's in the wild which need to be pulled back.

    It seems this is one instance where Intel's failure to ship product might have saved them some pain.

    They are looking pretty foolish right now. First the unavailable 1GHz PIII launched for PR purposes, now the broken 1.13GHz launched for the same reasons. I had heard that the PR tail was wagging the engineering dog over there, looks like the rumours were true. Anyone betting that Dell ship an AMD system next quarter?

  • by barleyguy ( 64202 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @01:09PM (#821219)
    Well, I still feel good about not liking Tom and his reviews. It is not so much that he found the bug but the fact that "I'm going to keep this as evidence and not help Intel" and his general approach to this situation...

    And his attitude shouldn't be what it is considering what he is doing

    Speaking as someone who has been following hardware sites since Tom's page didn't even have its own domain...

    Tom used to be noticably pro-Intel. This was true until somewhere in the AMD-K6/Pentium Pro days, when he started noting that the K6 would run at 100 Mhz bus, and the socket 7 Pentiums wouldn't. He then gradually started becoming more pro-AMD and less pro-Intel.

    I see two possibilities here.
    1. He judges things purely on technical advantages, and really thinks AMD is better.
    2. Someone at Intel pissed him off somewhere along the line, and he has a personal bias.

    It's also possible that both of the above are true.

    There is one thing I can't stand about his site - since he added the daily "technical news", I have seen news bits that are obviously press releases, and contain obvious technical errors that Tom should notice. I don't think he actually reads some of the stuff before it gets posted as "news".

    I do like the reviews and articles that are actually written by his staff, though. I think keeping proof of the situation was important in the case of the 1133 Mhz chip. I think if he would have sent it back the problem may have dissapeared, much like it did with Kyle's chip. I think when he sent it back they did a microcode load or something, then returned it saying there was nothing wrong with it.

    None of the four chips that this group of reviewers got would compile the Linux kernel. When Kyle slowed them down to 850 Mhz they worked. This points to the chips being flaky at their rated speed.

    As far as Tom's attitude, it is the sum of all his experiences, just like anyone elses is. Though he could make a concious effort to change it, I think his honesty is important in an industry where too many reviewers simply regurgitate praise.
  • NEW YORK-- Intel Stock (INTC) tumbled a quarter of a point when the corporation released news that it was recalling ALL of its new 1.13GHz CPU's today.
    The 1.13GHz CPU, or Central Processing Unit, is the chipmaker's fastest consumer product to date. It is unclear as to how many of the units have shipped over the past few weeks, but based on the company's current yields, industry experts predict it may be as many as a dozen.

  • This is an interesting examples of one of the pitfalls of being a market driven company instead of an engineering driven one.

    Can you give me an example of a company that is not market driven?
  • The x86 chips that are being released these days are immensely complicated. Windows is
    buggy, yes, but if someone wrote a less buggy clone of Windows, it is still going to be an overly complex piece of software
    that I would not stake my life on. AMD is prone to exactly the same issues. It's not like AMD chips are orders of magnitude
    simpler than what Intel is working on. AMD could easily stumble at any moment, as could anyone working on something so

    Hmm, that's funny- I don't remember any recall-worthy bugs in CPU's in the past couple years. Sure, CPU's are complex, and there will be floating point errors, f00f bugs, etc- but selling a CPU that doesn't work at all? Come on now. It's painfully obvious intel is really trying to keep up with AMD here, and they're failing miserably. If you can't even compile a kernel cleanly on 3 of 3 samples, something is wrong here. While AMD may be prone to exactly the same issues, they're not about to ship a CPU that is that broken. Unfortunately I've been in a similar situation to intel's engineers, on a smaller scale- marketing sets hard deadlines that are a joke. What do they care if the technical department has to work 18 hour days?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Intel PENTIUM® III 1000EB 1000MHZ 1GHZ 133MHZ FCPGA SOCKET 370 . $ 959


    AMD - * ETA late Aug, Thunderbird 1.1GHz - from Authorized AMD Dist. Channel INCLUDES - 1 year AMD warranty, 1x1 logo case sticker , AMD TRAY product $ 719


    So, in closing. Who cares? No one would buy one of these over-priced space heaters anyway. Notice how the only people who found the problem are Kyle and Tom? Aka two people who didn't even buy the CPU in the first place? Exactly.
  • by Friday ( 27240 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @12:03PM (#821231)
    For this recall, do I need to mail it back to Intel?
    Or, can I just shred my copy of the press-release?
  • ... or, the rumours that started a few days ago were picked up by Intel and a decision was made after a few meetings (that may have taken a day or two) to "recall" the chip. Slashdot - quick to react as always - merely caught on right before Intel announced the desicion they had made a few days ago.

    If you've worked in a large IT company before, you'll know which one is more likely.


  • Actually, that chip (the 2 GHz Pentium 4) bears as much resemblance to the one you could see inside your desktop case, as, well, a hardcore overclocker's Pentium 4 system bears to an upcoming Pentium 4 system. YMMV, depending on how much you want to squeeze out of it. If you would get out of your AMD cheerleader's suit, maybe you could see past the FUD of both corporations.
  • One thing is, is that when Intel discovers a problem, be it with the P60, i820, or now P3-1.13, they always go out of their way to fix the it... step forward, recall systems, replace defective items, etc...

    What happened when it was found that a certain AMD chip (was it the k6-3-350?) had problems booting Win98? All other AMD chips had no problems, just this one chip would have to be reset a number of times before it would successfully boot? Did customers get no chips? No. They had to wait until Microsoft released a patch to Win98 that solved AMD's problem...

    It really seems that Intel, for all their faults, are a lot more on the ball about addressing said faults. Not that that sways me at all... I'm dying to put together my Duron system... :) This was just a point/counter-point excersize.
  • There is no longer any such thing as an "engineering-driven company" -- at least, if there were, it wouldn't stay one for long. As a corporation, Intel, like all their competitors, have one primary responsibility: maximize shareholder wealth. Customer satisfaction, quality control, and engineering ability are all simply a means to that end.

    Were Intel to make a better product, but fail to report the earnings and stock value growth that their investors and market analysts expect, they could be sued by their stockholders for mismanagement. Advertising can, and often is, a far more effective means of increasing sales than simple quality and customer satisfaction, especially in a complex field such as chip design and fabrication, where few of your customers have any indepth understanding of the product they're buying.

  • Did any one else notice the time frame of Intel's planned response??? They are quoted as saying it will be "a couple months" before they are back to producing this chip. If the CPU market keeps up its current pace, they will be ready to produce these chips when they are a speed grade or two below the top notch! I think we may be seeing the end of the incredible pace of advancing speeds. I think this mistep may be the one that gets AMD and Intel to slow things down. Some other thoughts I have had....

    "We've seen that when certain software is running at certain voltages and certain temperatures, there can be an issue with the software not working properly," Michael Sullivan, an Intel spokesman, told

    Notice how they make it seem like it isn't the processor that has the is the software that isn't working properly. Gotta love spin!

    I am also surprised by the market's behavior...AMD remains unchanged today, Intel up almost a full point. Go figure. Perhaps we will see more fallout from this tomorrow.

    Maybe I do live outside the asylum?
  • Let's repeat after me...


    Ok. Having said that, of course it was wrong of Intel to release a chip that was unstable to the point of not being able to boot a kernel (that should be one of the first tests). But, you have to be realistic about these things...You don't expect any moderately large piece of software to be bug free, do you? Of course not. These chips designs are HUGE. The best that these companies can do is to find as many bugs as they can in design phase and do some rather extensive testing after taping out. The should've caught this bug, of course, but to expect every chip to be bug free is unreasonable.
  • "We've got Coppermines where we work that can be cooled with a simple heatsink/fan combo. AMD requires cooling or it will burn out within twenty seconds. " Did you look at how long a coppermine would last without cooling? I wouldn't say that the Athlons require excessive cooling (about the same size heatsink as the one I have been using since my 233K6), however it's thier thirst for a power supply which keeps them out of the bugdet market where the power supply is one of the first things that are skimped on.
  • by Aos ( 24560 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @12:15PM (#821264) Homepage
    Tom blew the whistle, but HardOCP supported his findings. Older readers of both websites know that these guys were quite "antagonistic" before they run into each other at some (Asian?) computer show a few months ago.

    In this instance however Kyle from HardOCP supported Tom, as he had bad experience with the chip as well. And eventually HardOCP hosted the testing session with 3 CPUs (one from AnandTech, credit to them too) and an Intel's engineer, where the problems were confirmed.

    I'm just pointing this out since HardOCP is relatively low-profile site, and they deserve some credit here. They are not as thorough as some other review sites but they sure are fun to read.
  • by Badmovies ( 182275 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @12:16PM (#821267) Homepage
    Actually, it looks like Intel might have known those chips were less than perfectly stable. In the review Tom had mentioned the motherboards having very conservative settings. He made a good hypothesis that these might have been used to offset stability issues.

    Not only does Tom give you the facts, but he often has a "gut instinct" or opinion about things included in the review. Always a pleasure to find someone willing to say what they think based on their experience.

    Andrew Borntreger
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Ship it! Ship it! Ship it!" This is what engineers hear every day.
  • Before you ask who pays this "Tom" guy's wage you shold at least consider reading the article [] (thus helping to pay tom's wage) and following the links, for example to HardOCP [].

    Then you would notice, that
    a) Tom gave intel ample time for reaction (he even called them prior to posting his first article) and really tried to get in contact and get some statements out of intel afterwards when it should have been intel (being concerned about their product) contacting Tom
    b) Later HardOCP confirmed, Tom's findings, namely that Tom (and they too) got a production CPU that wasn't up to spec and that no 1.133 GHZ PIII could be relied on compiling a Linux Kernel

    Considering the chain of events (especially intels noncommunication) I consider it highly likely that intel would have tried to hush it all up hadn't Tom acted as he had.

    Also things would have been much worse for intel if the glitches where discovered later, since then there would have been much more systems already sold, and maybe intel would have started a major PR campaign about the fastest processor on the market (or somesuch). So Tom might have saved intel from a much bigger faceloss.

    Had intel reacted quicker on Toms first article they could have come out of the story even better, and hadn't intel brought their 'fastest processor' to the market with uncalled for haste to beat AMD's announced 1.1 GHZ Athlon the whole story wouldn't have happened at all.

    So please stop shooting at the messenger when hearing bad news.
  • it is from the bad press that they have been receiving from both Tom's Hardware and HardOCP. It is still better sucking up and dealing with the recall than blaiming it on other factors with hardware (**COUGH**M$**COUGH). Still it makes you wonder about their testing procedures, as it took the online mags to figure out the problems for Intel.

  • You seem to be misunderstanding what "Open Source" means. It doesn't mean Linux. It means you have the option of compiling the program from source. Even if that source is on Windows...

    Okay, so you could test using source code that you don't reveal to anyone, but how scientific is it to perform a test that nobody can reproduce?
    No more e-mail address game - see my user info. Time for revenge.
  • Face it, the P!!! is having extreme problems getting past 1GHz, while the Athlon is sailing on by. I mean, remember that the 1GHz P!!! had to have a microcode update to function properly? Bah. A microcode change slows the chip down, usually disabling or correcting something--which begs the question of why the P!!! design got out the door with so many flaws.

    This story makes the problems Tom was having getting his first P!!! 1GHz to run stably worth another look. After other reviewers including Anand had no problems, they sent Tom a new chip and chalked it up to a faulty part. But maybe, just maybe, that part Tom got was a P!!! 1GHz which hadn't had the microcode update? If anything fails to even POST properly without a big microcode update, there was a *major* flaw in there somewhere. It wouldn't surprise me if that was the problem Tom was having.

    The P!!! core is basically the PPro core with a few new instructions and a wider path to the L2 cache, more or less. Is it any wonder that this ancient 5-year-old core is straining? Of course not; it was designed to operate at 200MHz, and it's a wonder they got it to operate at 1GHz at all. But the Athlon is all new, and seems to be feeling no strain getting into the highest speeds.

    Compare this to the P4 design, which Intel admits won't be as fast clock-per-clock as the P!!! thanks to the huge pipeline. Athlon will probably at least match this new P4 chip clock-for-clock, if not slightly outperform it. And, the new Mustang(?) cores are on their way. Face it: Intel is inferior now. For years AMD was the underdog and Intel was king of the x86 castle. And now, AMD has surpassed Intel in every way, in price and in performance when you consider that the P4 will perform worse clock-for-clock than P!!! while the Mustang cored Athlons will surely perform better than the Thunderbirds we have now.

  • Q: What is the name of the new French abortion drug which will supercede RU-486?

    A: RU-Pentium -- It prevents cells from dividing properly.

  • Found a few articles on this already and the problem seems to be related to Intel releasing chips they have intentionaly over-clocked. I wonder if anyone has tried UNDER-clocking these a little to see if the stability will improve. What about kepping them ice cold??
  • by drfalken ( 43743 ) <{drfalken} {at} {}> on Monday August 28, 2000 @11:30AM (#821282) Homepage
    I've been waiting on the edge of my seat for the 1.13Ghz chip.

    How can I be expected to get anything done with a 1.1Ghz processor?

    C'mon Intel, this isn't rocket science. Get with the program. You guys are so sloppy. Way to ruin my day.
  • Personally I question a person who goes it alone and does all this work himself without thinking that he is either an AMD plant or works for another concern like Microsoft to discredit everyone except whom he is supposed to discredit. My question is who pays this "Tom" guy's wage?

    Like I said above, if you've been reading Tom for a long time, his biases have shifted. That leads me to believe that if he is partial, it is for personal reasons, not financial ones. His wage is paid by people clicking on his site. The only thing I know of that the hardware manufacturers give him is parts to review.
  • by iamriley ( 51622 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @11:31AM (#821287) Homepage

    but I just read about it here [].

    I guess that even slashdot scoops slashdot.

  • I'll wait for the new AMD 1337 MHz processor. Only for us 1337 d00dz, y'know. ;-)

  • Well, they've gotta do something for their product to stand out.

    Their superior price/performance figures plus having the fastest working x86 CPU on the market make them stand out just fine.

  • What do you think the biggest priority of a billion dollar company is, making people happy? Why do you think all intels chips are made in malaysia? Thats what companies are supposed to do, make money. If you were head of intel I bet your biggest concern would be the profit margin. The world revolves around money, get used to it.

    That is all very true (too true). However, there's something to be said about enlightened self interest. Even MS will eventually loose because of crapware (MS is clearly the most skillful player of that game!).

    The question is, at this rate will Intel win the battles and loose the war?

  • Wasn't reliability one of Dell's excuses for not making an AMD based system? At this rate they are running out of excuses. I know the quote on that is out there somewhere.

    The aforementioned quote from Michael Dell can be found here [].

  • This will be the cheapest recall in all of recorded history...
  • due to a glitch that caused the chip "to malfunction in laboratory tests under certain conditions."

    Yeah, the "certain conditions" were:
    1. Chip plugged into Board.
    2. Board powered up.

    "But boss, it worked fine until I hit the ON switch!"

  • Of course goal #1 is money. But did you ever stop to consider what the IMMEDIATE goal is in order to GET all that cash?

    It's nice to sit around and say "yeah, we'd like some money. Let's focus our efforts on making money". You still need to DO something to earn that green...for a multinational, i would argue that the immediate concern is publicity. To be known, admired, watched, loathed; any sort of attention is desirable, because then people (and by extension, $$$) are suddenly looking at a bright blue logo thinking profound thoughts like 'are you ready?'

    Case in point: consider this new venture of Microsoft's. story at cnet [] Will it be profitable? You may think so, but anyone who's been paying attention to the book industry knows that Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Chapters (the Canadian equivalent of those outlets) are all taking huge losses on internet sales. Some transactions are being made at a loss, for a number of reasons. Why then would Microsoft choose to parlay a hand into this opportunity? Probably because the exposure is worth the expected loss.

    That sort of freewheeling i can accept. If a really fat company needs to shed a few million dollars to make itself look like it's at the forefront of things, then by all means drop the cash. It's just sound business. But marketing faulty products to make waves? That might also be good business sense, but it's still WRONG...

    No, if i were head of Intel, my chief concern wouldn't be our profit margin. Which is probably why i'll never be CEO of Intel.


  • by crgrace ( 220738 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @12:27PM (#821307)
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it the Linux Kernal compliation test that all 3 chips couldn't pass? Without open source, how could you possibly compile the Kernal yourself? If the chip sucked but only ran on Windows and it crashed alot, you'd blame windows right? I have Win98 dual-booted with Linux and Win98 crashes about every other day and Linux has never crashed. Ever. Not once.
  • And it will be interesting to see if any of those that said any percieved instability was just a result of Tom's bias ever apologize.

    Steven E. Ehrbar
  • by crgrace ( 220738 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @11:32AM (#821317)
    This is an interesting examples of one of the pitfalls of being a market driven company instead of an engineering driven one. Intel's marketing department tried to score a win over AMD and succeeded in jeopardizing their own reputation. Surely Intel's engineers knew the chip wasn't ready for prime-time but here business needs won out over engineering. AMD returned to their engineering roots out of necessitiy after their difficulty in the early-mid 90s and it is clear that they know set the tone. This also underscores the strength of sites such as Tom's and the Open Source community when it comes to keeping big corporations honest. While Intel may be able to pull the wool over the public's eyes (much as M$ does) they can't pull it over everyone's and now we are able to shout load enough for them to listen.
  • Folks,

    I think I know why the Pentium IIIEB 1,130 MHz units were having problems.

    Simply, Intel has pushed the Slot 1 design beyond the limits that Intel expected for that form factor. That explains why the PIIIEB 1,130 MHz chips are experiencing so many failures.

    What I do find a bit puzzling is the dearth of PIIIEB CPU's using the PC-PGA Socket 370 form factor beyond 800 MHz. Intel has yet to ship in reasonable quantities of the PIIIEB 900 MHz or above in FC-PGA packaging. Is it possible because the PIIIEB chip runs extremely hot at very high speeds that FC-PGA becomes impractical for 1,000 and 1,130 MHz versions?

    Note difference between Intel and AMD on this issue. The "Thunderbird" Athlon CPU's -were- designed right from the start for socket-type packaging (Socket A), hence the reason why AMD can ship the "Thunderbird" Athlon in Socket A format from 700 to 1,100 MHz with no fears of overheating issues. (Note that except for a very tiny production batch for a few OEM's using Slot A, all "Thunderbird" Athlons are use the Socket A form factor.)
  • by barleyguy ( 64202 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @01:35PM (#821322)
    This was a decision made by the legal department, actually.

    Back in the days of the Intel 80486, other companies (AMD, Texas Instruments, and Cyrix) started making chips called "486", with other letters or whatever tagged to them. Intel sued someone (can't remember which one) and the court said that "486" couldn't be trademarked because it was a model number, and other companies could have model numbers containing the same digits.

    So the legal department told the marketing department that they needed to come up with a trademarkable name for their next generation of chips. Hence the "Pentium" name, which became a registered trademark. (By the way, a company called NexGen beat them to the name 586, which was a Risc86 chip, and became the design for the AMD K6.)
  • Ah, there's lots of gloating going on here. Much of it includes "rah, rah, AMD" sentiment, I see. I can understand it, but some caution is well deserved here. The x86 chips that are being released these days are immensely complicated. Windows is buggy, yes, but if someone wrote a less buggy clone of Windows, it is still going to be an overly complex piece of software that I would not stake my life on. AMD is prone to exactly the same issues. It's not like AMD chips are orders of magnitude simpler than what Intel is working on. AMD could easily stumble at any moment, as could anyone working on something so complex. There's a bit of a blind eye toward and AMD problems at the moment, too, just as patches released right after new Linux kernel get spun into "Look at the quick turnaround!" instead of "Critical bugs in Linux kernel!."
  • by slothbait ( 2922 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @12:33PM (#821328)
    The key difference being that Ford underestimated the magnitude of the lawsuits AFTER they'd put the cars on the market, not knowing that they were prone to blow up on people.

    Incorrect. Ford's engineers were fully aware of the fault before the Pinto's release. The problem was a poorly shielded gas tank that tended to get crushed in rear-impact collisions, causing an explosion. The engineers brought the information to management, along with a proposed (and inexpensive) fix. Management did the math on the number of deaths, how much each would cost them in lawsuits and PR, weighed it against the per-vehicle cost of the fix and decided to produce the vehicle unmodified.

    The Pinto is now a text-book example in engineering ethics. The really chilling part of the story is that the primary motivation for not including the fix was that it would push the car's cost up enough to force a reprice. Marketing had been advertising the Pinto's low low target price like mad and weren't about to back down. Thus, the deadly defect remained largely due to marketing promises.

    While it's easy to villify Ford or any other company for making decisions like these, it must be remembered that this is the extreme case of a common phenomenon. It isn't surprising that by spending more money on a car, you can design it to be safer. You expect a Volvo to be safer than a Kia, don't you? If the engineers so liked, they could keep lopping life-saving features onto a car until it 1) looks like a tank, and 2) can only be afforded by the very rich. Clearly, this is taking things too far. The line has to be drawn somewhere, and equations based on cost and fatalities are the tool used to make these decisions.

    In the Pinto case, however, Ford went too far. The gas tank problem was a severe one, and it lowered the safety of the Pinto below consumers' reasonable expectations of safety. That is the key. Consumers may have expected the inexpensive Pinto to be less safe than a luxury car, but no one expected it to be as unsafe as it was.

    Anyway, this Intel mess is really a whole different ball game. Failing on speed promises like this isn't life threatening to anyone, so the stakes from an ethical viewpoint drop markedly. (Don't tell me about air-traffic control, none of those people would touch these chips) This is really just another case of Intel throwing vapor around. It surprises no one.

  • A quick search of give us this []


  • Wasn't reliability one of Dell's excuses for not making an AMD based system? At this rate they are running out of excuses. I know the quote on that is out there somewhere.

    They should just own up to it and admit that they are kissing ass for price breaks.
  • Around 10,000 people will die this year in accidents, about 4,000 will die in rollovers, with maybe 100 of them were caused by those firestone tires. Tires which were underinflated, worn, and misused. IE, 2.5% of the rollover deaths were caused by fire tires that were misused. I wouldn't call that a big deal. []

    The people who brought this publically are a professional organization whos purpose is to act as witnesses in class-action trials. []

    This is just another issue of someone bringing up a panic on something, so that the lawyers can come in and clean up.. Breast implants. (With no repeatible evidence YET discovered in over 10 years.) Cell phones causing cancer... Or fragrences. (Very popular in excuse in Canada, they cause everything from birth defects to insomnia.)

  • by Spider-X ( 159360 ) on Monday August 28, 2000 @11:34AM (#821344) Homepage
    They just showed off their 2ghz part (not finished) and here they are can't even get the 1.13ghz part out the door without a limp. Clearly the emperor has no clothes.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"