I actually called my reliable and very helpful Intel PR contacts in Germany before they could call me. First of all they played the issue down as a minor incident and they blamed my test motherboards and cooling. However, after I asked them to find out if there wasn't another person who might have had similar problems they got back to me and admitted that Kyle Bennett had reported problems although Kyle had been equipped with the very VC820 motherboard that was supposed to be the perfect platform for the new Intel processor. They started to admit that it might well be that my sample was faulty. Still they raised the following issues:
- The Pentium III at 1.13 GHz is only shipping to OEMs. Those OEMs are either supposed to use the specially modified VC820 motherboard or to modify any other motherboard they prefer according to the specs of the 1.13 GHz processor. The processor is not available in retail, which is why it wouldn't have to run on any mainstream platform in the first place.
- It is not that uncommon that Intel processors might be faulty. For end customers this would not be an issue with the Pentium III at 1.13 GHz however, since this processors would ship to OEMs only, who would have to validate their systems prior to shipping anyway.
- Intel considers it as exaggeration if I make it sound as if a major amount of the new Pentium III at 1.13 GHz would be faulty. After all that wasn't proven yet. However, Intel admits that it is of course possible that there is a serious problem, because the opposite hasn't been proven yet either.
- Intel requests me to send back my sample so that it can be diagnosed. I responded that I wouldn't give away my only proof. They said that they unfortunately don't have another sample that they could send me right now, but I would get one as soon as possible.
Basically I can understand Intel. Of course they want the part back so they can try to find out what's wrong with it. However, I prefer to hang on to this buggy little bugger, since it is the only thing to back up my story. Of course Intel wants to find the reason for the system crashes before they make a statement, make a new stepping, write a new micro code update or even start retracting their great new product. Still I doubt that any other journalist in my situation would have hesitated to report on this issue.
Two days ago Intel has released a new high-end processor and already now two samples seem to be faulty. One of them is either still in Kyle's possession or on its way back to Satan Clara, the other one is in my possession. I doubt that much more than 20-30 test samples were shipped to the press. Two of them makes 7-10% of the lot. If the percentage of faulty parts is just as high in the shipments to the OEMs Intel has got a major disaster at hands.
I just wonder, was that really worth it? Couldn't the world have done just fine without the new Pentium III 1.13 GHz? Couldn't have Intel done without another little scandal? Let's see, maybe Intel is right and Kyle's as well as my Pentium III 1.13 GHz sample were indeed the only faulty ones. It's up to you to decide if you believe that and it's up to Intel to find out what's the reason behind those buggy parts.
The one fact remains:
Something is wrong with Intel's new Pentium III 1.13 GHz processor.
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