Chip giant Intel said it was close to discovering a workaround for the erratum it discovered in its range of Xeon processors.
The company is keen to stress that the problem is not a bug, and points out that various errata are often discovered when new processors begin to emerge from fab plants.
Intel said that while the problem will delay the shipment of processors for a few weeks, it is already working with its OEMs to fix the problem. The launch date of the multiprocessing technology is this coming Monday.
The problem will be fixed by tweaking the microcode inside the processors. Microcode is software, or more properly firmware, which is necessary to make the silicon sing.
According to Intel, the problem is the result of conflicts between its 450 NX chip set and the CPU itself, which causes machines to re-boot themselves randomly, or not.
After Intel was forced to withdraw a whole batch of its previous generation of Pentium processors in 1994, it is now careful to ensure that it gives as much information as it thinks such situations need. At that time it was widely criticised for refusing to acknowledge there was a problem with its chip.
Eventually, it junked a large number of the processors, which found themselves incorporated into key rings and other trinkets, but costing Intel dearly in terms of its reputation and in public relations.
However, Intel insists that its current problem does not affect any systems using the 440 GX chip set, used for dual or single Pentium II processor systems.
The matter of how long the delay will last is complicated by the fact that most of the large vendors, except for Dell, are not planning to release systems until the fourth quarter of this year.
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