Intel faced its second embarrassing announcement this week as the vendor was forced to withdraw two iterations of the Sabre motherboard used by eight processor servers.
The chip maker confirmed that shipments of the motherboards that support the Pentium II Xeon 550MHz processor with 512Kyte second level cached memory and with 1Mbyte of cached memory had been stopped until further notice.
There is a problem with the signalling when the processors are running at high performance levels, which causes a blue screen effect or causes the system to reset.
The eight way 550MHz servers with 2Mbyte of cache have not exhibited the same problem, nor do any of the four way 550MHz machines using the NX or GX chipsets.
Intel has not found a fix for the problem yet and has sent the motherboards back to engineering to discover where the problem lies and why it was not discovered in validation before the already belated launch of the Profusion eight way chipset last month.
Vendors that have chosen to use their own chipset, such as Siemens, or their own motherboard, such as Compaq, remain unaffected.
"We're just sitting back and being really smug," said Tony Harvey, product marketing manager for industry standard servers at Compaq. He said it was "unlikely" the company would offer its motherboard to rivals.
Other OEMs, including HP, IBM and Dell, that rely on the Intel chipset and motherboards for their eight way servers could face product recalls. IBM claims it caught all the machines with problems before shipping anything other than demonstration machines to customers. IBM will ship the 550MHz with 2Mbyte of Level 2 cache instead.
Dell and HP were unavailable for comment.
Earlier this week Intel was forced to delay its 820 chipset, which would introduce Rambus memory - pushed by Intel as the future standard for memory architecture - forcing OEMs to cancel the launch of high end PCs slated for release earlier this week. (see Newswire 27 September)
OEMs, such as Dell and IBM, are already planning to reduce their reliance on Intel motherboards and chipsets. Continued setbacks at Intel are likely to reinforce that process.
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