Sep 24, 1999
- Intel Corporation officials confirmed that the company has put a hold on shipping
two versions of its 550-MHz Pentium III Xeon chips to OEMs for at least two
weeks because of a bug that is causing eight-way servers to freeze on boot-up.
To this point
the glitch has been limited to versions of the chip containing the 512Kb and
1MB caches. Vendors such as Compaq, who have chosen not to utilize the Saber
motherboard, have not experienced any problems to date.
In the short
term, this will put a damper on the overall eight-CPU Intel server market, because
vendors will be unable to ship systems, and some customers will delay purchases
until they see that the problem has been fully resolved. This puts Dell Computer
and Hewlett-Packard at a disadvantage, since they use the Saber board set as
the core of their servers. Compaq Computer will have both a short-term advantage
and potential disadvantage. The disadvantage arises from the possibility of
the marketplace not differentiating between the Saber-based and non-Saber-based
servers, thereby lumping Compaq's unaffected servers with those that are affected.
Compaq's advantage comes from having an even greater head start on Dell and
HP. The long-term effects on the overall market (assuming Intel solves the problem
95+% probability) will be negligible, since the overall demand for eight-way
servers will not decrease. Compaq should accrue some long-term benefit, especially
if customers decide that Compaq's development engineers add more value than
the competition does.
an eight-way Intel server purchase (from a vendor using the Saber motherboard)
should consider delaying that purchase until Intel has adequately demonstrated
that they have solved the problem. Although caution is always prudent when a
problem like this surfaces, users planning to buy from Compaq should be less