Turmoil in CPU-Land
- Intel Corp. will recall its 1.13GHz Pentium III chip. Intel officials
said the company is recalling the chip due to a problem that could cause
certain applications to freeze.
found some marginality in the part within certain temperatures within
the operating range and certain code sequences (in applications)," said
spokesman George Alfs. "We're not happy with the chip and we're going
to pull it back."
Only some of the 1.13GHz chips showed the problem, according to the chipmaker.
However, the company will recall all 1.13MHz Pentium III processors that
have shipped to date. Presently, IBM has shipped the chip, but no other
US PC manufacturers have. Dell Computer was alerted to the problem before
any of their systems were shipped to customers.
30, 2000 [Source: AMD press release]-- AMD announced today that Larry
Hollatz, group vice president of the company's Computation Products Group,
has resigned to pursue other interests. Effective immediately, Hector
de J. Ruiz, AMD president and chief operating officer, will serve as acting
group vice president for the business unit which produces PC processors.
First, the Intel problem. The magnitude of the chip recall is nothing
like Firestone's recent tire recall (relatively few of these CPUs have
made it to customers yet), and the furor will die down before long. But,
this latest problem, combined with other recent issues (ref. TEC NA Should
It Be Renamed 'Unobtainium'? ), indicate to us that there are still
underlying problems in the company. We have hinted before that CEO Craig
Barrett might want to look into the situation more closely; we reiterate
that suggestion. Frankly, we'd be a little surprised if he hadn't already
started "kickin' some tail". All of this provides yet another opportunity
for AMD to succeed at Intel's expense.
some time, AMD has been matching Intel shot-for-shot, and in some cases
winning (relative to CPU performance). This has elevated AMD from its
former "me-too" status to a serious contender in the Intel-architecture
market. We don't envision AMD surpassing Intel any time soon (especially
because of AMD's non-presence in the server market), but this stuff does
make life interesting.
AMD, we envision a slight loss of momentum (as generally happens when
a key person leaves), but we do not presently believe the long-term effects
will hurt AMD greatly.
The normal suggestion would be to check your PC to see if it's using the
offending CPU. Since only IBM (of the major vendors) has shipped any systems,
and since they seem to have the situation well in hand, users are running
a low risk of problem(s).
the longer term, users should keep a watchful eye on both Intel and AMD,
though for different reasons. Intel watchers should see if the missteps
continue; if they do, customers should give serious consideration to switching
to AMD. A key indicator: if Dell Computer decides to add AMD processors
to their product line. Dell has been the most steadfast of Intel's supporters
thus far; their "defection" would spell trouble. (No, we have no evidence
of this happening, we merely mention it as an indicator.)
will be more difficult to assess, because the effect of a personnel change
generally takes a lot longer to become apparent. Additionally, momentum
can carry a company for awhile. If we see significant attrition (such
as key designers, etc.), this will be a bad sign. If there is no apparent
loss of momentum over the next 3-6 months, then AMD will probably weather
the change well.