[H]ard times for Intel

On the date of the release of AMD's 1.1GHz Athlon comes word of serious problems with Intel's 1.13GHz Pentium III. In an unprecedented bit of cooperation, the [H]ardOCP teamed up with Tom's Hardware and AnandTech to get to the bottom of a mystery raised by the failure of several 1.13GHz review samples sent out by Intel. Kyle got a hold of four different review samples, including Tom's and Anand's, and conducted stability tests. The results weren't good. Intel sent out an engineer to get a look.

Not long after Kyle posted the results came the news: Intel is recalling the 1.13GHz Pentium IIIs. Tom's update on the subject asks, aptly, why Intel didn't investigate the issue sooner, with more thoroughness, when the review samples initially proved troublesome.

All of this trouble shows just how ragged Intel is running in its attempts to keep up with AMD in the MHz race. The relatively new Athlon core takes well to higher clock frequencies. But in CPU terms, the P6 core is seriously old—Strom Thurmond old—and making it run at speeds of 1GHz and more is no mean feat. Looks like they pushed a little too hard on this one. Intel's saying the fix will require redesigning some circuits, and it could be a couple months before new 1.13GHz PIIIs hit the street. By then, the Athlon should be at 1.2GHz or higher.

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