Intel reveals Itanium 2 glitch

Intel disclosed an electrical problem Monday that can cause computers using its flagship Itanium 2 processor to behave erratically or crash.

Customers can sidestep the problem by setting the processor to run at a lower speed, said company spokeswoman Barbara Grimes, and Intel will replace the processor if customers want. The glitch only affects some chips, and then only in the case of "a specific set of operations in a specific sequence with specific data," according to Grimes.

A computer maker found the electrical problem in stress testing earlier this year, and Intel confirmed it was a problem with the chips, not the software or other parts of system design, Grimes said. The problem affects both 900MHz and 1GHz versions of the Itanium 2, code-named McKinley. However, it doesn't affect a faster 1.5GHz successor - called Itanium 2 6M and formerly code-named Madison - that is set for release in mid-2003, she said.

The problem has begun rippling through the computer industry. IBM said Monday that it has put shipments of its just-released x450 Itanium 2 server on hold until the glitch is fixed and is notifying customers that have the systems.

News source: CNet News

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