SAN JOSE, Calif. Intel Corp. is recalling an estimated 10 to 15 percent of the pre-release shipments of its latest desktop chip sets after it found a manufacturing flaw that could make some systems hang up or fail to boot. The company said the flaw does not affect currently shipping versions of the chips.
Intel is recalling selected lots of its 915 G/P and 925X chip sets, also known as Grantsdale and Alderwood, that were shipped before the chips were officially released on June 21. Some of the chips in those lots were found to have a manufacturing flaw in that some of the thin-film material was not properly removed from etch pads in the chips. The flaw could force some systems to hang or not boot properly.
"The good news is everything shipping today is just fine and this was just a manufacturing flaw, not a chip design errata," said an Intel spokesperson.
Intel will replace as many as 600,000 products at the motherboard level, said Joe Osha, an analyst with Merrill Lynch. The company may reuse the CPUs on those boards, he speculated.
"Investors should expect a one-time charge for Intel resulting from the Grantsdale miscue. We estimate that the total cost could be in the $75 million to $100 million range. That works out to about 1 point of gross margin," Osha said in a research report released onm Friday (June 25).
"The impact that Intel's problems have on the ramp of Grantsdale should be minimal. The problem has been caught early in the product ramp, which should lead to a week or two of disruption at the most," Osha added.
The chip sets are Intel's first to adopt the serial PCI Express interconnect, a factor that caused a few weeks delay in the schedule for getting the products out the door. They are also the first to support a new CPU socket that paves the way for 64-bit desktop processors.
The spokesman said the flaw was not related to the new features. In addition, the shipments are believed to be confined to OEMs and resellers and have not made their way into the hands of end users as far as Intel has been able to determine, the spokesman said.