Intel Corp. today recalled its 1.13-GHz Pentium III processor on the very day that archrival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. announced that more than 10 PC makers will have models available with its 1.1-GHz Athlon processor.
The coincidence wasn't lost on the market. Bert McComas, founder of InQuest Research, Gilbert, Ariz., said the juxtaposition of the Intel recall and the AMD full-scale shipments of 1.1-GHz processors could only hurt Intel further. "It shows AMD's clear lead in processors. Intel obviously rushed out with the 1.13-GHz Pentium III before it was completely ready--just to be able to show something competitive with AMD."
AMD, Sunnyvale, Calif., and its PC partners--Compaq, Everex,Fujitsu Siemens, Gateway, Helwett-Packard, and IBM, among others--have 1.1-GHz Athlon models either available immediately or will shipping in the near future.
Regarding Intel's recall, AMD took the high road and refused to comment.
Intel, Santa Clara, Calif., said it was recalling its processor because lab tests had showed malfunctions when using certain kernels of the Linux operating system. An Intel spokesman said it appeared to be a problem of heat from the processor with the higher speed and some portion of the Linux code. He said the problem was sporadic and not all 1.13-GHz MPUs incurred the malfunction.
He said the problems hadn't been seen in the sister 1-GHz processor, which operates with a slightly lower temperature.
The recall problem actually is fairly minimal because so few of the 1.13-GHz processors have been shipped so far. Two PC makers, Dell and IBM, had showcased the part in models that had very limited availability. Intel said it is working with OEMs and would replace the faulty part or provide a refund that these companies could offer their customers.
Intel said it believed it would take several months to correct the problem. That gives AMD more time to ramp up its 1.1-GHz shipments. AMD president Hector Ruiz also told EBN that in the coming months his company will introduce Athlon chips with even higher speed grades, aiming for 1.5 GHz in the first quarter of 2001.