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The new Pentium III is hot stuff. And that's for sure. Early reports from OEMs sampling Intel's stopgap 550MHz Pentium III (see Camino cockup panics Chipzilla) indicate that there are serious thermal issues with the new top-end desktop chip due for launch on May 16. "We've cooked several already," said one assembler who asked not to be named. Readers will recall that Intel introduced the new SECC2 package for the PIII in a bid to avoid the need for active heatsinks (fans to you and I). By removing the thermal plate from the original Slot 1 cartridge, Chipzilla reckoned that heat transfer from the processor die would be enhanced to the point where passive heatsinks would be more than adequate. But several PC makers have had their fingers burned (literally) by PIIIs and with the advent of the hot new 550MHz version, fans are back in fashion, big time. ®

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