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Intel to make major CuMine stepping change April 7th

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Chip giant Intel is set to make a major revision of its .18 micron Coppermine cores on the 7 April next, according to internal documents we have seen. The product change notification (PCN 904), dated the 27th of December last, will affect both SECC2 (Slot One) and FC-PGA (Flip Chip) packaging. Intel cites the reasons for the changes to improve product performance, allow the introduction of higher CPU frequencies, to change the microcode, and to correct errata discovered since it first started shipping the .18 micron Coppermine processors sometime towards the end of last year. The processor stepping change will change from A2 to B0, and the "first availability of post conversion material" is the earliest date its customers can expect to receive the new stepping. In the meantime, Intel customers are being warned that they will have to test the installation of the microcode update into the BIOS, test applications, and, in the document's own words, "verification that major operating systems continue to boot and run confidence tests". To make the change easier, Intel is providing some frequency unlimited and bus ratio unlocked samples to customers. That means that higher frequency samples "can be used to complete validation for lower frequencies". The parts that will be frequency unlimited and bus ratio unlocked have exciting names such as the 80526PZ533256, 80526PY550256, the 80526PY600256, and the 80526PZ600256 for Slot One, and oh to hell with this HTML, the 500MHz, the 533MHz, the 550MHz and two flavours of the 600MHz for the Flip Chip technology. In plain man's speak, this means that the chips are Naked Coppermines, Red in Tooth and Claw, and don't have those silly old numbers such as 733MHz, 800MHz, 667MHz and the rest printed all over them. According to the document we saw: "Higher frequency 100MHz FSB parts can be used to complete validation for lower frequencies. Similarly, higher frequency 133MHz FSB parts can be used to complete validation for lower frequencies. For example, 700MHz samples can be used to validate 550MHz frequency and 667MHz parts can be used to validate 533MHz." What happens between then and now? According to the Intelspeak in the document, "This [April 7] date is determined by the projected depletion of inventory at the time of the PCN publication. The depletion of inventory may be impacted by fluctuating supply and demand, therefore, customers should be prepared to receive the post converted product on this date, however, may continue to receive the pre converted product until the inventory is depleted." And what does this mean to the world+dog? Simply, that Intel will try and shift the old stuff out of the way as quickly as it can but can give no guarantee that people will get the new stuff on April 7th, because there may still be a lot of the old stuff round. ® See Also The Quick Guide to Register jargon Pentium III 800MHz makes debut in erratumnotbug charts

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