Transmeta bug may affect 13,000 Sony PCs

Fujitsu free of it, Hitachi still looking

Sony has confirmed problems with Transmeta's Crusoe processors shipped in two of its Vaio sub-notebook computers, despite assurances from Transmeta earlier this week that such an outcome was "unlikely".

Sony yesterday calculated that some 13,000 Vaio PCG-GT1 and PCG-C1 machines - out of 28,200 units shipped - containing 600MHz Crusoe TM5600 CPUs may fail thanks to a manufacturing glitch in the some chips which is said to affect the contents of its L2 cache.

However, unlike NEC, whose recall of Crusoe-powered PCs alerted buyers to potential problems with Transmeta's chip, Sony said it will not recall its own computers. Users who suspect their machines contain the defect should contact Sony, the company said, who will test the chip and replace it if necessary.

After NEC admitted yesterday it would recall 284 Crusoe-based notebooks (all with serial numbers 'OY*****1A'), Transmeta said that there was "no clear evidence" that the problem affected other Crusoe customers.

In addition to Sony and NEC, Hitachi and Fujitsu are both putting the finishing touches to Crusoe-based machines. Hitachi said it is testing its systems for signs of the bug. Fujitsu said its tests showed neither of its two machines was affected. One model uses the TM5400 processor, the other the TM5600, but running at 533MHz not the problematic 600MHz. One of Hitachi's models does contain a 600MHz TM5600 - hence the company's concern. ®

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