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Intel pulls shipment of high-end server chip

900MHz Xeons in fall over mode

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Intel has suspended the shipment of a top of the range server processor after the discovery of a bug that could cause servers to crash.

Deliveries of Intel's Pentium III Xeon 900MHz processor with 2MB of level 2 cache, which began shipping in March, have been on hold since April, but Intel has only just confirmed the problem this week.

An Intel spokeswoman said that its customers are being offered a lower specification 700MHz processor as an alternative until a version of the chip free from the flaw becomes available in August.

She said the bug, which has only been observed in a lab environment and is not believed to have affected end users, might result in a server falling over but does not cause data corruption or any more serious problem.

The issue arises because of a "write failure to an internal processor task registry".

No other Xeon processors are affected by the problem which reports suggest arises from a flaw in the manufacturing process Intel used to make the particular chip.

900MHz Xeons are designed for four and eight way servers and, with the prospects of an early release of Intel's Xeon Foster processors looking slim, the availability of the part of the market is important in Intel's strategy of providing customers with a credible alternative to Risc-based processors. ®

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