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Broadcom awful quiet about server chip flaw

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Broadcom will not utter a peep about how many customers may be affected by a defective chip that caused Sun Microsystems to suspend shipments of two servers.

The problem, uncovered earlier this month by El Reg resides in the Broadcom 5704 chip. Sun found that the four onboard Ethernet ports on its low end V210 and V240 servers would send out corrupted packets from time to time and traced the problem to Broadcom's kit. As numerous readers pointed out, the problem is very rare, and Sun has done its part to help customers by sending out replacement gear. Overall, Sun users appeared very impressed with the company's response to the situation.

The same cannot be said for Broadcom. Companies such as Sun, HP and IBM use Broadcom gear, but it's unclear as to who is experiencing problems with the 5704 chip. That's because Broadcom won't tell anyone what is going on.

Broadcom did not respond to e-mail or phone requests from The Register. It did, however, issue a curt statement to The Orange County Register.

"This is an issue that has been identified and resolved with the customer, to their satisfaction. The underlying cause has been fixed. It is a fact of life in the semiconductor industry that technical problems in very complicated chips occasionally occur. When that happens, you respond as we have quickly and with your customer's best interests in mind," Broadcom said.

It's been a bad month for Broadcom. On top of the Sun snafu, its ServerWorks subsidiary also had a cock-up with the GrandChampion LE chipset. Can you say, "Quality Control?"

Maybe Broadcom will be more forthcoming following its second quarter earnings release, which will arrive later in the day. ®

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