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Intel denies Core i7 glitch

Bug rumors greatly exaggerated

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Intel was tilting at the internet rumor mill this morning as word circulated that its newly-launched Core i7 chips suffer from a technical glitch similar to the one that previously dogged AMD's Phenom and Opteron cores.

A recent Core i7 software programmer's manual update seems to indicate the chips have some Translation Lookaside Buffer-related issues. But Intel says it isn't so.

From the document in question:

In rare instances, improper TLB invalidation may result in unpredictable system behavior, such as system hangs or incorrect data. Developers of operating systems should take this documentation into account when designing TLB invalidation algorithms. For the processors affected, Intel has provided a recommended update to system and BIOS vendors to incorporate into their BIOS to resolve this issue.

Several months earlier, TLB bugs soured AMD's launch of its four-core Opteron chips despite the company's shouts it wouldn't manifest in real world conditions.

With inklings of similar Core i7 problems, cue jokes about Intel copying AMD's chip design so faithfully, they took the errors along too.

Intel spokesman George Alfs tells El Reg the incriminating paragraph relates to a Core 2 Duo issue which was fixed via a BIOS update before the launch of the Core i7. The programmer's manual was first written in April 2007 and hasn't been properly pruned.

Chipzilla said the original reporter didn't contact the company before reporting the alleged problem. ®

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