The Impact of Intel's MTH-Issue on the IT-Business


You might have heard it already; Intel reported another problem in combination with the cursed i820 'Camino' chipset two days ago. This time it's serious. Motherboard based on Intel's i820 chipset that are equipped with the optional component called 'MTH' = 'Memory Translator Hub' have been found to operate unreliably; possibly causing system crashes or hangs. This problem may 'only ' affect i820-systems that are equipped with the cheaper SDRAM instead of the very expensive and questionably performing RDRAM. The 'MTH' enables i820 to work with SDRAM and because systems equipped with i820 plus MTH are much more price attractive than i820 systems that are using RDRAM, MTH-systems used to be rather popular.

The Official Replacement For I820 Plus MTH And SDRAM Is I820 Plus RDRAM

Intel has now put the production of the 'MTH' chip as well as boards and systems equipped with this chip on hold. A new 'MTH', most likely called 'MTH2' that could replace the current 'MTH' chip will not be available until Q3/2000. Therefore Intel decided to replace motherboards equipped with an MTH chip with i820-motherboards that don't carry this chip. Those i820-motherboards will not be able to run SDRAM, which is why Intel will also replace the SDRAM of the MTH-motherboard owners with the much more expensive RDRAM.

Nobody Knows What's Going On

As found out yesterday, many people at Intel and a large number of Intel's customers like OEMs/Distributors/VARs/Resellers/System Integrators don't really know much about the general situation with MTH-motherboards and almost nobody has established a clear replacement policy yet.

540 Tons Of High Tech Crap

Intel knows that there are about 900,000 motherboards out there that are equipped with MTH chips. All those motherboard would HAVE TO BE replaced if the customers should demand it. 900,000 motherboards all brought to Intel's headquarter in Satan Clara would just about fit into 50 sea containers!!! We are talking of 540 tons of high-tech crap! Now obviously Intel does not want to be involved in a replacement situation of this magnitude. Therefore Intel and its OEM/distributors/... customers are trying to state, "not every board with MTH is affected ". However, at the same time nobody can guarantee that an MTH-motherboard will not suffer from sudden crashes or hangs at some stage in time. All the parties involved hope that not every MTH-motherboard owner will return her or his board, but the situation is similar to a recall of a car model. The car manufacturer informs you that it's rather unlikely that your brakes will fail, but they cannot guarantee flawless brakes unless you put your car in for a brake replacement. What would you do? Hope that your brakes will work fine, or make sure that your brakes will get replaced? I guess it's a simple question and why should anybody feel fine with a system that might fail and crash or hang any time?