The story with Intel's latest paper-released hype(r)-product is not at all over yet. You certainly remember the report , stating that my test sample was faulty and concluding that other samples might be faulty as well. In fact Kyle Bennett happened to offer me a historically new joint-venture with his publication [H]ard|OCP on this, since Kyle also received a seemingly flaky 1.13 GHz Pentium III sample from Intel last month. Kyle had sent his CPU back to Intel, who in return sent an engineer over to him to find out more about his problems. Before the engineer arrived at Kyle's lab in Texas, he asked Anand Lal Shimpi from AnandTech for his obviously working sample and me for my faulty part as well. Therefore Kyle and Intel's engineer Gary had the chance to see three different Pentium III 1.13 GHz samples in action. I also supplied a Linux installation to run the Linux kernel compilation benchmark that I recently included in our processor evaluation suite. This kernel compilation was never able to run on my faulty 1.13 GHz sample, while it ran fine with any other Intel CPU, including overclocked Pentium III 1 GHz and 933 MHz samples.
Joint Venture Of [H]ard|OCP And Tom's Hardware!
Let me first express my gratitude to Kyle Bennett, who organized the testing of all those three 1.13 GHz Pentium III processors and who also conducted all of the testing. Without Kyle's efforts we might never have had the chance of shedding some light into this dubious story with Intel's latest top-crutch processor.
It turned out that the kernel compilation failed on all three Pentium III 1.13 GHz samples in Kyle's lab, right in front of the eyes of Intel's engineer. My CPU happened to be the flakiest of the three, as it failed in other tests on different platforms as well.
I actually had to force a response out of Intel's PR-department, which initially seemed to prefer burying this issue rather than talking to me. These are the messages I received in a telephone conference with Howard High, George Alfs and Gary the engineer:
- Intel is concerned about the issues Kyle and I were seeing with the Pentium III 1.13 GHz and their engineers are trying to duplicate our findings.
- So far Intel could not find any software that would fail on a Pentium III at 1.13 GHz, provided it runs 'within spec '.
- Other platforms besides Intel's specially modified VC820 motherboard are most likely a bad choice for use with the 1.13 GHz Pentium III, unless they were specially approved.
- Intel was indeed able to duplicate the failures Kyle and I had found when, as they put it, the CPU ran 'out of spec '. When I asked to give a bit more detail to this expression Intel admitted that the cooling solution supplied with the test samples were not good enough to ensure that the Pentium III 1.13 GHz is running at less than the allowed 62 degrees centigrade. My comment stating that it was neither hot in Kyle's or my lab and that we are both more than well capable of ensuring effective processor cooling was answered with the statement that the cooling solutions used in the 1.13 GHz OEM-boxes are rather massive indeed. After I told Kyle of Intel's strange remarks he tested the temperature of the CPUs and measured 37 degrees centigrade. I guess there's not much to add ...
- Intel still refrained from really admitting that my sample is faulty. The fact that my sample was the only one of the three that failed on Kyle's BX-platform was disregarded as a test that was conducted on an unsupported platform.
Please don't hesitate to make sure you get the full scoop of this joint venture between Kyle Bennett and me and go to http://www.hardocp.com now! Don't forget to come back though :)