After the publication of the Pentium III 1.13 GHz article on Monday I was facing harsh criticism from several people who wrote off my moaning about the instability of Intel’s new processors as ’obvious bias’. Now while I am tired of replying to those kinds of pathetic accusations I do understand that it is hard to believe that Intel would indeed ship a seriously flawed processor product after being world renowned as the provider of the most reliable and compatible CPUs out there. At the same time I would also appreciate however, if the sensible ones of you remember that I don’t make waves of this amplitude light heartedly. My tests showed a serious instability of Intel’s new Pentium III and that is what I reported.
It Was Not The Micro Code Update
In the article from Monday I assumed that the instability issues which kept me from supplying you with benchmark data were caused by the lack of the latest micro code update for Intel’s new processor. I also read reviews of this processor from other publications and I was surprised to see that e.g. my respected colleague Anand Lal Shimpi from www.anandtech.com had indeed been able to run his 1.13 GHz Pentium III on different platforms without any major problems. I still guessed that Anand must have had the micro code update and so I waited patiently until this morning when I finally received several new BIOS releases from Asus that included this processor software patch.
I flashed the new BIOS onto the motherboards and started the 1.13 GHz system to finally finish my benchmark runs. The boards booted properly and this time without the error message complaining about the missing micro code update. I assumed that now my testing should be done smoothly, but it turned out that I had been wrong.
Again, each platform that I used crashed at several occasions with the new Intel processor. Often I was not even able to run Quake 3, or the system wouldn’t even boot to the Windows desktop altogether. Raising the core voltage had the effect that the system wouldn’t even reach POST. At the same time each system ran flawlessly with my Pentium III at 1 GHz.
It was obvious. The micro code update had never been the reason for my problems. Instead, my Pentium III 1.13 GHz sample was clearly a faulty part.