I had been surprised that Intel hadn't got back to me after my 'nasty' Monday article, which accused the Satan Clara based company of producing unstable 1.13 GHz processors. After realizing that my processor was obviously faulty and after finding out that another respected hardware tester had experienced similar problems as well, I considered it to be about time to get in touch with Intel. Thus I sent of the following email:
|Dear Intel PR department,as displeased as you may be with my recent review of the P3 1133 processor, as much you all know that I don't publish my findings of a highly unstable CPU light heartedly.Unfortunately the micro code update that I just received from Asus in form of several new BIOSes for my different motherboards didn't do the trick for me whatsoever. My 1133 MHz sample is utterly unable to finish any benchmark, while my 1 GHz part finishes each test completely reliably in the same platform. I am occurring system hangs on a highly regular basis, completely regardless which software I am running or which platform I am using, although I am even using a heavy duty full copper super duper heat sink.The other strange thing about this processor is the fact that it seems to request 1.8 V through its VID pins, not the official 1.75 V.Altogether my Pentium III 1.13 GHz sample seems to be a clearly faulty part. While this may explain my negative findings and while others seem to have samples that might perform reliably, I know of at least one other person that is also having instability issues with his P3 1133. This is obviously raising a serious question. Is there a major flaw in the validation process of the Pentium III 1133? Doesn't it seem likely that several or even many of those processors are just as faulty as mine, and currently shipping to OEMs? On top of that, I regard it as highly unprofessional to ship a faulty part to a reviewer in the first place. I would have expected that you (Intel PR) double check the reliability of any test sample you ship.I am sure you are aware of the gravity of this issue. It might cost Intel a major face loss if I should not be the only person with a bad 1.13 GHz processor.I expect that you start some kind of investigation and give a rather urgent statement regarding the issue described above. I doubt that you will get away with claiming that Thomas Pabst is unable to test a processor properly. Ignorance of this issue will also most likely backfire at you. I apologize for expressing this warning, but so far I am very displeased with the lack of response from Intel in regards to my negative findings.Sincerely,Dr. Thomas PabstCEO & Editor in ChiefTom's Hardware Guide Inc.San Jose, CA, USAwww.tomshardware.comCEOTG Publishing AGMunich, Germanywww.tomshardware.de|
I copied that email to several editors of other hardware publications. The only meaningful response came from Nico Ernst, editor of www.tecchannel.de . He told me that his 1.13 GHz Pentium III production sample, while running reliably, was also requesting 1.8 V instead of the 1.75 V that it is supposed to request from the motherboard. I consider this as rather disturbing. Isn't Intel claiming that the new CPU only needs 1.75 V? Why does the processor in reality run at 1.8 V? What was going on?