Defective Chip Hits HP PCs

AUCKLAND (04/14/2000) - Up to one-third of two models of Hewlett-Packard Co.

(HP) PCs sold here between May last year and February may fail because of a defective batch of chipsets.

Some models of the Brio 600 and VEi8 machines are rebooting randomly after 30 minutes.

Commercial channels support manager Andrew Bain says the normal failure rate on a motherboard is around 3 percent, but the models so far affected have a failure rate of 8 percent to 9 percent.

However, extrapolation of the failure rate on 18,000 units sold in Asia-Pacific (17,000) and Europe (1,000), suggests as many as 500 of the 1,500 sold in New Zealand may fail.

"We're (assuming) that all 1,500 fell within the serial numbers affected but that's a really big call," Bain says.

"The difficult thing for us to ascertain is whether the affected units fall within the serial numbers. We've replaced around 120 motherboards. There could be perhaps 500 units affected," he says.

"That failure rate in no way would justify product recall. From a customer satisfaction point of view, we are replacing the motherboards. We're managing this under warranty."

He says HP is over-stocking on parts and is watching the situation on a daily basis.

The Brio is a small office or home office machine and the VEi8 an entry-level commercial machine.

Bain says no one site has fallen over because of the problems.

"There's also the issue of how much is a hardware failure and how much is due to other things. We've got one reseller who had been racking up the hours trying to solve the problems before coming to HP."

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