STOCKHOLM (05/10/2000) - Intel Corp. announced today that it will replace PC motherboards designed around its 820 chip set due to a faulty component that may cause system failures and -- under extreme circumstances -- even data corruption.
The faulty component, a memory translator hub, translates signals from SDRAM (synchronous dynamic random access memory) to the 820 chip set. Since the defective component began shipping only in November last year, systems shipped before that time are unaffected by the problem, Intel said in a statement.
System noise resulting from the memory translator hub can cause PCs to intermittently reset, reboot and/or hang. Intel said it has also been able to cause data corruption under synthetic stress testing in its laboratories.
Intel did not give any estimates of how many systems may be affected by the replacement call.
Normally, Intel said, motherboards featuring the 820 chip set use a different memory based on Rambus Inc.'s speedy memory interface technology. Systems featuring RDRAM (Rambus DRAM) are not impacted since they don't use the defective memory translator hub, Intel said.
The replacement call comes after Intel in February admitted that there may be a problem with the memory hubs in some of its 820 and 840-based motherboards.
[See "Intel Has More Chip Set Woes," Feb. 25.]Intel said it is working with motherboard and PC makers as well as distribution channels to inform users of the problem and to offer a replacement motherboard.
Users that want to know if their system uses the faulty component can contact their computer maker for more information or download the MTH ID utility from Intel's Web site at http://www.intel.com/support/mth/.
Intel, in Santa Clara, California, can be reached at +1-408-987-8080, or via the Web at http://www.intel.com/.