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More Problems for Intel's 820 Chip Set

Processor manufacturer offers to replace motherboards that may cause system failures.

Intel's chip set woes just won't go away. The chip maker has announced 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 says in a statement.

System noise resulting from the memory translator hub can cause PCs to
intermittently reset, reboot, and/or hang. Intel says 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.

Normally, Intel says, motherboards featuring the 820 chip set use a different memory based on Rambus's speedy memory interface technology. Systems featuring Rambus DRAM are not affected since they don't use the defective memory translator hub, Intel says.

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.

Intel says 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 who want to know whether their system uses the faulty component can
contact their computer maker for more information or can visit Intel's Web site
at www.intel.com.


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