The 450NX chip set was originally expected to be released next week, along with the Pentium II Xeon processor line. Intel began notifying OEMs of the errata, or bug, late last week, sources said.
The 450NX, designed for use in PC servers, will provide such capabilities as four-processor and higher multiprocessing, support for up to 8GB of RAM, intelligent I/O and multiple PCI channels for Xeon-based servers, sources said.
As a result of the bug, however, server makers and users will be limited to dual-processor Pentium II servers for a while longer. Some server makers have already scaled Pentium II systems beyond two processors, but those systems are based on more expensive, proprietary solutions.
Although Intel spends millions of dollars a year in processor testing and verification, errata are very common in semiconductors as complex as microprocessors. In fact, there is almost no way to avoid errata, regardless of the quality, money and time spent on prerelease testing and verification, according to Intel.
Intel officials, in Santa Clara, Calif., declined to comment on the errata or unannounced products in general. The company, however, acknowledged that many OEMs will announce broad support for Xeon-based servers next week and that these servers would be released over the course of the summer.