Cyrix Corp. has tightened up its CPU testing procedures after being forced to recall at least 10,000 of its 200MHz 6x86MX processors soon after their introduction. The problem has since been rectified, but the MMX-enabled processors, released in late May, failed after an undetermined length of time, according to two Cyrix distributors and Cyrix officials.
"The failure rate was higher than we'd like," said Steve Tobak, vice president of corporate and channel marketing at Cyrix, in Richardson, Texas.
The problem wasn't with the processors themselves but rather with the testing procedure. Processor testing is made up of a series of "screens," which test for various characteristics such as voltage and temperature threshold.
After receiving failure reports from distributors, Cyrix recalled the processors and added a more stringent parametric test screen to help ensure that the processors continue to function at the desired clock rate at a wider range of voltage settings, Tobak said.
Cyrix sells its processors mainly through distributors, not OEMs, which means the processors sit at the distributor until built into a system. Not many systems, it turns out, were sold with the afflicted processors.
"Virtually all of the processors never made it past the distribution point, and we've only received [a few] phone calls from end users," Tobak said.
All of the processors Cyrix is selling today have been tested with the added screen.