The chip giant kept to its promise of a quick investigation and explanation by posting the confession on its Web site on Friday. It said that the anonymous discoverer of the bug was right in spotting a flaw in the way the chips flag an error when floating point numbers are converted to integer. No other processor is affected, according to the firm.
"When an application attempts such an invalid conversion, the hardware should return a uniquely defined value and signal this 'exception' condition. The erratum in the Pentium Pro and Pentium II processors is that the hardware returns the expected value, but may not signal the exception in all cases," Intel said in the explanation. "We have been working with industry software developers this week to help them with their own investigations to determine if their software applications would be affected by the flag erratum. We will continue this effort to work with software manufacturers as needed to integrate workarounds into their future product releases."