PC makers fixing 'Coppermine' glitch

Compaq resumes shipments of 'Coppermine' PCs. IBM is still considering options, but Dell will also start shipping again Friday

The PC industry is getting back to normal after a glitch in Intel's latest Pentium III processor put a short hold on desktop PC shipments.

The glitch, which effects on/off functions of some PCs, caused Dell Computer and Compaq Computer to halt shipments of some Pentium III-based desktops. Dell, for example, halted shipments of its Optiplex GX 110 model. Dell officials said late Thursday, however, that the company had developed test for the erratum and will resume shipping the Optiplex GX110 on Friday.

Compaq said Thursday it also delayed shipment of Pentium III models for a brief time in order to test the erratum.

Compaq's tests saw the erratum crop up only in exhaustive on/off cycling of a PC, and only then about once in every 10,000 operations. No data loss was discovered as a result of the erratum, a company spokesman said.

Satisfied that users would not be adversely affected, Compaq resumed shipping Pentium III systems in a short amount of time, the spokesman said.

IBM said it has not yet shipped a PC using the latest version of the Pentium III, known as Coppermine, but the decision was not related to the chip problem. An IBM spokesman said he was not yet aware if the company was testing the chip. "We're working with Intel to get Coppermine up and running, but so far we haven't shipped Coppermine in any IBM products," said IBM spokesman Ray Gorman Thursday morning.

Coppermine is the latest version of Intel's Pentium III, launched October 25, with speeds of up to 733MHz. Intel, for its part, says it is working to eradicate the erratum, while it cooks up a new version or step of the existing Pentium III chip.

Users experiencing the on/off problem should contact their PC manufacturer, the company said.

Take me to the Intel PIII special