More than a few people noticed Intel's roadmap originally slated 45nm Penryn desktop quad-core processors for January, only to have the company change the hard launch date to a not-so-firm "Q1 2008." So what happened? In a series of interviews with Intel, the tale of quad-core Penryn began to unfold.
Intel engineers, speaking on background, detailed the problem. "Intel is very sensitive to mean time to failures. During a simulation, at high clock frequencies, we noticed an increase of potential failures after a designated amount of time."
He continues, "This is not acceptable for our customers that require longterm stability. It's a showstopper."
Previous reports of errata degrading the L2 and L3 cache performance were described as "false." Microcode and BIOS updates issued by Intel since November do not fix or address the "showstopper" bug affecting the launch of the quad-core Q9300, Q9450 and Q9550 processors.
The condition does not affect Xeon quad-core processors. Intel tells DailyTech this is because Xeon uses a different stepping than the quad-core processors, which fixes this simulated condition. The quad-core 45nm Extreme Edition processor launched in November is also unaffected.