Rock and A Hard Place

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I’m caught between a rock and a hard place, folks.

I’ve been advising against buying cC0s solely because there were enough problems with the cC0 1.13Ghz chip for Intel to recall it.

Let me briefly go over the history of this:

A number of review sites (Anandtech, HardOCP, Tom’s Hardware) found problems with their review processors. They ranged from blowing up all the time to not being able to run a test or two.. The one test that they all seemed to blow up on was a Linux compilation test. At least some of the tests ran fine at lower speeds.

After a number of initial denials by Intel and much discussion and testing by the review groups and Intel itself, Intel decided to recall the 1.13Ghz processor, but continue to use the cC0 stepping for lower-speed processors.

Now people overclocking these cC0 chips are going to wander into the same territory the review sites ran into. Will they all run into the same problems? Ptobably not, not even the review CPUs were all completely unreliable.

Will some of them, and if so, how many? I don’t know, and nobody outside of Intel knows (and maybe they don’t know precisely, either). But based on what little we do know, there is at least the possibility of this.

Obviously useless to ask Intel “How far can we overclock your new chips?” They won’t answer it.

So what do I do? If I don’t mention this, a number of you could run into the same problems the review sites did. On the other hand, it might be the case that these problems won’t generally happen, in which case, it’s a false alarm, people lose out on buying opportunities, and resellers lose out on sales.

Nor is this something testing a few CPUs can solve. If we go back to the review CPUs, some seemed apparently fine, some certainly were not.

The only way we find out if we have a real problem since Intel won’t say is for a lot of people to knowingly or unknowingly play guinea pig. I’m sure they will, and we’ll know in a month or two.

I think our responsibility has to be to err on the side of caution, and inform people of any reasonable possibility of problems. That leaves you free to either pay attention to it or ignore it. You don’t have that choice if we don’t mention it.

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