Advanced Micro Devices has identified about 3,000 single-core Opteron processors that could produce faulty results if used under particular circumstances.
The Sunnyvale, Calif., company on April 28 issued a notice informing users that a small percentage of Opteron x52 and x54 models—sold mostly in systems from Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Sun Microsystems—running in particular high-performance computing environments could produce inconsistent results, said AMD spokesperson John Taylor.
The chip maker has been working with OEMs and other partners to identify the chips, which were produced in 2005 and early 2006, and will help the users fix the situation or replace the chips for free.
AMD discovered the situation while testing the chips for a particular HPC customer, Taylor said.
Through the testing, AMD engineers found out that in a specific environment—running floating point-intensive code sequences, with high CPU temperatures and high outside temperatures—but that it was found only in tests, and not in production environments.
The issue was what AMD officials called a "test escape," where chips pass all the tests but are later found to have a problem.
Taylor said a screen has since been put into place to test all chips in this particular environment.
Taylor said the issue isnt a large one, but that AMD wanted to address it in such a public way to ensure that customers understand that the company will address such issues head-on and will do whats needed to correct any problems.
"We are treating it like a big deal," Taylor said. "We have fought hard to establish credibility in the enterprise … so were taking a very aggressive approach in addressing this."
Since launching the Opteron processor in 2003, AMD has become a more formidable rival in the x86 space to Intel, keeping ahead of its larger competitor in such areas as 64-bit processing in the x86 space and dual-core chips.
The moves are paying off. In the first quarter of this year, according to numbers compiled by Mercury Research, Opteron accounts for 22.1 percent of x86 chips shipped worldwide, up from 16.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2005.
Both HP and Sun offer a growing range of systems running the chip, and IBM also offers some Opteron-power servers.