Compaq Computer Corp. said on Friday that its first Itanium-based server, announced in July, is still not ready to ship, despite word from Intel Corp. that it has resolved at least one problem that initially delayed the servers release.
Two weeks ago, Compaq, the top seller of Intel-based servers, disclosed that it had held off shipping its new Itanium server, the ProLiant 590/64, due to a performance issue it determined was related to the processor.
The new ProLiant is designed to support up to four Itanium processors, Intels first 64-bit chip that finally arrived on the market in May after several delays.
Compaqs support is crucial to Intels promotion of its new Itanium processor since the computer maker is the largest seller of Intel-based servers in the world, according to the latest study by Gartner Dataquest Inc.
While Houston-based Compaq refused to offer specifics on the problems involving its first Itanium server, a company representative did say its lab technicians noted "sightings" while putting the server through stress tests.
The term "sighting" is industry jargon used to denote less-than-expected product performance.
Compaq spokesman Tim Willeford said at the time that the sightings appeared in tests on both the ProLiant server and a third-party "white box" server, leading Compaq to deduce that the issue resided with the Itanium chip.
Intel, after being made aware of the problem by Compaq, said it determined that the issue was related to the BIOS used with the chip. A BIOS update was issued last week, and the chipmaker notifying news outlets this week that the issue had been resolved.
The BIOS is a key piece of software a processor utilizes when a computer is first turned on, and acts somewhat like an intermediary between the chip and the operating system.
While Intel, of Santa Clara, Calif., stressed that Compaq was the only customer to report the problem with Itanium, the chipmaker nevertheless said it is urging all manufacturers using the chip to update to the new BIOS.
Compaqs Willeford confirmed on Friday that the computer maker has received the updated BIOS last week, but was still not ready to begin shipping the server despite receiving the fix.
"Weve still have more tests we need to complete before we can release it," Willeford said. "Were hoping to begin shipments soon, but I cant say when."
When asked whether the server, announced last summer, would ship before the end of the year, he said, "I really dont have the answer to that."