Signal-11 cured with boxed Pentium -- beware "grey market" Pentiums

Signal-11 cured with boxed Pentium -- beware "grey market" Pentiums

Post by Mark Dav » Sun, 30 Jun 1996 04:00:00



Replacing the "grey market" P133 in my system with an Intel-boxed P133 has
cured the signal-11's I got when running my my machine at the rated speed
of the CPU.  An Intel customer service representative told me that I had a
"grey market" CPU when I told her that I purchased the part (from a
computer dealer) in foam in an anti-stat bag... without any accompanying
Intel documentation.

I've posted many times to comp.os.linux.setup about the signal-11 errors I
got during kernel compiles, when I ran my system at the full speed marked
on the CPU.  I found that my system was completely reliable, though, when I
ran it at the next speed below the CPU rating.  I had this problem
originally with a P120, and more recently with a P133.

When I asked Intel customer service about this, I was immediately asked how
I obtained the CPU... was it boxed, and did it come with any paperwork.
The representative I talked to specifically asked if I got any Intel
warranty paperwork with it.  She told me that Intel has been seeing reports
of "grey market" Pentium chips that may have a questionable heritage; in a
few cases, grey market chips have been re-marked with higher speeds than
they left the Intel factory. Also it is possible that these parts were
surplus from a PC manufacturer, and could have been mis-handled and damaged
by overvoltage, heating, or ESD before being pu back on the market.

Intel's position is they can only stand behind individually-sold CPU's if
they are delivered to the customer in shrink-wrapped Intel boxes, which
comes with Intel documentation and a warranty card.

I discussed this with the manager of the computer store where I bought the
first two Pentium chips.  While he argued that they get their Pentiums
through legitimate and reputable distributors, he agreed to exchange the
P133 CPU I bought from them (in foam in an anti-stat bag) for an
Intel-boxed unit.

And what do you know!  My system now is reliable at 133MHz.  No more
signal-11's, after many kernel compiles.  No more Win95 GPF's. (well, maybe
once every blue moon).

The moral: If your signal-11 problem can be cured by slowing down your
system, and you (or whoever built your system) used a "grey market"
Pentium, you have good cause to suspect the CPU to be the culprit.

Mark Davis