Intel Not Taking Any Chances with Core i7

NY Times reports on Intel's extensive testing of the Core i7 (Nehalem) processors which officially launched today. The company has invested over $500 million annually to test these chips in an effort to avoid any show-stopping bugs.

This cautious attitude comes from experience for Intel who recalled their Pentium chips in 1994 after a widely publicized bug in its floating point calculation unit.

After the Pentium flaw, Intel also fundamentally rethought the way it designed its processors, trying to increase the chance that its chips would be error-free even before testing. During the late 1990s it turned to a group of mathematical theoreticians in the computer science field who had developed advanced techniques for evaluating hardware and software, known as formal methods.

Even with such testing, Intel says it would be impossible to evaluate every possible scenario. As an additional safety net, Intel has included software in the Nehalem chips which can be changed after they ship.

Apple is expected to eventually adopt versions of Intel's Core i7 in future Macs.

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