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What Is New

November 1996

Tuesday, November 26, 1996

  • Several OEMs claim Klamath @ 233 MHz (now delayed till April 97) is no faster than current 200 MHz Pentiun Pro depending on the application
  • Intel says they are ramping up production in hopes of catching up with demand for Pentium Pro and forthcoming processors.
  • AMD expected to ship "tens of thousands" of it's K6 200 MHx chip in first quarter of next year, "millions" in second half of 97

Monday November 25, 1996

  • Katmai project from Intel was hinted at by a close source.
  • Fexible mother board architecture was also discussed. Quick Notes - Mother Boards

Friday November 22, 1996

  • For those of you that were asking, our new accounting program is running on a Intel VS440FX, Pentium Pro 180, 128 megs of RAM, 2.7 gig storage.
  • Most OEM pricing on CPUs is volatile. 200 MHz CPUs are now available.

Thursday November 21, 1996

  • Red Tag Sale On Line order up and running.
  • More Pentium Pro 180's arrive.
  • Cyrix and IBM CPU's still back ordered to distributors. ESC is not accepting any new orders for them at this time.
  • More on SEC (Single-Edge Contact).
  • In his keynote speech at Comdex Andy Grove predicts up to 1 Billion tansistors on CPUs by the year 2011. The Pentium Pro is currently at 5.5 million. Andy also predicts dramatic increases in processor speed for the next 15 years, up to 100,000 million intructions per second.
  • New single transistor SRAM patent allows slow (70-100 ns) chips to be built in up to 40% less die area.
  • Samsung to begin sampling 64 M-bit SDRAMS (66/83 MHz, later to 100/143 MHz) next month with production slated for Q1-1997.

Wednesday November 20, 1996

  • Working on new in-house accounting system.
  • Switching in-house netware server over to NT 4.0 server.

Tuesday November 19, 1996

  • Intel says Klamath cost to drop and performance increase with new Single Edge Contact (SEC) microprocessor card due out in early 1997
  • NLX Form Factor discussed in InfoWorld
  • Dispute regarding Pentium/MMX achitecture. Performance may slow due to MMX instructions being mixed with Floating Point instructions. The two types of instructions can't run simultaneously.

Monday November 18, 1996

  • Question of the Day: What voltage can I set a VRE CPU at on a SuperMicro P5STE?

3.48 is a valid range. JP11 is on 1 and 2.

Friday November 15, 1996

Intel Inside Update - Friday November 15, 1996

The discussions with Intel became rather heated today. Today's issue revolves around implied and expressed warranty. We agreed that the bulk of today's conversation would not go online today until after Intel has internally discussed the matter.

One of our client's faithfully purchased a boxed Pentium Pro 180 from us approximately one month ago. Unfortunately he had difficulty with NT and Win95 crashing. We replaced the SuperMicro Motherboard regardless of the fact this would have been the first bad SM board. This did not resolve his problem and his crashes continued. His contact with Microsoft suggested that the problem was within the Intel CPU. Therefore our client opened his warranty information, called Intel's 800 phone number as it instructs, and was told to take it back to the place of purchase for a replacement.

Excuse me? They won't handle it directly as stated on their warranty card?

Yes, Intel faithfully passed the buck. Such is faith. Such is a worthless warranty too. As a company that seems to have no product to sell (after all there are very few boxed CPUs available in the market) it only seemed a natural extension for us to wonder why Intel wouldn't replace their own CPU. Yeah right.

Today's heated discussion with several Intel representatives turned ugly after asking what we thought was clarification. The conversation started by asking them if this is their normal policy: "The end user must return to the place of purchase." This is a strange policy if you look at the warranty information that is included with the boxed CPUs. For your own protection we urge all of you to read this very carefully. It states:

Intel Pentium and Pentium Pro Processors
Three Year Limited Warranty

Limited Warranty

Intel warrants that the Pentium and Pentium Pro processors, if properly used and installed, will be free from defects in material and workmanship and will substantially conform to Intel's publicly available specifications for a perioD of three (3) years after the date the Pentium or Pentium Pro processor was purchased (whether purchased separately or as part of computer system).

If the Pentium or Pentium Pro processor which is the subject of this Limited Warranty fails during the warranty period for reasons covered by this Limited Warranty, Intel, at it's option, will:

  • REPAIR the Pentium or Pentium Pro processor by means of hardware and/or software; OR
  • REPLACE the Pentium or Pentium Pro processor with another Pentium or Pentium Pro processor; OR, if Intel is unable to repair or relace the Pentium or Pentium Pro processor.
  • REFUND the then-current value of the Pentium or Pentium Pro processor.

THIS LIMITED WARRANTY, AND ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES THAT MAY EXIST UNDER STATE LAW, APPLY ONLY TO THE ORIGINAL PURCHASER OF THE PENTIUM OR PENTIUM PRO PROCESSOR, OR PENTIUM OR PENTIUM PRO PROCESSOR BASED COMPUTER AND LASTS ONLY FOR AS LONG AS SUCH A PURCHASER CONTINUES TO OWN THE PROCESSOR.

Extent of Limited Warranty

Intel does not warrant that your Pentium or Pentium Pro processor will be free from design defects or errors known as "errata". Current characterized errata are available upon request.

This limited warranty does not cover any costs relating to removal or replacement of any Pentium or Pentium Pro processors that are soldered or otherwise permanently affixed to your system's board.

This limited warranty does not cover damages due to external causes, including accident, problems with electrical power, usage not in accordance with product instructions, misuse, neglect, alteration, repair, improper installation, or improper testing.

< strong>How to Obtain Warranty Service

To obtain warranty service for your Pentium or Pentium Pro processor, you may contact your computer system manufacturer in accordance with its instructions, or you may contact Intel.

To request warranty service from Intel, you should call Intel at 1-800-628-8686 during the warranty period during normal business hours (Pacific Time), excluding holidays. Please be prepared to provide: (1) your name, address, and telephone numbers; (2) proof of purchase; (3) a description of the computer system including the brand and model; and (4) an explanation of the problem. [Note: The Customer Service Representative may need additional information from you depending on the nature of the problem.]

The replacement processor is warranted under this written warranty and is subject to the same limitations and exclusions for the remainder of the original warranty period or one (1) year, whichever is longer.

WARRANTY LIMITATIONS AND EXCLUSIONS

THESE WARRANTIES REPLACE ALL OTHER WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. INTEL MAKES NO EXPRESS WARRANTIES BEYOND THOSE STATED HERE. INTEL DISCLAIMS ALL OTHER WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, INPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OF IMPLIED WARRANTIES SO THIS LIMITATION MAY NOT APPLY.

ALL EXPRESS AND IMPLIED WARRANTIES ARE LIMITED IN DURATION TO THE LIMITED WARRANTY PERIOD. NO WARRANTIES APPLY AFTER THAT PERIOD. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW LIMITATIONS ON HOW LONG AN IMPLIED WARRANTY LASTS , SO THIS LIMITATION MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.

LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY

INTEL'S RESPONSIBILITY UNDER THIS, OR ANY OTHER WARRANTY, IMPLIED OR EXPRESS, IS LIMITED TO REPAIR, REPLACEMENT OR REFUND, AS SET FORTH ABOVE. THESE REMEDIES ARE THE SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE REMEDIES FOR ANY BREACH OF WARRANTY. INTEL IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR DIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES RESULTING FROM ANY BREACH OF WARRANTY OR UNDER ANY OTHER LEGAL THEORY INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, LOST PROFITS, DOWNTIME, GOODWILL, DAMAGE TO OR REPLACEMENT OF EQIPMENT AND PROPERTY, AND ANY COSTS OF RECOVERING, REPROGRAMMING, OR REPRODUCING ANY PROGRAM OR DATA STORED IN OR USED WITH A SYSTEM CONTAINING YOUR PENTIUM OR PENTIUM PRO PROCESSOR. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OR LIMITATION OF INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, SO THE ABOVE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.

 

Now here is the shocker. According to one particular Intel representative, "The Intel Boxed Program is not intended for end users but as an OEM product, and the warranty is only vaild to distributors.." Say what?? That's certainly not how they presented the product in the past.

Ok, now let's get this straight. Intel is now stating that the Boxed Processors are only to be sold with a motherboard and that it is not an end user product. Hmm. Does that mean that the warranty information included with the product was fraudulently placed in the box? Did a disgruntled employee slip them in there when no one else was looking? Have all the Intel representatives forgotten that this program was targetted to the small OEMs who want to give the customer the comfort of knowing the product is not remarked?

Alright, maybe we miscommunicated. So we approached the topic in a different manner. Does Intel honor a three year warranty? NO, THEY DO NOT. According to Intel it is the reseller's responsibility to cover the product.

But wait a second, the marketing material strongly states Intel honors a three year warranty. Have all of us forgotten how to read? Intel even distributes a video that states that, we have been to dealer meetings where they clearly and repeatedly state that Intel covers a three year warranty. Well guess what folks. They won't.

Now, we have to stop at this point because the last Intel representative we spoke with asked us to wait before we put up the rest of the conversation on the web. But never to miss an opportunity for showmanship ... "you ain't heard nothing yet - maybe Intel is trying to kill the boxed CPU program! ... OR ... maybe that CPU you have in a box is worthless! ... OR ... "

Wednesday November 13, 1996

  • Comdex scheduling is almost final.
  • IBM and Cyrix CPUs not readily available until after Friday.
  • Rumors about a 220 MHz and 250 MHz CPUs from Intel has hit the press.
  • New web site (www.esc-tech.com) is being organized. This will have a T3 Line to accomodate the larger than expected on line transactions.
  • New database for tracking orders and RMAs is being reviewed.
  • New products from PC Power & Cooling are being reviewed.
  • AMI motherboards are still under review.
  • A new banner for linking to our web site has been released. It should be active Thursday afternoon PST. Please see it at Tom's Hardware. We will add it to our site later. If you are interested in using this banner please feel free to share it with anyone on the internet. Thank you.

Tuesday November 12, 1996

  • Busy as usual!
  • UPS Driver killed in route from the Bay area to the Sacramento station. We extend our condolences to his family.

Monday November 11, 1996

  • Veterans Day. Closed.
  • A couple of people still answered phones for the day.

Friday November 8, 1996

  • Intel Pentium Classic 133 MHz and 166 CPUs supply is tight. ETA end of November for the remaining stock.

Wednesday November 6, 1996

  • Distributors aren't quoting prices on memory this morning, especially 8x32 EDO. We'll have pricing for 8x32 EDO this afternoon.
  • We added more SuperMicro boards to the product line: P5STE, P6SNA, and P6SNS. The spec sheets are up, but the pricing isn't. We'll post the pricing as soon as we can.
  • The text only page is the most accurate price list this morning. Please look there for our most recent updates.
  • Fast Page Mode (FPM) memory prices jumped. Sorry.
  • Intel Boxed 133 and 166 CPUs availability tightening.

Tuesday November 5, 1996

  • Our thanks go out to the people in Iowa, who helped us solve the problem Federal Express was having with our packages marked "Standard Overnight". We hope the problem is solved.
  • Watch memory prices! There is an expected price jump in the FPM modules.
  • 4x32 EDO for $72 each (Hyundai only). Limited supplies.
  • Intel's Williamette (aka P68) project confirmed. Expected clock speeds of 333 MHz to 400 MHz with a shipping time frame of mid 1998. This product will represent the end of the P6 line.

Monday November 4, 1996

  • ASUS XT2P4's arrive as rev 1.4.

Friday November 1, 1996

  • Pentium Pro 180, 256K cache are ready to ship today.

October 1996

WHAT'S NEW

This page displays an up-to-date listing of changes in the industry, at ESC, and to our sites. We'll place notices here regarding new product releases, product updates, schedule changes, or problems and work-arounds that may affect all customers. When problems reported by our customers get fixed, we'll place a notice here.

Monday October 28, 1996

  • Pentium Pro 200 Mhz and Pentium Pro 180's arrive.

Friday October 25, 1996

  • ESC representatives met with Microsoft. Microsoft re-confirmed what Intel said that the USB driver will be for the exisiting camera only.

Thursday October 24, 1996

  • Pentium Pro 180's availability is tightening, and price is starting to increase. (4pm PST). If you're a reseller, this is a product you'd better watch closely in the next few days. We expect all CPUs to dry up.
  • ASUS XP55T2P4 rev 1.4 delayed. ASUS says that the revision is only going to address difficulties with a particular power supply (not one that ESC carries). They are no longer estimating time of release. ASUS says their policy remains that they "support, but do not guarantee" use with respect to the IBM/Cyrix 6x86 processors. The current shipping revision 1.3C works with the P166+ rev 2.7 or more recent.
  • Layne is working on the on-line ordering form. The format is there, but not all the products are listed.
  • The ESC technical discussion group is thriving. Keep asking and answering questions!

Wednesday October 23, 1996

  • Availability of the Intel 133 and the 166 is extrememly tight.
  • Intel told an ESC representative that they are going to honor their CPU price drop date of November 1, despite availability problems.

Monday October 22, 1996

  • IBM and Cyrix CPU's on allocation. Few are available.
  • ESC adds AT form factor cases as per your request.

Thursday October 17, 1996

  • We're still working on the web sites. Please, let us know what you'd like to see on the sites. We added the ASUS TVP4 to the specification sheets, as you requested.
  • ASUS P/I - XP55T2P4 rev 1.4 still not released from ASUS.
    We were notified this morning that ASUS has not shipped the rev 1.4 of the XP55T2P4 yet. We were told we would receive them late next week. We apologise for any inconvience to those who are waiting.
  • Most frequent topic of the day: USB support
    The HX, VX, and Natoma chipset boards are all in the lineage of USB. However, this does not mean that the USB is enabled in these boards. USB is an emerging technology and as with any developing idea, it's difficult to know what the end product is going to be until we actually have it in our hands. There may be further revisions to chipsets and headers while the drivers and supporting devices are being developed.
    Some boards are shipping with USB headers. We will not know if these headers will function properly until the final product is available. Other boards are marketed by manufacturers as USB supported because they have the SU093 spec on part of the B0 chipset. Intel says that these boards support the current projections for USB. An aftermarket add on card are expected to enable USB on these boards.
  • For Your Information: Between 9 and 11pm there were over 6,000 unique hosts on our einsteinscomputer.com site. (65,000 requests on our text only file!) 70.5 % of the people were using Netscape; 26.6 % Microsoft Explorer; 1.5 % Lynx; 1 % IBM; and the remaining were Netsurfer, OmniWeb, Slurp, Mosaic, and GNN. Interestingly, 62.6% were using NT (10.3%), Win 95 (40%) or Windows (12.3%), while the remaining 37.4% were using Linux, AIX, SunOS, OS/2, and System 7.

Wednesday October 16, 1996

  • Both web sites are no longer mirrored. www-esc-ca.com is now designed with the support site. http://web.archive.org/web/19961104072901/http://www.einsteinscomputer.com/ will house the marketing materials, specification sheets, and pricing. It will house the on line ordering when we have determined the best encryption for the site.
    If you were caught during the changes we were making, you may have ended up in a loop between the two sites. We apologize for the inconvenience. We started Tuesday evening on the upload and by Wednesday morning we had to change the sites due to incompatibilities between the operating system and Frontpage. We will be adding and deleting pages for a couple of more days. Any bookmarks should be updated and re-verified after Saturday October 26,1996.
  • Discussion area, suggestions and feedback forms were corrected.

Inside Intel Update - October 16, 1996

Boxed Intel Pentium Classic 166MHz CPUs are soon to be part of the Intel Black hole. In fact watch for continued shortages on all Boxed CPUs. The Pentium Classic 133MHz is first in line to enter the Intel Black hole.

Which reminds me of a joke the dealers played on Intel at yesterday's dealer meeting.

Intel asked this question:

What are you NOT going to do after leaving the meeting. Almost half the dealer's replied Answer C. That answer stated "go out and upgrade workstations to the Pentium 133". Cute. I don't think Intel was looking for that answer.

Tuesday October 15, 1996

  • Met with Intel. Received updates on benchmarks, MMXTM, and Providence motherboards. We also did our best to pull information from them about the Klamath. Because of non-disclosure agreements we were very cautious. We can confirm that the L2 cache will not be on the CPU package (therefore no socket 8) and a special "daughter" card will be used. They are also struggling with the amounts of cache and the upgradability.

Inside Intel Update - October 15, 1996

Lora and I went to an Intel satellite training program. During the program dealers were asked to fax in questions. Right on cue, one of the dealers sent in the question on everyones' mind : "Where are all the Pentium Pros?" The Intel Representative read the question and without batting an eye said "The Pentium Pro 200s are available" ... The Sacramento theater of dealers reacted emotionally with a loud boo. Within two minutes of that statement a different Intel Representative said "We seem to be receiving faxes about the availability of Pentium Pro 200s. It is a question we get asked a lot. We suggest that you consider the Pentium Pro 180s". What a laugh.

It does get better though. The Pentium Classic 200 MHz is suppose to be introduced in the Boxed Program on November 1, 1996.

On our exit, we talked with a very nice gentleman within the program. I said directly to him: "Don't lie." and he said "Ok" and he threw up his hands and replied "There aren't any!" Actually at that point another Intel representative said "What do you mean there aren't any?" Soon there were several Intel Reps around. These guys are engineers, they aren't the sales people. And they didn't know there was an availability problem ! Apparently the joke at Intel is "If you want to know what's going on at Intel, read PC Magazine." Now we know that isn't exactly true, but hey it's a funny joke.

Ok... so for clarification on "There aren't any!" Let's continue. According to a different representative - Intel has approximately 50,000 units per month requested. The demand increased to 75,000 units. From the time Intel has to fill the channel that back order status takes them approximately 12 weeks. Therefore if they are just discovering there is a problem, oops (ie. the Corporate Commit Program kicks in and tada .. all the dealers in the retail channel are on the B list - or is that F list , where F stands for Fat Chance. I can't use John Dvorak's B-list joke of B list means "Back of the line Buddy" Oops... I just did).

Now are there problems with the Pentium Pro? Yes. Of course. These errata though are publicly known and statistically insignificant. Therefore that isn't the reason for the problems on availability. In fact, Intel has a BIOS update utility which loads a 2K "patch" on the pentium pros. So if you do discover a problem, you can get this patch. No big deal. Certainly not enough to pull the plug on the project.

Lora and I continued to talked to several of the Intel engineers that work for the Intel Processor Dealer program. These guys were honest and straight forward. Considering they are under intense pressure from Intel to word things carefully (ie. wordcraft), and considering the Intel Non-Disclosure Agreements, these guys did a marvelous job. Two of the gentlemen who were very knowledgable about the Klamath, MMXTM, and the difficulties with shrinking CPUs were direct about heating issues and the amount of current required. Absolutely no specifics entered into the discussion. We did ask, though, about how the daughter card was going to work with the Klamath CPU, the amount of cache on the daughter card, and the upgradability of units (ie 256K version versus a 512K version or greater .. because don't forget that a 1 Mb Cache can fill up quickly under NT 4.0). The use of a CELP design is definitely out. There will be no "sockets". And by the way if you didn't have it figured out, no socket 8 for the Klamath either. That's about all that can be said with certainty.

Monday, October 14th

  • This customer support web site was created.
  • Lora is back from Vacation
  • E-mail was corrected. We are answering the newest messages first. We will be answering the old messages throughout the week. Hopefully no one will be forgotten. We know we lost 85 messages from the hard drive crash.

Tuesday October 8, 1996

The web site www.esc-ca.com was down for 9 hours from just prior to midnight until 9 am PST.

Continued Pentium Pro nightmare! We certainly appreciate everyone who has maintained a great attitude about a terrible situation. If you'd like more information, please visit our story titled Inside Intel.

Inside Intel Update - October 8,1996

Intel is still not shipping Pentium Pro 200 MHz CPUs to the retail channel.

Despite countless attempts we are not receiving product. Everyone is asking that we supply them with a time frame. Unfortunately this is not possible. Every date we have been given for a time-frame has come and gone.

Consumer frustration is directed toward the resellers and not Intel. This is an interesting twist. One of our customers cancelled his order placed at $650 so that he could buy it elsewhere at $790. He then wanted us to pay the difference. He said he couldn't wait and we said we were not interested in overpaying for a product. We accepted the cancellation but we do not understand why he chose to allow Intel to spend his money. Intel is definitely withholding product in order to drive the market. It is your choice as to how you react. In our opinioin staying calm and level headed is the best strategy.

Distributor frustration has continued to build. According to one supplier, 2000 orders (some with several hundred units of CPUs on one order) were in line. The supplier was only given 40 units for the month of September. That hardly satisfies anyone.

Some distributors are starting to bundle the Tray CPUs ( aka brokered) and the Intel motherboards. They have increased the bundled price beyond reason.

Intel is suggesting that resellers start to market Pentium Pro 180s to the end users. Considering that the demand is for the Pentium Pro 200, this should be a neat trick.

So here is our attempt (smile).

  1. The performance difference between the 180 and 200 is approximately 10 percent.
  2. There is about a 20 percent increase in performance between the Pentium Classic 200 and the Pentium Pro 180. Therefore, the price/performance ratio favors the Pentium Pro 180.
  3. To add to the incentive, a price drop is expected. Look for about a $50 decrease sometime this week.
  4. One more added benefit is that they have plenty of stock (for now).

Please take a "convincing" look at this table supplied by Intel (for more information please see Intel's web site):

Processor *Price SPECint95 BAPCo's SYSmark NT
Pentium Classic 166 $392 4.5 380
Pentium Classic 200 $610 5 420
Pentium Pro 180 $510 7 600
Pentium Pro 200 Highest Bidder 8 650

*Price is for the Intel Brokered processors from October 8, 1996. Price does not include the fan.

If that didn't convince you, try this one: You can purchase a Pentium Pro 180 plus an ASUS motherboard for approximately the same price as buying just the Pentium Pro 200 MHz CPU.

Conclusion

  1. You can get much more power by purchasing the Pentium Pro 180 and motherboard than the Pentium Classic and matching motherboard (duh).
  2. You can get approximately the same power from a Pentium Pro 180 system relative to the Pentium Pro 200 and spend less money.

Monday October 7, 1996

Lora called in to say that she doesn't miss all the phones ringing. Hey now!

Greater price fluctuations for memory. Some suppliers are still trying to hold prices higher than others. We've tried to hold prices on EDO memory through our purchasing power.

Configuration of more workstations to attach to the new Notes database. Changed several machines to Windows 95 and 32-bit Netware client software .

Correction of some of the links and images on the web site. Removed several "dead" files that were no longer useful. Started to build the technical bulletin files.

Saturday and Sunday October 5-6, 1996

Two Microsoft NT 3.51 servers were added to the intranet. One houses the Lotus Notes database to help track product literature and technical issues. The second is an extension of the web site.

Lotus Notes Server Configuration (notes12.esc-ca.com)

Intel TC430HX Motherboard
Intel Pentium Classic 150 MHz
128 Mb True Parity Dynamic RAM
1.6 Gb Hard Drive
PCI video card
4x CD-ROM

Web Server 01 Configuration (www.esc-ca.com)

ASUS P/I-P55T2P4 Motherboard
Intel Pentium Classic 166 MHz
64 Mb Non-parity Dynamic RAM
1.6 Gb Hard Drive
PCI video card
4x CD-ROM

IP addresses assigned and changed for 20 different computers. This should help our sales team bring up the internet web site while talking to you on the telephone.

Friday October 4, 1996

Microsoft FrontPage editor
Since I had to start from "scratch" on the web site (due to the crash) I changed the editor to frontpage, added the new logo and fixed most of the pricing to be what we were really selling things for ! Good thing most of our site was backed up. Email is still not functioning properly.

Thursday October 3, 1996

Lora goes on vacation
And if that isn't bad enough, one hour after she is gone the WD 1.6 Gb drive that holds the email decides to leave on vacation too. All messages from Sept 23 forward were lost.

Monday October 1, 1996

ASUS P55T2P4 Rev 3.0 arrive
That says it all!

September 1996

Friday September 27, 1996

Memory prices hold
ESC held memory prices for two days. That's at least better than having them increase.

New BIOS update for TC430HX

Intel has a BIOS update for the TC430HX. (Tucson)

Should Micron manufacture memory for ESC?

We've been discussing having Micron maufacture memory for ESC. If they do, it would be under their division SpecTech, and the SOJ's would be marked that way too. Please, let us know what you think.

Thursday September 26, 1996

What's going on with memory?
Last week distributors started increasing their prices and literally went into a panic. They stopped giving price quotes and shut down in the morning. Prices spiraled upward. Today, our reps stopped giving quotes. They're said that some distributors are decided to drop their prices, and they expect that theirs will also go back down "soon".

The distributors are buying from each other, and that's just increased everyone's prices. It happened approximately 7 weeks ago too. At that time, memory dropped a few days after it started. This time we've been told that distributors and manufacturers are going to increase prices for about two weeks, level them off for 4th quarter, then drop them after the new year.

If you aren't in a rush, don't let the industry determine when you buy. Take your time.

Intel update:
Our Intel Boxed representative notified us today that yes, Intel underestimated the immediate popularity with the Pentium Pro 200 MHz. Intel expects the supply problem to last through this year. They are going to continue filling distributor's orders and hopefully, with a conservative approach all will go more smoothly. Intel projects that 80% of the CPU market will be Pentium Pros by the end of 1997.

Intel will begin shipping the "Boxed PR440FX" approximately the middle of November. We can hardly wait to see their dual processor. Providences currently on the market are seed boards, not the final product.

ASUS rev 3.0 update:
Distributors and ASUS are unsure about when the ASUS P/I-P55T2P4 and the XT2P4 rev 3.0 are going to ship. We'll let you know as soon as we see them.

What revision of the IBM P166+ do you have?
3.71

Inside Intel Update - September 26,1996
Our Intel Boxed representative notified us today that yes, Intel underestimated the immediate popularity with the Pentium Pro 200 MHz. Intel expects the supply problem to last through this year. They are going to continue filling distributor's orders and hopefully, with a conservative approach all will go more smoothly. Intel projects that 80% of the CPU market will be Pentium Pros by the end of 1997.

Intel will begin shipping the "Boxed PR440FX" approximately the middle of November. We can hardly wait to see their dual processor. Providences currently on the market are seed boards, not the final product.

Wednesday September 25, 1996

Conversation with Intel:
We called Intel this morning to get a little more information about their current CPU situation. Here's what we found out.

Intel CPUs

Boxed and brokered Pentium 100 MHz
Intel is not accepting any new order; those back ordered should be filled the beginning of next year.

Boxed and brokered Pentium 120 MHz
Intel is not accepting any new order; those back ordered should be filled the beginning of next year.

Boxed Pentium 200 MHz
Intel's boxed 200 MHz will be released the 3rd or 4th week of November.

Boxed and brokered Pentium Pro 200 MHz
Intel is still accepting new orders, however there is a 3 week delay before they are filled and shipped to distributors.

So any Boxed or brokered Pentium Pro order that we place with our distributors will be filled 3 weeks after that distributor places their order with Intel. A long wait, but that's more hopeful than we'd been told before.

Luckily, we've found a few distributors who have brokered CPUs. We are still only accepting two Pentium Pro orders a day, and will remain that way until the supply increases.

Our appreciation goes out to Betsy, who helped us considerably.

What about 6x86 availability and pricing?
We were told this afternoon that availability of the P150+ and lower is extrememly slim. Cyrix and IBM are discontiuing them, and are going to focus on the P166+ and the P200+. SGS is going to pick the lower speeds up under their name come October. Many companies have these CPUs on backorder until 1st quarter of next year.

Why were the websites and email down yesterday?
The local service provider was changing routers. We hope this new change will improve the access to our www.esc-ca.com site.

Inside Intel Update - September 25, 1996
We called Intel this morning to get a little more information about their current CPU situation. Here's what we found out.

Intel CPUs
Boxed and brokered Pentium 100 MHz Intel is not accepting any new order; those back ordered should be filled the beginning of next year.
Boxed and brokered Pentium 120 MHz Intel is not accepting any new order; those back ordered should be filled the beginning of next year.
Boxed Pentium 200 MHz Intel's boxed 200 MHz will be released the 3rd or 4th week of November.
Boxed and brokered Pentium Pro 200 MHz Intel is still accepting new orders, however there is a 3 week delay before they are filled and shipped to distributors.

So any Boxed or brokered Pentium Pro order that we place with our distributors will be filled 3 weeks after that distributor places their order with Intel. A long wait, but that's more hopeful than we'd been told before.

Luckily, we've found a few distributors who have brokered CPUs. We are still only accepting two Pentium Pro orders a day, and will remain that way until the supply increases.

Our appreciation goes out to Betsy, who helped us considerably.

Tuesday September 24, 1996

Why haven't you updated your "What's New" page?
When we started this page, we never expected such an overwhelming response. We fell behind because we're on the phone more and more each day. Thank you for your support.

New Federal Express Powership 2 installed
Federal Express representatives set up our new shipping machine. Now, we'll be able to track by order number.

Federal Express late with shipment from distributor.
Unfortunately, Fed Ex was extrememly late with our shipments today. As of 2pm they still hadn't arrived.

Prices continue to increase
Memory prices contiune to increase. We apologise to everyone for having to do so.

I had the operator break in to your phone system, and there was no answer.
We are on the Centrex phone system, which internally rolls numbers to an open line. The 800 number rolls onto phone numbers 47 to 82. It rings to one station, which then transfers it to the first available line. If you have the operator break in, the phone never transfers from the first station.

Monday September 23, 1996

Lousy day.
Prices are incresing quickly, incorrect product coming in, suppliers are not shipping, all distributors seem to be in a panic.

What's happened to memory prices?
Our distributors notified us that they are going to increase memory prices a few dollars each day for the next two weeks. After that they are going to level the price off and hold that new price through fourth quarter. We aren't sure where the new pricing will fall, but we do expect that the memory prices will drop after the new year.

ASUS XT2P4 and T2P4 rev 3.0 update
Today, ASUS said that distributors should start seeing the rev 3.0 ship after Oct 1. Hopefully, we'll receive the new revision soon after that. The new revisions include Intel's changes for MMX technology, along with use with 6x86 CPUs. Until these boards are released the only board we carry that is capable of handling the heat produced by the Cyrix/IBM 6x86 is the Freetech 586F63T.

Friday September 20,1996

What is the current status of the Pentium Pro availability?
Boxed Pentium Pros are not available. We've been told that the ETA is mid October, however, other suppliers say that we will not see any more until the new year.

Brokered Pentium Pro CPUs are available. Please call for pricing.

In house discussion: How many conversations can you carry at once?

We decided that we're carrying on a minimum of four conversations at once, minus the jokes (LAYNE!).

Thursday September 19, 1996

What's wrong with your phone system?
We added two more lines, and they were turned on before the phone company came over to hook them up for us. We apologise for any inconvience. At least, we have two more lines for you now.

What version of the IBM CPU are you receiving?
We're looking for a rev 2.7 or more recent. We receive 3.3V and 3.5 volt, and cannot specify when ordering.

Wednesday September 18,1996

Memory prices suddenly increased.
We were notified of a drastic price change in the middle of the day. Our cost continued to increase throughout the day, forcing us to change our prices. We don't know when the trend will end.

Tuesday Sept. 17, 1996

What are the most common motherboards that people are buying?

Results compiled from the last 150 motherboards sold (approximately last two weeks)

Pentium Classic Motherboards

     FX Chipset             Intel Advanced/EV, Advanced/AS
                            Tyan Titan III

     HX Chipset             ASUS P55T2P4 and ASUS XP55T2P4
                            Intel's NEW TC430HX (Tucson)

     VX Chipset             FreeTech 63T

Note:  The FX Chipset motherboards are no longer available from ESC Technologies

Pentium Pro Motherboards

     Single Processor       Intel VS440FX (Venus) and SuperMicro's P6SNE
                            ASUS P6NP5

     Dual Processor         SuperMicro P6DNF

Which CPU are people buying?

     Number One           Intel Pentium Pro 200           (40% of sales)

     Number Two           Intel Pentium Classic 133       (33% of sales)

     Number Three         Intel Pentium Classic 166       (10% of sales)

     Number Four          IBM and Cyrix P166+             (5% of sales)

Which motherboards have the greatest number of problems?

Motherboard returns listed by manufacturer over the last three months.

            Tyan              25 percent

            FreeTech          10 percent

            Intel             ONLY 3 boards

            ASUS              ONLY 1 board

            SuperMicro        ABSOLUTELY NONE !

The most common reason for returns:

            Tyan              Floppy and HDD controllers failed
                              Bad memory sockets (no memory would be recognized)
                              BIOS related / unstable under NT
                              Physical damage (fan seized and burned unit)

            FreeTech          Cyrix P166+ destroyed model 586F62
                              Incomplete Flash BIOS during upgrade
                              Physical damage during shipping
                              Bad PCI sockets

            ASUS              Physical damage during shipping

            Intel             Sound stopped functioning
                              Clock/Time not functioning properly
                              Video on Advanced/ AS stopped

These results do not represent an industry wide trend.

  This is non-scientific and should only be used as a reference.

Inside Intel Update - September 17, 1996
We have continued our search for genuine Intel Boxed Pentium Pro 200MHz CPUs. According to the first Intel salesperson we spoke with this morning there isn't an availability problem. What planet does she live on? The exact quote was : "Are you sure you are using the correct part number?"... No duh woman!! We contacted EVERY distributor on Intel's list. After being laughed at, lied to (product was shipped, oh I mean it's on backorder), left numerous unanswered voice mail messages and flat out hung up on, we've come to the conclusion there are very few Pentium Pro 200s for the boxed program and they are being held. Intel IPD representatives are out of the country and haven't returned our calls. An unknown salesperson plus Trish, Michelle, and Shawn (very nice people by the way) were called before 8 A.M. today. Here's the rumor and not confirmed: Intel is expecting financial problems next quarter. They are over extended and their financial reports will not be good next quarter. Therefore they are going to get what they can now. Considering their stock shot up yesterday, someone that started that rumor must really hate Intel. Then again, if they stalled the Pentium classic market with the MMX talk and didn't produce enough Pentium Pros - well, you decide. My money is that Intel is squeezing the market. After all, fourth quarter is very near. According to another source "Intel is on Corporate Commit (CCP)" This is a red-alert status concerning restricted availability of product. The term "CCP" is Intel's internal code for "Oopss".

Monday Sept. 16, 1996

Boxed Pentium Pro CPUs are not available from major suppliers. They are quoting backorders of the middle of October to mid November. Prices for brokered versions were going up hourly. Dire predictions in this industry have always occured but the rumor mill says the shortage is through the end of the year. This could be a marketing squeeze before fourth quarter or a foul up on Intel's part. Some suppliers have said there is a problem with the CPUs. However it shakes out, when product becomes available we will let you know.

Tyan motherboards were officially dropped from our product line. Extra product left over after physical inventory will be made available at a reduced price, without tech support. Extra product includes Tyan Titan III and Titan Pros.

Friday Sept. 13, 1996

Why is your fax machine so busy?

As we have found with the voice lines, our fax line is also becoming increasingly busy. We are expecting to add new lines next week. If you know what you need to order this is the most effecient method for placing your order. Thank you for your patience.

Why can't I use your PS/2 mouse connector on my SuperMicro motherboard?

SuperMicro PS/2 mouse header is different from ASUS, FreeTech and Tyan's header. The SNE and the DNF use different connectors too.

Federal Express Flight from the East coast was delayed due to mechanical difficulties. This means all of the Pentium Pros from the Indiana Warehouse will not arrive today. Sorry.

The box engineer on Wednesday explained that to qualify for him to design a special box we would have to agree to 12,000 units. We smiled and samples of the new boxes for Federal Express arrived this morning. We'd like to thank the Sacramento Federal Express Office for all of their help.

Thursday Sept. 12, 1996

Why haven't you answered my email?

The Arizona web site is down and the amount of email traffic on the "esc-ca.com" server has increased dramatically. We are going as fast as possible.

Arizona Web Site is down

Hackers have attempted to penetrate the security systems at our Internet Providers web servers. Our "einsteinscomputer.com" site will be down until further notice.

Birchtek fans were tested on the Cyrix CPUs. After 5 hours the motherboard and CPU were still COLD. Please compare this to the 5 minutes and the burning sensation for a typical ball bearing fan. These Birchtek fans are nice.

Y.C. Firm competes worldwide

Business to Business Journal published a front page article featuring ESC Technologies.

PC Magazine September 24, 1996 issue

The feature story about the Pentium Pros and Pentium microprocessors uses the phrase "Pentium Classic". Sound familiar?

Also from PC Magazine, RAM prices hit bottom

Most common question for the day.

I want a motherboard which supports the Cyrix CPU. What is available?

The Tyan Titan III and the FreeTech 63T are the two products which we know work with these CPUs. Since we do not carry the Tyan Titan III any more, you may want to find a company that still has stock.

Wednesday Sept. 11, 1996

A Federal Express box engineer came to our facility. We asked that he design boxes to better fit the SuperMicro motheboards as well as boxes for the RAM.

Most common question for the day.

Do you carry the replacement BIOS chip for the Tyan Tomcat I/I+?

We no longer offer the Tyan Tomcat motherboards. Please call Tyan at 408-956-8000.

We added the Venus motherboard with sound to our product line.

We dropped the Tyan Titan III from our product line.

Tuesday Sept. 10, 1996

UPS representative and ESC discuss Maxiship and boxes supplied by UPS.

Most common question for the day.

Aren't the Cyrix and IBM processors the same?

Yes.

Monday Sept. 9, 1996

We added the IBM 6x86 Microprocessors to our product line.

Monday Sept. 9, 1996

We added the IBM 6x86 Microprocessors to our product line.  

Inside Intel

August, 1996

Formerly: EMPTY SEALED PENTIUM PRO BOXES

Where are all those Pentium Pros?

Every once and awhile strange things happen in this industry. Years ago a hard drive manufacturer was doing poorly. To increase the apparent shipments of product, the company started to ship bricks instead of hard drives.

This morning we opened up two Intel Sealed Boxed Pentium Pro Processors. Instead of processors we found Hewlett Packard Ink Cartridges. They weren't even new cartridges.

After calling Intel and being bounced around, a poor female tech support person took my "Ooooo Come on... you are telling me Intel isn't going to investigate?" According to her, I needed to go back to the distributor. If the distributor didn't reimburse or supply the processors, then Intel would consider it theft at that point.

What is Intel's problem?
Someone has stolen product, someone tries to report the problem, and they don't give a rats behind. Ok, that's life. But according to one source, this isn't just an isolated incident. Worse, I think Intel has a customer relations problem. They didn't even say, "Oh this is terrible sir, we will get on it right away!"

Why did I get upset enough to write this html document?
After placing the call to our distributor, it became apparent that this is not an issue of reboxing. We were not the only dealer to call the distributor about "empty" boxes. This is an Intel issue. Someone within that company better take notice, or the value of their boxed program is ZERO.

There must be more to this, right?.
Here is the kicker and why I am really upset with Intel. According to the Intel representative and her boss, their security is for internal purposes only. I could not talk to someone in that department. So in my snide comment moment I said, "I talk to Cyrix security,..." Unfortunately for the poor tech person she claimed, "Well, this isn't Cyrix." True. Very True. Cyrix seems to care about theft. Personally her comments were stupid.

I realize there are employees of Intel who have bought from Ein Stein's Computers (and now you may from ESC Technologies). I also know some of you are in management and would love to find out more information. I can be reached at 800-427-DRAM. Let's see how quickly Intel can react. Tick Tick Tick

Update August 30, 1996:
An Intel representative called and explained that they are very concerned about the Boxed program. He continued that Intel ceased over 10,000 counterfeit Pentium Pro CPUs. Good job, Intel. Thank you for returning our calls.