UPDATE: Best Buy pulls first wave of HP Pentium 4 machines

HP Pavilion model 9795C computers that were shipped from Hewlett-Packard to Best Buy locations with Intel's new Pentium 4 processor inside have been removed from the stores and shipped back to HP to correct problems surrounding the chip and the system BIOS, McManus said.

"Apparently there was an issue with the [Pentium 4] and the BIOS upgrade," McManus said. "We had found out about this from HP. And I know that the Pentium 4 [computers] were taken off the shelf, but I don't have a timeframe as to when they are going to be back.

At all times, McManus emphasised, Best Buy customers have had the option to have customer-configured computers loaded with the Pentium 4 built for them at store-level Computer Creation Stations, which take the custom orders and ship the product directly to the customer's home in a timeframe of about two weeks, McManus said.

HP's Vectra line of PCs, which have also begun shipping with the Pentium 4 processor inside, also experienced problems with the chip and the system BIOS, according to HP sources. But the problem with the Vectra line was caught before any units were shipped to retail stores, sources said.

Consumers recently trying to purchase computer systems loaded with the Pentium 4 chip at Best Buy outlets in four cities were each told that Pentium 4 systems had been recalled from store shelves for a variety of reasons.

A sales representative for Best Buy in Houston, for example, said several HP computers with the 1.4GHz Pentium 4 chip inside had been on display but were suddenly pulled from the shelves because "they were running too fast."

"They've recalled all of them," he said.

McManus said that Best Buy employees working in the departments where the Pentium 4 systems are sold were not informed of the exact reason as to why the systems suddenly were removed from store shelves.

"We are doing our best to educate our stores as to the reason for the situation with the Pentium 4," McManus said.

A search for Pentium 4-powered computers on the Best Buy Web site turned up nothing. When asked about the availability of the Pentium 4, a customer representative for BestBuy.com suggested contacting the manufacturer, Intel.

Intel representative George Alfs said the Pentium 4, which has been available for just over a week, is shipping in a number of different systems at a number of retailers, and that Intel is "quite happy with the initial sales." However, Alfs did say that "Best Buy had a logistical issue," with Hewlett-Packard regarding the chip and the system BIOS.

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Dan Neel

PC World
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