According to Bruce Lakin, general manager for Toshiba's information systems division, as many as 1000 Toshiba notebooks manufactured in Australia in January this year were affected by the built-in Intel Celeron 5.4 chip, which he said was unable to control voltage distribution through the processor when the notebook was operating on low power.
"It's to do with . . . the voltage getting onto the processor when the battery is very low," Lakin said. "It's overloading, not overheating," he stressed.
In the Toshiba range, the hardware fault was restricted to that company's Satellite 4090, 4100 and Tecra 8000, P2400 notebooks, Lakin said. However, it is believed that notebooks equipped with the Celeron 5.4 chip made by other vendors early this year may also be affected. Out of the Toshiba models, only the Satellite 4090 had seen significant sales since January. The other models had seen comparatively "minimal sales", he said.
Whether the problem is due to faulty components supplied by Intel or Toshiba has not yet been confirmed, although Lakin said "anecdotally" the cause of the problem was the Celeron chip. He added that it was doubtful the problem was caused by any incompatibility between the hardware products.
"We've been partners for a long time."
Lakin said Intel would send all customers who purchased the affected notebooks a Celeron 5.5 chip, which would not have the same problem. Toshiba and Intel have contacted their channel partners and will supply any parts needed for repairs, he said.
Intel was unavailable for comment.