Intel has discovered a major flaw with its new released Sandy Bridge supporting 6 Series chipset, Cougar Point, which includes desktop P67 and H67 boards.
The company announced that the issue was related to the SATA degradation, which has the potential to happen over the lifespan of the board, leading to poor performance or non-recognition of attached devices. The issue affects all boards sold since release and currently stocked.
Intel has halted its chip manufacturing while it attempts to implement the fix and it forecasts that updated chips should begin shipping by late February.
For the masses of early adopters however, the news that a portion of their board is potentially on its way to a slow death is worrying. Intel has said it will be working with board manufacturers and OEM’s to co-ordinate customer support procedures for the issue, and it is likely consumers will be faced with a recall situation in the near future.
Intel estimates the total cost to repair and replace the chipset will top $700 million.
Update [01/31/2011]: Our discussions this morning with board partners has revealed that this issue blind sided them as much as the rest of the market. Currently all board partners are working on providing an official policies on how to deal with the issues. You can visit our Manufacturer and Retailer Official Response Story for more details.
Question of the Day: Did you update to Sandy Bridge after release, and if so which motherboard manufacturer did you choose?
Intel Press Release:
As part of ongoing quality assurance, Intel Corporation has discovered a design issue in a recently released support chip, the Intel® 6 Series, code-named Cougar Point, and has implemented a silicon fix. In some cases, the Serial-ATA (SATA) ports within the chipsets may degrade over time, potentially impacting the performance or functionality of SATA-linked devices such as hard disk drives and DVD-drives. The chipset is utilized in PCs with Intel’s latest Second Generation Intel Core processors, code-named Sandy Bridge. Intel has stopped shipment of the affected support chip from its factories. Intel has corrected the design issue, and has begun manufacturing a new version of the support chip which will resolve the issue. The Sandy Bridge microprocessor is unaffected and no other products are affected by this issue.
The company expects to begin delivering the updated version of the chipset to customers in late February and expects full volume recovery in April. Intel stands behind its products and is committed to product quality. For computer makers and other Intel customers that have bought potentially affected chipsets or systems, Intel will work with its OEM partners to accept the return of the affected chipsets, and plans to support modifications or replacements needed on motherboards or systems. The systems with the affected support chips have only been shipping since January 9th and the company believes that relatively few consumers are impacted by this issue. The only systems sold to an end customer potentially impacted are Second Generation Core i5 and Core i7 quad core based systems. Intel believes that consumers can continue to use their systems with confidence, while working with their computer manufacturer for a permanent solution. For further information consumers should contact Intel at www.intel.com on the support page or contact their OEM manufacturer.
For the first quarter of 2011, Intel expects this issue to reduce revenue by approximately $300 million as the company discontinues production of the current version of the chipset and begins manufacturing the new version. Full-year revenue is not expected to be materially affected by the issue. Total cost to repair and replace affected materials and systems in the market is estimated to be $700 million