Sandy Bridge chipset flaw to cost Intel $1 billion

Sandy Bridge chipset flaw to cost Intel $1 billion

Summary: Intel has discovered a flaw in its 6-series chipset that goes with the new Sandy Bridge processors which has caused the chip giant to halt chipset production until the flaw can be fixed.

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Intel has discovered a flaw in its 6-series chipset that goes with the new Sandy Bridge processors which has caused the chip giant to halt chipset production until the flaw can be fixed.

Here's the word from Intel:

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.

All 6-series "Cougar Point" chipsets, including H67 and P67, are affected. The issue is a hardware design problem that causes high number of bit errors eventually device disconnection. The problem only affects the four 3Gbps SATA ports with the two 6Gbps ports unaffected. According to Intel, data on connected devices will be safe.

There is no software fix for this issue. All affected systems will need a motherboard replacement. No word from OEMs of motherboard manufacturers as to how his replacement program will play out yet.

What's interesting bout this issue is that it seems to have been caught by Intel - reviews and early adopters didn't seem to catch on. I've reached out to a number of early adopters and no one seems to be seeing this issue.

[UPDATE: Intel claims that this problem was first reported to the company by users, and then replicated internally.]

This flaw is going to cost Intel ... a lot. Putting aside the PR hassles and delays that this will cause, Intel estimates that it'll hit bottom line by around $300 million, and $700 million is being put aside for repair and replacement.

An interesting rumor that I've heard is that this problem was caught by Apple during the testing of upcoming "Sandy Bridge" MacBook Pro systems. Is this true? Probably not. But I do believe that this will delay a lot of new releases by OEMs across the board.

Anyone here a "Sandy Bridge" early adopter?

Topics: Intel, Hardware, Processors

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9 comments
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  • Good...

    ...they were hoping to cheat this issue, but it came back around. Stingy Exec's, I hope a boatload of arrogant, money grubbing Executives get canned immediately.
    james347
  • Only 2 SATA 6Gbps ports?

    FAIL!

    AMD has been offering it in their chipsets for months now, and every port is 6Gbps!

    BTW: Anybody see any Zacate boards in the wild yet? Ie. Available for order and ship-out, NOW?
    Joe_Raby
  • RE: Sandy Bridge chipset flaw to cost Intel $1 billion

    Intel doesn't produce a 6Gbps SATA chipset only 3Gbps SATA. So any 6Gbps SATA that was on these boards was a 3rd party add-in chip not produced by Intel. So this effectively means don't trust the Intel chip for your hard drives.
    bbbl67
    • RE: Sandy Bridge chipset flaw to cost Intel $1 billion

      @bbbl67 You sir, are wrong. Intel supports SATA 6.0 in all of their new chipsets except 1 low end chipset. You are thinking of USB 3.0 that Intel doesn't currently support.
      tranzparentl
  • RE: Sandy Bridge chipset flaw to cost Intel $1 billion

    HAHAHA, talk about Karma coming back in a big way. Glad to see monopolistic Intel being hit where it hurts, the pocketbook. Wow, new chipset, new board, gonna hurt for awhile. Makes me glad I use an affordable and stable AMD system.
    trust2112@...
  • RE: Sandy Bridge chipset flaw to cost Intel $1 billion

    So now we have a reason to claim our AMD chips and boards are superior? Well, in additiion to the reason of price? Cool. Used to be the pricepoint that was my reason for AMD over Intel. I really don't have any other reasoning. Aside from my deep-seated personal bias against the Celeron processor.
    zach.winchester
    • RE: Sandy Bridge chipset flaw to cost Intel $1 billion

      @zach.winchester Yes, perhaps this is God punishing intel for all celeron and -SX type cpus. I hope so.
      John in Brisbane
  • Question is? how do we find out what vendors will do

    Will Dell or Hp recall its boxes and/or will we find these computers in the secondary channel...Who knows how to look for a P67?
    amasys
  • RE: Sandy Bridge chipset flaw to cost Intel $1 billion

    Thank goodness I am operating seven years behind current equipment technology. (Dell Precision Workstation 650 with dual Xeons and 4GB memory)
    billmichael