Intel identifies $1bn Sandy Bridge chipset flaw

Fault in Sandy Bridge chipset will mean delays for hundreds of new PC models, cost Intel $1bn

Tags: DesktopsIntel Corporation
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Intel identifies $1bn Sandy Bridge chipset flaw The image above shows Sandy Bridge wafers
By  Jason Saundalkar Published  February 1, 2011

Intel has halted shipments of its recently released Sandy Bridge Core Processors, after indentifying a design flaw which could lead to Serial-ATA (SATA) port failure over time.

The flaw, in the Cougar Point 6-series range of core-logic chipsets, which support the Sandy Bridge processor, will mean a recall of systems that have already shipped to end users, and a delay in shipment of new, rectified chipsets, until later this month, with full volume not expected to recover until April.

Intel says it will reduce revenue by $300m in the first quarter of 2011, and the total cost to repair and replace affected materials and systems in the market is estimated to be $700 million.

Hundreds of new models of PC that were expected to use the Sandy Bridge processors, will now be delayed.

Intel says that it had only been shipping the flawed chipsets since 9th January, and that "relatively few" customers. Systems running quad-core Core i5 or Core i7 processors will be affected.

The Sandy Bridge processors themselves are unaffected by this flaw, and Intel says it has corrected the issue and has already begun manufacturing a new version of the chipset. The company reports that it is working with partners in an effort to accept the return of affected chipsets or systems. The firm is also working on plans to support modifications or replacements on affected motherboards or systems.

The flaw may cause the SATA ports within the chipsets to degrade over time, potentially impacting the performance of SATA-linked devices such as hard disk drives and DVD-drives, particularly with transfers of large volumes of data. The Serial ATA interface is used to connect storage devices such as hard drives, SSDs and optical drives to a machine's motherboard.

Intel said that it does not expect full-year revenue to be "materially affected" by the problem.

Samsung has already announced that it will offer a full refund to customers with effected systems.

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