Intel identifies major flaw in Sandy Bridge chipset; begins recall

Intel has announced that it has identified a flaw in the design of Serial ATA ports on its newest 6 Series "Cougar Point" chipset, according to a press release. In some cases, this flaw causes ports to degrade over time, causing users to suffer from poor performance on any Serial ATA devices such as hard drives, DVD drives or BluRay drives. Only the newest second generation Core i5 and i7 series chips use the the 6 series chipsets.

Unfortunately, this flaw cannot be corrected in software. Intel has halted all current shipments of the flawed chipsets and is implementing what it is calling a "silicon fix". Intel is currently in the midst of manufacturing new chipsets containing the fix. It expects to start shipping the updated chipsets in late February. Recalls of already shipped models are largely expected, and as a result the company is expecting to take a $300 million hit to quarterly revenues.

Intel says they've only been shipping second-generation Core i-series chips and the related chipsets since January 9th, and doesn't think many people will be affected by this issue. For computer manufacturers and other Intel customers that have bought already affected chipsets or systems, Intel will work with partners to accept the return of the chipsets, and has plans to support the modifications and/or replacements required to correct the aforementioned issue.

Users of computers containing the 6 Series chipset can continue to use their computer with confidence whilst Intel works on a more permanent fix.

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jafoman said,

Of course.

On engadget: Jimmy sent us a chat log with an Intel customer service representative indicating that this recall only affects "some desktop boards based on Intel P67 chipset,"...

though some others might be affected.


thatguyandrew1992 said,
This sucks, but Intel is doing the right thing. I'm glad that they are replacing the mobos.

I seriously doubt they are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. I can only imagine the lawsuits that would be heading their way if they didn't recall the boards.

Was going to be ordering a new system this coming weekend. Glad this news came out this week instead of next week. I'd be ****ed if my new system had to be returned for a recall right after I bought it! Isn't this the kind of thing that Intel should be testing BEFORE releasing a new chipset?

roadwarrior said,
Was going to be ordering a new system this coming weekend. Glad this news came out this week instead of next week. I'd be ****ed if my new system had to be returned for a recall right after I bought it! Isn't this the kind of thing that Intel should be testing BEFORE releasing a new chipset?

According to the article on Anandtech:
Anandtech said,

Intel has been testing its 6-series chipset for months now. The chipset passed all of its internal qualification tests as well as all of the OEM qualification tests. These are the same tests that all Intel chipsets must go through, testing things like functionality, reliability and behavior at various conditions (high temps, load temps, high voltage, low voltage, etc...). The chipset made it through all of these tests just fine.

Intel ran their standard testing/validation on these chipsets and they passed. The randonmess of this issue meant it wouldn't necessarily have shown up during that and in this case, it didn't manifest itself during that period. Perhaps Intel needs to beef up their testing/vaildation procedures?

Same here! The new revised motherboards better have obvious new product codes to differentiate between the dud and the new one.

McoreD said,
Same here! The new revised motherboards better have obvious new product codes to differentiate between the dud and the new one.

What really worries me is that there are still systems with Sandy Bridge CPUs available for sale on many sites. Having previously worked in retail, I know that it can sometimes take weeks for recalled items to be fully purged from the distribution system. I'm not taking a chance on ordering one of the Sandy Bridge systems right now. I'm just going to take the mild performance hit and go with a previous-gen system. Hell, it is still going to be a major upgrade from my current system.

Since i doubt degradation events like thermal runaway can make it to the consumer-level, my bet on the degradation comes from electromigration.
I guess the circuit design did not have any compensation for that phenomenon.

Why it's usually always better to wait for 2nd gen products of any new product. Gets rid of most of the flaws and kinks along the way.

Morisato said,
Why it's usually always better to wait for 2nd gen products of any new product. Gets rid of most of the flaws and kinks along the way.

Funny thing isn't Sandybridge the second gen of the Core i series? Glad intel dealt with this quickly, it could have been the nvidia fiasco all over again.

Intel uses the NEC chip. I am not sure whether it sucks or not but I was waiting for over 2 years for Intel to release a new motherboard with USB 3.0 support with Intel chipset and they release motherboards with the NEC chipset just like other non-Intel motherboards.

The question now is, will the new motherboards have a different revision number or a model number for us to easily identify the new revision?

Glad I waited to upgrade. Figure there would be some minor bugs but this sounds pretty serious.

Hope Bulldozer doesn't have any major bugs.

It really shouldn't have happened in the first place. But it is nice to see that they are stepping up and fixing it before it went to much further. This whole issues makes u wonder just why did Intel buyback 10billion in stock the week before? makes since now.

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