Sandybridge Motherboard Chipset Issues


V_R

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A problem requiring a "silicon fix" is bad news in the chipset business, and sadly that's what Intel is announcing. Its new Intel 6 Series chipset, Cougar Point, has been found to have a flaw, something to do with the SATA controller. Intel is indicating that the ports can "degrade over time," leading to poor i/o performance down the road. All shipments have been stopped and a fix has been implemented for new deliveries, but it sounds like recalls will be starting soon for those with this ticking time bomb silicon within. It isn't a critical problem right now, though, so if you own a Sandy Bridge Core i5 or Core i7 system keep computing with confidence while looking for a recall notice, but it is bad news for Intel's bottom line: the company is advising a $300 million hit to revenue.
Source - Engadget

I'll post more in this thread as i find it.
 
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V_R

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The potential problem as outlined by Intel® is as follows:-

In some cases, motherboards featuring the 6 Series Chipset (P67 & H67) that have Sata devices connected to ports 2-5 could potentially degrade over time.
Motherboards with devices connected to Ports 0 & 1 remain unaffected or using the 6G ports.


PLEASE NOTE THERE IS NO POTENTIAL ISSUE TO SANDYBRIDGE PROCESSORS, this communication refers only to Sandybridge motherboards using P67 & H67 chipset ONLY.


OcUK has been advised by Intel that there may be a potential issue regarding Sandy Bridge and the P67 Chipset.

There is considered to be no immediate threat, and Intel recommends customers not to panic, as this is, at this stage, considered to be a precautionary measure.

OcUK are in discussion with Intel as to the finer details of the issue, and at present there is no need for customers to return products, and this will continue to be the case until such time as Intel advise on any necessary course of action.

In light of these events, OcUK has left Sandybridge based products on sale and should any issues arise all customers will be covered, we shall be adding disclaimers to all P67 mainboards tomorrow stating this and that all customers will be covered.

All customers will be contacted once we have received a definitive Returns Procedure from Intel, should this be the case.

At present, there is no immediate threat / danger / risk of damage to CPUs, Motherboards or Systems, and we urge that customers continue to use their systems as normal.

Any required replacements will be handled efficiently, and any further updates will be announced via the website and forums.

At this time, we would request that customers do not contact us with regards to this issue, as we are of course fully aware, and will publish all information as we have it via our website and forums.

Please avoid contacting us regarding this particular issue as it just swallows up resources, where the information has already been made available via our website/forums, and we will continue to inform of any updates ongoing etc.


So right now its all a bit of an unknown, we shall know a lot more over the next couple of days and if a recall is actioned instructions shall be posted on the website and forum.

As we know more we shall pass it onto our customers.
Oh dear Intel...


Source - OcUK Forums Official Communication
 

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Chip giant Intel was ecstatic about the rollout of the Sandy Bridge Core family of chips for desktops and laptops and is prepping for single-socket servers and workstations next month based on the Xeon variants of these chips. But the discovery of a bug in the Intel 6 Cougar Point chipset announced this morning just threw a spanner in the rollout of these CPUs. It also very possibly may have given Advanced Micro Devices the lucky break it has been praying for.

In a statement put out this morning after Wall Street opened, Intel said that its quality assurance engineers found a "design issue" in the Cougar Point chipset related to its handling of Serial-ATA I/O ports that feed through the chipset back into the processors.

"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 Intel statement read.

Intel was very clear that there are no flaws in the Sandy Bridge chip designs themselves and that no other processors are affected by the Cougar Point flaw. The company has already implemented a fix in the Cougar Point chipset and has begun baking new versions of the chipset, which it expects to start shipping to OEM customers in late February. Intel is not expected to get to full volume productions of the modified Cougar Point chipset until April.

"Intel stands behind its products and is committed to product quality," the company continued in its statement. "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."

Intel estimates that it will take about $700m to repair and replace the Cougar Point chipsets, and that revenues in the first quarter will be hit to the tune of $300m in the first quarter of 2011 because it has stopped making and selling the current version of the chipset. Intel is going to take a charge against its fourth quarter 2010 books to cover these costs since the defective chips were manufactured then. This will reduce its gross margins by around four points; margins were 67.5 per cent in the final quarter of last year. The company will also take a two-point gross margin hit in the first quarter to cover the costs of the repair.

Intel has completed the acquisition of the wireless chip biz of Infineon Technologies, and with that unit and the chip flaw cooked into its books, the company now says its revenue for the first quarter of 2011 will be $11.7bn, plus or minus $400m, which is higher than the previous guidance of $11.5bn, plus or minus $400m. Intel is now projecting that R&D spending will be $3.6bn in the quarter, up from $3.4bn, and gross margins will take a three-point hit overall (including the effects of Infineon and the flaw), dropping to 64 per cent.
Source - The Register
 

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In our Sandy Bridge review I pointed out that Intel was unfortunately very conservative in one area of the platform: its chipset. Although the 6-series chipset finally brought native 6Gbps SATA to Intel platforms it failed to fix issues with 23.976 fps video playback. Intel also failed to deliver a chipset that can support SNB's processor graphics as well as overclocking. Today, things just got even more disappointing.
Intel just announced that it has identified a bug in the 6-series chipset, specifically in its SATA controller. Intel states that "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.".
Source - Anandtech

and Update
 

V_R

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As phenomenal as Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors have turned out to be, nothing in this world is truly perfect. Intel announced earlier this morning that it has discovered a flaw in the 6-series chipsets that accompany the new processor family. While it reassures users that they can "continue to use their systems with confidence," the chipmaker has nonetheless halted chipset shipments until a new, bug-free version of the silicon starts to ship out late next month.
What's the problem? Intel explains, "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."
For folks who have already crossed the Sandy Bridge, Intel adds that it will "work with its OEM partners to accept the return of the affected chipsets," and it plans to "support modifications or replacements needed on motherboards or systems."

Update - 11:43 AM: Intel just held a conference call to talk about the Sandy Bridge chipset problems, and we now have a few more details to share with you.
The problem that's caused Intel to initiate a billion-dollar chipset recall affects the SATA ports on all 6-series chipsets, including the H67 and P67 chipsets most prominently used in consumer products. All of these chipsets are collectively referred to as "Cougar Point" inside of Intel. Because there are no third-party chipsets compatible with Sandy Bridge processors, all Sandy Bridge-based systems are potentially affected, including desktops, laptops, and DIY motherboards.
The issue is a circuit design problem resulting in a gradual degradation over time of SATA connectivity on the affected ports, manifesting itself as high bit-error rates on those ports and eventually as total device disconnects.


Source - TechReport
 

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Bad news for any owners of those new motherboards :(. How many here are affected?

I have never heard of this sort of problem before, so it's interesting from a technical perspective... but it sounds like it's going to be a real pain to put right. At least it is quite some time before the problem starts to show itself, if indeed it does at all.
 
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floppybootstomp

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Oh dear.

That's a damn shame however you view it.

I can't afford to upgrade yet anyhow so on a personal level it won't affect me.

I had actually considered returning to AMD when I do eventually upgrade, we shall see.
 

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SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 31, 2011 – As part of ongoing quality assurance, Intel Corporation has discovered a design issue in a recently released support chip, the Intel® 6 Series (and the Intel® C200 Series Chipset), 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. 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.
If you believe you may be affected by this issue, please contact your place of purchase, or your Intel Field Sales Representative.
Source - Intel

Seems to be much the same wherever you read. Looks like i'll be holding off any kind of thought of an upgrade to SB...
 
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V_R

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Lol, that article says its faulty CPUS! It aint, its the Motherboards Chipset... :rolleyes:
 

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