Intel Discovers, Fixes 6 Series Chipset Error; First Laptops Recalled

IntelIntel published today that it discovered a design error in the Intel 6 Series “Cougar Point” chipset, which is used in the PCs with the 2nd Generation Intel Core “Sandy Bridge” processors.

According to Intel’s press release, the flaw is related to chipset’s data storage functionality.

“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,” Intel says.

The chip maker says that it has implemented a “silicon fix” and expects to begin delivering the new version of the chipset to customers in late February, while full volume recovery will be reached April.

“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,” the company explains.

At the time of this writing, there’s no official word on whether the flaw affects both desktop and laptop motherboards on which the 6 Series chipset resides.

As soon we get new info on the flaw and eventual laptop recalls, we will post it on this page.

NEW: According to Anandtech, it possible that owners of “Sandy Bridge”-based laptops never encounter the chipset issue.

“If a notebook design only uses ports 0 & 1 off the chipset (the unaffected ports), then the end user would never encounter an issue and the notebook may not even be recalled. In fact, if there are notebook designs currently in the pipeline that only use ports 0 & 1 they may not be delayed by today’s announcement,” Anandtech reports.

NEW 2: Toshiba is the first laptop manufacturer that has recalled its notebooks due to the chipset bug, so the conclusion is that at least some “Sandy Bridge” laptops are affected by the issue.

NEW 3: Select laptop makers have halted and postponed sales of “Sandy Bridge” laptops with the faulty chipset.

NEW 4: HP has also recalled the affected laptops.

NEW 5: Intel will apparently start shipping the repaired version of the chipset, B3 stepping, to OEMs on February 14th.

Source

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Danijel is a tech blogger who founded Laptoping in 2006. His specialty are Windows-based mobile PCs, from tablets and ultraportables to full blown gaming laptops.

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