Print 49 comment(s) - last by Lerianis.. on Feb 2 at 6:00 PM

Intel is working to fix a design flaw in its Sandy Bridge chipsets relating to SATA performance

Intel has just issues a statement regarding its Series 6 (Cougar Point) chipset and a design flaw that has been uncovered. The company reports the following:

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.

As Intel notes, the actual Sandy Bridge processor is not affected by this design error, and it stopped shipment of chipsets that are hampered by this SATA performance degradation problem. Intel also states that it will begin shipping "fixed" chipsets towards the end of February to its customers.

"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," stated Intel in the press release. "The only systems sold to an end customer potentially impacted are Second Generation Core i5 and Core i7 quad core based systems. 

This little gaffe is expected to cost Intel $1B USD ($300M hit to revenue, $700M to repair/replace boards).

Intel made headlines last week when it named Blacked Eye Peas front man as its Director of Creative Innovation.

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I wonder if it's possible...
By Morphine06 on 1/31/2011 10:45:30 AM , Rating: 2
to have UPS turn around mid delivery. My P67 is on it's way as we speak. =S I wonder how they will handle the boards already out there. How have they handled this in the past?

RE: I wonder if it's possible...
By Malhavoc on 1/31/2011 11:00:13 AM , Rating: 2
I am in same boat, my ASUS P67 is on its way.

RE: I wonder if it's possible...
By Proxes on 1/31/2011 2:48:17 PM , Rating: 3
Don't worry this only affects the four SATA 2 ports and not SATA 3.

RE: I wonder if it's possible...
By bah12 on 2/1/2011 9:54:13 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. I know it isn't ideal, but if you need more than 2 ports buy a cheap expansion card. What the hell else are you going to use those PCI/PCI express x1 slots for.

In fact I applaud Intel for the recall, if it were my call I would have whipped up an Intel branded 4 port SATA card and offered it as a work around.

RE: I wonder if it's possible...
By Lerianis on 2/2/2011 5:56:55 PM , Rating: 2
You do know that they now have PCI-E X1 TV cards now, right?

RE: I wonder if it's possible...
By Malhavoc on 2/1/2011 9:39:17 PM , Rating: 2
Got this by email today:

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you. Newegg has recently become aware of a design issue that is affecting recent models of Intel Sandy Bridge platform motherboards. We are working with Intel to identify the exact nature of this problem.

As always, Newegg remains 100% committed to our customers' total satisfaction. In keeping with our commitment to our customers, we are extending the return period for your motherboard by 90 days or until replacements become available from the manufacturer, whichever is greater. Intel expects to have a new revision of the P67 & H67 chipsets out around April, at which point first-run motherboards with this issue will need to be physically replaced in affected systems.

From a technical standpoint, the design issue can be bypassed fairly simply by not using the Serial ATA (SATA) ports that are affected. Your motherboard’s manual should identify your SATA ports by number, and at a minimum you should see ports 0-5 (6 ports in total) listed. Ports 0 and 1 are Sata Rev. III (6Gbps), and do not appear to be affected by this problem. Ports 2-5 are SATA Rev. II (3Gbps) and should not be used. For a thorough explanation of this hardware work-around, please refer to our video on YouTube:

If you choose to use the hardware work-around option, there is no need to contact us at this time. We have your information on record and will email you as soon as the replacements become available. If you would like to discuss this with our tech community or read up on the latest updates, please visit our EggXpert forum:

If none of the above options are suitable to your needs and you wish to return the board at this time for a full refund, please email us at **edit to avoid spam** and include your sales order number so we can help you out with your return.

If you have any concerns, please contact Newegg Customer Service for further information and assistance.

Thank you for your support!


Your Customer Service Team

RE: I wonder if it's possible...
By Lerianis on 2/2/2011 6:00:53 PM , Rating: 2
They should automatically replace the motherboard. Personally, I wish to use EVERYTHING on my motherboard and there is always the possibility that a SATA port stops working and I have to switch to another, even without a design defect.

By darklight0tr on 1/31/2011 11:07:16 AM , Rating: 2
I am wondering as well. I have a ASUS P8P67 Deluxe and am curious how existing boards will be handled.

RE: I wonder if it's possible...
By lothar98 on 1/31/2011 11:11:43 AM , Rating: 2
You can simply refuse delivery which will cause it to be returned to the shipper. The problem is a lot of shippers will want an RMA.

RE: I wonder if it's possible...
By Morphine06 on 1/31/2011 11:41:35 AM , Rating: 3
FYI: Newegg changed their return policy for JUST 6 series motherboards in wake of this news. I contacted them via live chat and demanded an RMA number. I got it.

RE: I wonder if it's possible...
By Morphine06 on 1/31/2011 12:48:23 PM , Rating: 2
FYI: Newegg appears to have changed (again) their return policy on 6 series motherboards. Wise decision.

RE: I wonder if it's possible...
By sviola on 1/31/2011 11:15:31 AM , Rating: 2
You'll probably have to do a RMA and they'll send you a new board.

RE: I wonder if it's possible...
By Shadowmaster625 on 1/31/11, Rating: -1
RE: I wonder if it's possible...
By Gungel on 1/31/2011 11:45:34 AM , Rating: 5
I always wait 3-6 month before buying new tech. Let others be beta testers.

RE: I wonder if it's possible...
By zmatt on 1/31/2011 12:05:49 PM , Rating: 3
Is that to imply that somehow Intel products are intrinsically lower quality than others? Maybe you need to do some research and see how other's cpus and motherboards have had some embarrassing problems over the years. The law of averages states that something like this will happen, what should determine how Intel's reputation takes it is how they handle it. If they replace the motherboards with little fuss and apologize who cares? IMO it says a lot about a company in how they handle these kinds of situations.

RE: I wonder if it's possible...
By BruceLeet on 1/31/11, Rating: 0
RE: I wonder if it's possible...
By omnicronx on 1/31/2011 3:22:16 PM , Rating: 2
Not that I agree with the OP at all, but your little 'law of averages speil' is anything but fact. Its not some kind of mathematical equation that can be followed, but the foolish notion that any possible event will eventually happen, completely independent of sample size.(opposed to certain laws of probability that deal with large sets of data, LLN for example)

Something like this should have never reached preproduction, let alone production systems. Its a giant lapse in Q/A and we as consumers surely SHOULD care..

Not that Intel makes bad products, but that hardly means this should be forgotten. Those impacted will surely think twice about buying a new Intel product next time, perhaps waiting for other early adopters to take the plunge.

While I would tend to agree how they handle the issue will make a difference here, it does not change the underlying issue that Intel's Q/A team failed big time.

RE: I wonder if it's possible...
By silverblue on 1/31/2011 12:28:23 PM , Rating: 2
They had that infamous pin contact issue with some S1156 chipsets, however with such a massive company producing so many products per year, it's inevitable that something might go wrong.

AMD had the TLB issue with the original Phenoms so bad stuff happens really, no matter who you are.

By putergeek00 on 1/31/2011 1:07:55 PM , Rating: 2
Are you saying AMD would have been a better choice? At least Intel didn't knowingly put out bad components and tell the customers about it months later... Remember AMD's Phenom TLB issue?

RE: I wonder if it's possible...
By VahnTitrio on 1/31/2011 12:22:27 PM , Rating: 2
Depending on how many devices you have, you could probably get by using the Marvell chip that supports the additional SATA ports. I wonder though what sort of performance drop and over what sort of lifetime we are talking.

I'll have to forward this to my brother, I just built him a new Sandy Bridge system.

By Dark Legion on 2/1/2011 11:24:30 AM , Rating: 2
In that case forward him the AT article; it seems on DT the commenters already know more than this article.
Apparently there's about a 5-15% failure rate over 3 years, and performance degradation starts at retrying a file transfer and ends at the drive not being recognized.

By DaSHinVegas on 1/31/2011 9:28:49 PM , Rating: 2
I've got SB desktop parts and a laptop on the way :( Pretty ridiculous but it does not say it damages the SATA devices but only the SATA capability on motherboard degrades over time. Hopefully we can use our devices until the new chipsets hit the market and then deal directly with manufacturers. Asus made both the laptop and motherboard so hopefully they are good about it.

Intel says thnaks...
By Marlin1975 on 1/31/2011 11:03:12 AM , Rating: 1
Intel says thanks for being beta testers, chumps.

Looks like intel is only recalling the chips from OEMs and will not help end users. So if the board makers will not do a recall or help you then you are stuck.

RE: Intel says thnaks...
By Marlin1975 on 1/31/2011 11:26:49 AM , Rating: 3
Oh and we should find out real fast what board makers step up and which ones don't.

Gigabyte always seems to have great customer service.

RE: Intel says thnaks...
By FITCamaro on 1/31/2011 1:28:17 PM , Rating: 2
Intel will likely be paying for any replacements so a manufacturer has no reason not to replace a board sold. Obviously the problem is bad enough for them to even tell people about it and then silently fix it. So if you have a board that is affected, contact the manufacturer or OEM and get it replaced.

RE: Intel says thnaks...
By Justin Time on 1/31/2011 3:46:32 PM , Rating: 2

Intel's policy allows the OEM to implement the required procedures for handling this with retailers, who should then support end users.

Intel will be wearing the cost to the OEM, who in-turn should cover the cost to the retailer, who should should cover the cost to the end-user (such as freight) so that all costs eventually end up with Intel.

Nevertheless, it's still a major PITA to everyone.

RE: Intel says thnaks...
By bplewis24 on 1/31/2011 11:50:00 AM , Rating: 5
True, at least they admit to it being a design flaw. Some other company would deny it being a flaw and offer a free PCIe SATA card to make up for the fact that you were plugging in your SATA cables wrong :D


RE: Intel says thnaks...
By bupkus on 1/31/2011 4:20:26 PM , Rating: 2
I'm a little surprised they don't offer a rebate for those folks who can work around the problem and keeping the board.

By Tunnah on 1/31/2011 11:29:11 AM , Rating: 2
pretty sure i'm one of those suffering from this
RAID5 array has shown damaged discs 3 times in 2 weeks, SATA performance is abysmal (10mb/s from drive to drive) and system locks up a lot

RE: damnit
By Beavermatic on 1/31/2011 12:38:09 PM , Rating: 2
my buddies was doing this too.... no matter what drives or combination he used.
sounds like tis is what that cougar chip is having problems with

RE: damnit
By Madoc Owain on 1/31/2011 12:47:59 PM , Rating: 2
RAID 5 issues for me were due to the Intel chipset's handling of arrays larger than 2TB - it couldn't do it. ICH10R, don't know if later versions still suffer from the issue. It didn't matter that it was not a boot drive. My take-away from the experience was that the RAID chipsets on Intel boards are all "fake-RAID", and moved on to a different solution.

RE: damnit
By FITCamaro on 1/31/2011 4:35:42 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting. I was thinking of a RAID5 array with 4 1TB hard drives likely to be based on an Intel boards ICH chipset.

Intel, you idiot!
By carniver on 1/31/2011 2:54:29 PM , Rating: 3
So much for keeping NVIDIA from making a Sandy Bridge chipset for you, not only are you unable to make one yourself with decent graphics, you can't even make one without a hardware bug. And it that can't even be fixed from BIOS update.

Your south bridge is sandy. And it collapsed.

RE: Intel, you idiot!
By bupkus on 1/31/2011 4:33:17 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting point. I wonder if Intel is rethinking their "us only" approach to chip-sets. Would they rather just take the hit on lost sales than allow Nvidia to profit from being their backup.
I recall a time that AMD didn't make their own chip sets and Nvidia came up with nForce1 and nForce2. I loved the nForce2 and if not for that chipset AMD would have been dependent on VIA for their single channel memory and poor video offerings.

Who was it that also made real low end IGPs for VIA based mobos? The name eludes me. Man, stuff is just so much more advanced now. <Feeling old>

RE: Intel, you idiot!
By LordanSS on 1/31/2011 7:17:51 PM , Rating: 2
That's the problem with lack of competition... on chipsets. Might sound stupid, but look at the results:

- Intel's chipsets do not have native support for USB3 (nor does it seem it's gonna happen anytime soon), have to rely on 3rd party chips.

- SATA 6? (Honestly, I don't know)

- Crappy number of available PCIe 2.0 lanes...

- Price? (Intel platforms are outrageously expensive here in Brazil)

Yeah, they make awesome processors, but that's because they have to keep at it, if they fall asleep (like they did in the past), AMD will come nagging and bite their behind. If they had a 3rd party (VIA, nVidia, whoever) to compete with, I bet these pieces would have more/better features than they do now.

How to tell?
By bug77 on 1/31/2011 10:59:09 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder if there will be an easy way to tell which version of the chipset you get. Otherwise, manufacturers will have no problem dumping their entire stock of 1st generation silicon onto motherboards, just to cut their losses.

RE: How to tell?
By SPOOFE on 1/31/2011 4:02:48 PM , Rating: 2
just to cut their losses.

... Or they could let Intel replace the defective chips and not worry about it. What losses are there, under that scenario?

RE: How to tell?
By bug77 on 2/1/2011 3:55:04 AM , Rating: 2
they could let Intel replace the defective chips

Again, how can you tell (if they do that)?

Major Flaw Indeed, $1b hit for Intel
By psychobriggsy on 1/31/2011 11:47:56 AM , Rating: 2
Tech Report says that whilst SOME fixed chipsets will come out from the end of February, the bulk shipment is in April - and that's before it gets put onto motherboards and shipped out to customers. In effect this is a Sandy Bridge platform delay until May. Those initial fixed chipsets are probably going to go to to OEMs first. Basically Sandy Bridge is NO GO until May for most OEMs.

Intel is paying $700m to recall and fix (i.e., replace) products affected by this fault, alongside the $300m hit on revenue.

In the meantime, AMD suddenly see a light for Bulldozer - all those sales they could have lost to Intel because Intel were there first ... well, people are now going to have to wait - so if Bulldozer is out in April as rumoured, and if it performs well ...

RE: Major Flaw Indeed, $1b hit for Intel
By bupkus on 1/31/2011 4:50:29 PM , Rating: 2
In the meantime, AMD suddenly see a light for Bulldozer
AMD had that huge problem with their first gen Phenom. I think it was the Phenom 9600 Agena. It couldn't run a 64-bit OS. I had a friend who bought one later in its life cycle from newegg. It was in June 2008 back when the swing to a 64-bit OS was getting real traction. I think he later sold it on ebay to someone else equally clueless.
Did AMD take responsibility and accept returns? Forget-about-it.
Those initial fixed chipsets are probably going to go to to OEMs first.
My guess some OEMs will take all those flawed boards and build a work around solution and sell them at discount through discount labels.
Damn, someone is gonna make a lot of money off of this issue.

By tamalero on 2/1/2011 10:27:56 AM , Rating: 2
the first gen Phenom was not AGENA. it was BARCELONA.
unless you mean exclusively for the desktop parts, where it indeed was AGENA.
and the only bug it had was a rare TLB when using all the mem slots and running very specified calculations.

it was overblown by intel RP, all the bad pres sounded like it was the end of the world..

I still find laugheable how when intel comits one mistake, everyone seems to go to "I applaud them!" when they resolve the issue.
but when its AMD "how awful!". (they did admit of the error as well so yeah..)

I still feel sorry for those who pre-ordered or already bought the sandy bridge boards, I wonder how painful might be the return and replacement... specially laptops.

Tsk Tsk
By XSpeedracerX on 2/1/2011 3:27:22 PM , Rating: 3

Sorry. Had to do it.

By Jeremy87 on 1/31/2011 11:12:20 AM , Rating: 2
I thought they found the overclocking issues with H67...

By SeeManRun on 1/31/2011 11:12:53 AM , Rating: 2
Sometimes when resuming my new machine (fresh install of Win 7 Pro) I get a KERNEL_DATA_INPAGE_ERROR requiring a reboot of the machine. Looking up the error code indicates the sata cables may be loose or damaged.

By Beavermatic on 1/31/2011 12:35:49 PM , Rating: 2
my p67 is on its way too :(

And what about the OEM's?
By bupkus on 1/31/2011 4:21:24 PM , Rating: 2
How will the OEM's handle this?

By DaSHinVegas on 1/31/2011 9:39:56 PM , Rating: 2
If I can use the affected devices until replacements are available without risking data integrity and merely dealing with degraded performance I will. From the wording of the release it sounds like SATA performance will degrade on the motherboard side but doesn't sound like it will actually hurt the SATA devices attached. If that is the case and replacements are not going to be around until April then I will not refuse shipment and will either deal with it or plug in a SATA card until then. At least for the desktop I am building.

I did a little research. Turns out this bug only affects SATA ports 2+ so if you only use ports 0 and 1 you will be ok.

Minutes from ordering
By merc14 on 2/1/2011 7:13:30 AM , Rating: 2
I was minutes from ordering yesterday when the board disappeared off my Newegg wishlist. No problem, I selected another Asus board and it disappeared as well. Hot sellers I guessed so over to Gigabyte and all of them are suddenly out of stock! I knew something was up so I called the customer and said there may be a problem with her new SB system and now I can tell her what it is. Sadly, she may not want to wait two months for the new parts to come out.

Not a flaw!!!
By havoti97 on 2/1/2011 8:34:03 PM , Rating: 2
Wait to ruin the party, Intel. Apple was going call it a feature on their latest Power Mac(TM).

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