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.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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