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  • Intel Announces Problems with Next-Gen Chipsets


    Intel announced today that they have discovered a "design error" in its new support chip for their next-gen Intel Core processors, the 'Sandy Bridge' processors. The setback in production will come as very disappointing news for any one who has been holding out to buy a PC or Mac with this next-generation chipset.

    The problem in the new chipset is apparently in the SATA ports. According to the announcement, these ports which are used to connect hard drives and optical drives, can degrade over time. This would be a major issue for users, and Intel has stated that they have a fix in the works:

    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 company expects to begin delivering the updated version of the chipset to customers in late February and expects full volume recovery in April.
    When the story first broke, the problem was believed to only affect chips designed for desktop computers, that would theoretically delay an update to Apple's iMac line, but it has now been clarified that the chipset is used in both desktop and notebook computers, which means there may be a delay in what was thought to be a imminent release of revised MacBook Pros.

    With this setback in production, and with Intel not recovering from this problem fully until April, we may not see any hardware revisions for Apple computers until the issue is sorted out, or at least until the issue is nearly fully resolved. We'll keep you posted on any updates regarding how this affects Apple's product upgrades.

    Source:
    MacRumors
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Intel Announces Problems with Next-Gen Chipsets started by Matt Savoca View original post
    Comments 18 Comments
    1. delusion950's Avatar
      delusion950 -
      Intel always had issues with their chips.
    1. JedixJarf's Avatar
      JedixJarf -
      Good thing I just got my sandybridge board this month...
    1. avenger's Avatar
      avenger -
      So is this the start of intel failure due to demand of new hardware by consumers....
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      No Bueno! At least I'll still have the latest and greatest from the MBP line for a few more months
    1. Norb's Avatar
      Norb -
      That sucks, I know two people that are going to have to get their products replaced. Not the biggest deal but just a hassle taking apart your computer and for overclockers they have to reconfigure all that as well.
    1. alexevo's Avatar
      alexevo -
      Sandy Bridge? Cougar Point? Sounds like someone at Abercrombie & Fitch is coming up with these names...
    1. whereswaldo's Avatar
      whereswaldo -
      That's a problem
    1. Santoku's Avatar
      Santoku -
      ".., degrade over time" makes me wonder if their metric is warranty time :-(
    1. Norb's Avatar
      Norb -
      Quote Originally Posted by Santoku View Post
      ".., degrade over time" makes me wonder if their metric is warranty time :-(
      Reminds me of how we had a bunch of the same model Dell computers all fail at the same time. It seemed too coincidental that it was right after our 3yr extended warranty expired.
    1. awesomeSlayer's Avatar
      awesomeSlayer -
      Ouch! I'm still waiting for an upgrade.
    1. CynicalDriver's Avatar
      CynicalDriver -
      Quote Originally Posted by Santoku View Post
      ".., degrade over time" makes me wonder if their metric is warranty time :-(
      I would guess... Yes. Planned obsolescence = $$$
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      Amazing the first few comments. That's all I'm going to say. For information that's actually informative and not the usual garbage that MacRumors regurgitates, go here. Intel Discovers Bug in 6-Series Chipset: Our Analysis - AnandTech :: Your Source for Hardware Analysis and News
    1. CZroe's Avatar
      CZroe -
      Update: The two 6Gbps ports are fine (ports 0 and 1). It is only the four 3Gbps ports that suffer this issue (ports 2-5). Because most notebooks only have a single HDD and optical drive, it will not affect them

      Quote Originally Posted by Norb View Post
      Reminds me of how we had a bunch of the same model Dell computers all fail at the same time. It seemed too coincidental that it was right after our 3yr extended warranty expired.
      That was likely due to bad capacitors. It's a well-known issue and neither Dell nor Intels fault. It hit IBM, Abit, etc. Supposedly it was a Taiwanese or Chinese factory that stole an incomplete Japanese capacitor formula that would cause gas to build up inside the capacitor. Eventually, it would vent and fail.
    1. EskimoRuler's Avatar
      EskimoRuler -
      not good at all, but thats not bad if its all cool by april
    1. Santoku's Avatar
      Santoku -
      Quote Originally Posted by CZroe View Post
      Update: The two 6Gbps ports are fine (ports 0 and 1). It is only the four 3Gbps ports that suffer this issue (ports 2-5). Because most notebooks only have a single HDD and optical drive, it will not affect them
      I heard this as well. I am not well versed with laptop MB layout. Are most of the upcoming modern SB-based boards primarily 6Gbps ? What about those with the eSATA ports (are those 3Gbps) ? I am looking at either a Thinkpad T520, W520, or perhaps a Dell XPS L502x, and would love to get it February rather than waiting till Spring.
    1. CZroe's Avatar
      CZroe -
      Quote Originally Posted by Santoku View Post
      I heard this as well. I am not well versed with laptop MB layout. Are most of the upcoming modern SB-based boards primarily 6Gbps ? What about those with the eSATA ports (are those 3Gbps) ? I am looking at either a Thinkpad T520, W520, or perhaps a Dell XPS L502x, and would love to get it February rather than waiting till Spring.
      Because they are all included on the chip, there is no reason to use a 3gbps port unless you have more than two devices/ports in the design. You just count the number of used SATA ports. A high-end gaming notebook with SSD RAID 0 would likely use both 6Gbps ports on the SSDs, leaving only 3Gbps ports for eSATA and optical drives. In a laptop with an ODD and HDD/SSD, the eSATA port would mean that at least one 3Gbps port is in use (if 6Gbps eSATA is possible, they'd probably conect the ODD to the 3Gbps port because optical disc read speeds are bottlenecked at the drive level). If they made a Sandy Bridge based Alienware M11x, which has no ODD, they could make a 6Gbps eSATA port. Of course, most notebooks without ODDs are netbooks without eSATA.
    1. Captinsmooth's Avatar
      Captinsmooth -
      Quote Originally Posted by CZroe View Post
      That was likely due to bad capacitors. It's a well-known issue and neither Dell nor Intels fault. It hit IBM, Abit, etc. Supposedly it was a Taiwanese or Chinese factory that stole an incomplete Japanese capacitor formula that would cause gas to build up inside the capacitor. Eventually, it would vent and fail.

      I see this at least once a week in IBM POS units I repair. Biggest reason for failure in a IBM product is popped capacitors.
    1. thinkinblue613's Avatar
      thinkinblue613 -
      I'm going to wait until they perfect every flaw before I get a Sandy Bridge.

      This news makes me feel better since I just bought a 13" MBP, I was on the fence whether I should wait or not for the refresh.