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Rumour: Intel discovers Sandy Bridge E bug

Rumour: Intel discovers Sandy Bridge E bug

Intel's LGA2011 CPUs and compatible motherboards are expected to launch before Christmas this year.

Intel is reportedly having problems with a VT-d bug in its forthcoming LGA2011-based Sandy Bridge E processors, which are expected to be launched later this year.

According to VR-Zone, the issue has forced Intel to quickly develop a C2 stepping of the processors with a bug fix applied, although these aren’t likely to hit retailers until after the launch - possibly even running into next year.

The bug affects the processors' I/O virtualisation abilities, which isn’t likely to be much of a problem for home users (breathe a large sigh of relief). However, it will be a concern for businesses that that tend to take advantage of VT-d features much more often.

On a related note, VR-Zone also claims that Intel has increased the cost of its X79 chipset by 20 per cent over the cost of the X58 chipset it replaces. This mean that the chipset alone could retail for somewhere in the region of $70.

If true, this is likely to lead to some seriously expensive X79 motherboards, although this isn’t much of a surprise when you consider that LGA2011 has always been billed as a premium platform.

Do you make use of Intel VT-d technology? Is Intel being cheeky with its pricing structure? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

32 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
l3v1ck 4th October 2011, 14:42 Quote
Again? Intel's quality control really has been slipping for the last few releases. At least it hasn't been released yet, unlike last time.
javaman 4th October 2011, 14:43 Quote
Intel are so far ahead of the competition that even delaying these processors wouldn't be a big deal. Hats off the developed a c2 stepping so quickly tho.
pingu666 4th October 2011, 14:53 Quote
the quality control was fine in this case, caught the issue before release...
PlayedStation 4th October 2011, 14:57 Quote
The cynic in me says this increase in manufacturing costs is marketing hyperbole to justify a price hike
Hakuren 4th October 2011, 14:59 Quote
It is massive bug not a little one.

X79 is targeted at server/workstation market where VT-d is absolutely crucial. Right now running my X58 with VT-d enabled and frankly I can't imagine using PC without it as long as I need legacy software/test stuff with different OSes using VM. If VT-d is screwed in the first batch of the chips then the only solution (apart from scraping) for Intel is to ship those CPUs into OEM market where VT-d is not important.

" which isn’t likely to be much of a problem for home users (breathe a large sigh of relief)"
It is purely nonsensical statement considering how many people using VT-d at home. Some because work require it, some because they need something so trivial like XP Mode on W7.

With every news X79 looks less and less worthwhile investment. If someone need more space for storage then spend money on new RAID card, if you need proper SAS support - spend that money on RAID card. If you need dual CPU and lots of RAM then there is plethora of Xenon 1366 boards around. There is absolutely no need to blow hard earned cash on X79 for what 10-15% better performance (even when they fix VT-d). I said in 2008 that S1366 will be new S775. Looks like a fact ATM. There is plenty of life left in X58.
GuilleAcoustic 4th October 2011, 15:00 Quote
I do care about virtualization ... take your time Intel ;)
l3v1ck 4th October 2011, 15:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by pingu666
the quality control was fine in this case, caught the issue before release...
Quote:
...although these aren’t likely to hit retailers until after the launch
Well, sort of.
They might not have to do a recall if people/companies know what they're buying, but if the replacement chips aren't available until after launch, then quality control wasn't good enough as they didn't pick it up in time.
azazel1024 4th October 2011, 15:14 Quote
There is plenty of life left in a lot of older intel chipsets and processors. Most generations only see a 10-15% improvement, so its not like we are seeing a world of change moving up. However, it is an improvement, and if you need it, great.

The top end chipsets and processors from Intel are always expensive. Going from X58 to X79 doesn't look like it is going to be THAT much more expensive. An extra $14-20 for the board because of a more expensive chipset isn't that big a deal when you are talking a 4-8% increase in MoBo/CPU combined price. Processor cost looks like it is going to be roughly where X58 was when it came out. So you are looking at a small increase in cost, for generally a 10-15% improvement in processor power (with a few cases where they is much, much more improvement). Doesn't sound like a bad deal if you are upgrading from an even older chipset and processor. If you are already on X58, it doesn't sound like it makes a whole lot of sense, but it rarely does to move just one generation forward unless you HAVE to have the extra increment in performance.
Blarte 4th October 2011, 15:25 Quote
I just read through vt-d from Intels web pages .. and am still non the wiser to what its actually for
BlackRaven 4th October 2011, 15:31 Quote
That is definitely not a small problem. How do you think most people test new apps and do their coursework for certifications at home...
schmidtbag 4th October 2011, 15:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blarte
I just read through vt-d from Intels web pages .. and am still non the wiser to what its actually for

it's meant for immensely improving virtualization. the amd-v instruction set is pretty much the exact same thing. try running something like virtualbox with and without vt-d/amd-v enabled and you'll see a day and night difference in performance.
Bob1234 4th October 2011, 15:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blarte
I just read through vt-d from Intels web pages .. and am still non the wiser to what its actually for

It provides direct access to hardware for virtualised environments.

Think VMWares ESXi and Microsofts Hyper-V, where you virtualise everything, and VT-d allows the virtual machines to directly access parts of the host PCs hardware.
Anneon 4th October 2011, 16:15 Quote
Hmmm.. I was holding out upgrading my old Q6700 machine for the sandy bridge-e. I guess i will buy up some old stock 2500k now.

oh wait.. yea my q6700 still kicks ass at 3.7ghz
r3loaded 4th October 2011, 16:29 Quote
Can anyone tell me what the difference between VT-x and VT-d is?
MjFrosty 4th October 2011, 16:34 Quote
That is definitely NOT just a small problem. It's an inconvenience to home users as well, and I'd like to think it worked on C1 when I've just spent close to £800 on a CPU. Somebody needs a thump and a P45 their way.

I like wasting cash on new platforms, however the closer x79 comes to it's release the more and more it seems it's a complete waste of time, and an interim to the changes they will make in early 2012.

Just because you've no competition in the market sector is not an excuse for sloppy and quite frankly half arsed hardware - which from what I'm gathering is purely to meet the needs of the corporate system builders.
Blarte 4th October 2011, 16:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob1234
It provides direct access to hardware for virtualised environments.

Think VMWares ESXi and Microsofts Hyper-V, where you virtualise everything, and VT-d allows the virtual machines to directly access parts of the host PCs hardware.



ah ha Laymans terms ... gotchya
Blarte 4th October 2011, 16:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by r3loaded
Can anyone tell me what the difference between VT-x and VT-d is?

20 other letters?
Action_Parsnip 4th October 2011, 17:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MjFrosty
...however the closer x79 comes to it's release the more and more it seems it's a complete waste of time...

This. x79 looks nowhere near as good as x58 was. Where is the value prospect ala i7 920??
KayinBlack 4th October 2011, 17:59 Quote
Get it together Intel, you've not shown me anything that would make me leave my beloved Lynnfield. Still running like a boss today. 2.8 to 4.4 works for me.
GuilleAcoustic 4th October 2011, 18:25 Quote
Old chips still have lots to show. My Q6600 works really fine and only bad coded mono-threaded app can struggle him sometimes (Google Scketchup for example).
Paradigm Shifter 4th October 2011, 18:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by KayinBlack
Get it together Intel, you've not shown me anything that would make me leave my beloved Lynnfield. Still running like a boss today. 2.8 to 4.4 works for me.

Same here; I've not seen anything that makes me really want to move away from X58. As it stands, if I wanted an upgrade I'd more more likely to go for a hexacore LGA1366 chip than I would LGA1156/1155/2011.

Although I'm quite interested in trying AMD again, even if they're not the raw performance crown holder. Would definitely be interested in trying a 990FX board and a Bulldozer chip.
Ayrto 4th October 2011, 18:45 Quote
Besides desktop benchmarking, it doesn't feel as though there are as many reasons (certainly not the old reason of new PC games), to justify keeping on the constant upgrade treadmill, especially dumping X58, i7.

There was a time before the mass rush by game Studios to consoles , where you literally felt compelled to buy the next iteration, be it CPU or GPU, just to get playable performance, or to mavel at the latest, greatest, newly released PC game which integrated the latest DX features.

Nvidia sticking with the '500' series longer and Intel leaving X58 around longer, seems to offer an indication about how confident they are of shifting their new HW in an era of consolization.
azrael- 4th October 2011, 19:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hakuren
It is massive bug not a little one.

X79 is targeted at server/workstation market where VT-d is absolutely crucial. Right now running my X58 with VT-d enabled and frankly I can't imagine using PC without it as long as I need legacy software/test stuff with different OSes using VM. If VT-d is screwed in the first batch of the chips then the only solution (apart from scraping) for Intel is to ship those CPUs into OEM market where VT-d is not important.

" which isn’t likely to be much of a problem for home users (breathe a large sigh of relief)"
It is purely nonsensical statement considering how many people using VT-d at home. Some because work require it, some because they need something so trivial like XP Mode on W7.
<SNIP>
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blarte
I just read through vt-d from Intels web pages .. and am still non the wiser to what its actually for
Quote:
Originally Posted by r3loaded
Can anyone tell me what the difference between VT-x and VT-d is?
I'll start by answering the last bit first, and this will also explain why a bug in VT-d isn't too important for personal use (yet).

Current Intel processors support two types of virtualisation, VT-x and VT-d. VT-x came about first (introduced with later Pentium4 models) and was originally known as "Vanderpool" (as opposed to AMD's "Pacifica", later known as AMD-V).

VT-x allows for hardware virtualisation of the CPU itself and because of that is the most important type of virtualisation. It's what really speeds up your VMs insofar as you are running any, because your VM can run code directly on your CPU instead of some emulated CPU.

VT-d, on the other hand, virtualises access to peripheral devices such as Ethernet NICs, graphics cards, audio cards, hard disk drive controllers etc. In essence, VT-d makes the VM see and be able to access more of your actual hardware instead of some emulated piece of hardware, e.g. from within the VM you'd see your GTX460 card instead of a "VMware SVGA" card and you'd be able to install the actual drivers for said card. Essentially, VT-d does for your "other hardware" what VT-x does for your CPU.

However, for VT-d to work properly you also need the proper support in your virtualisation software and, as far as I know, that's still missing in virtualisation software for home use.

AMD's version of VT-d is called AMD-Vi, by the way.
PingCrosby 4th October 2011, 19:27 Quote
I'd heard there was a nasty bug going around
shuffle 4th October 2011, 19:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anneon
Hmmm.. I was holding out upgrading my old Q6700 machine for the sandy bridge-e. I guess i will buy up some old stock 2500k now.

oh wait.. yea my q6700 still kicks ass at 3.7ghz

Mines modestly clocked at 3ghz. I've decided to wait for Ivy Bridge, dont want to sound part of the brigade, but not enough reason to upgrade just yet. Maybe Battlefield 3 will change my mind!
Floyd 4th October 2011, 20:11 Quote
Im still rocking my "bugged" Launch day P67 board without issues. I opted out of the B3 freebee spree.
I dont think many people are going to cough up the moola for the new gear right away anywho minus the people that just have to be on the bleeding edge of hardware. Most people are still rocking Q6600 and the like just fine.
Heck I have 2 Q6600 still and use them all the time minus the 2500k in the main PC.
John_T 4th October 2011, 20:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob1234
...[Everything you said]...
Quote:
Originally Posted by azrael
...[Everything you said]...

Cheers for that gents - I love seeing stuff I don't understand being translated into English! :)
will_123 4th October 2011, 23:33 Quote
Without VT-d i wont be getting one of these. It would be pretty much essential for my work and uni. Not like it want to drop my 1366 930 anyway. Its been a great purchase and will be sitting in my case for a long time to come me thinks
Elton 5th October 2011, 00:56 Quote
I replaced my E8400 due to an upgrade bug, and well frankly, the need for a Quad Core. Outside of that, I wouldn't have even bothered.
bobwya 5th October 2011, 11:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by azrael-

Current Intel processors support two types of virtualisation, VT-x and VT-d. VT-x came about first (introduced with later Pentium4 models) and was originally known as "Vanderpool" (as opposed to AMD's "Pacifica", later known as AMD-V).

VT-x allows for hardware virtualisation of the CPU itself and because of that is the most important type of virtualisation. It's what really speeds up your VMs insofar as you are running any, because your VM can run code directly on your CPU instead of some emulated CPU.
...
However, for VT-d to work properly you also need the proper support in your virtualisation software and, as far as I know, that's still missing in virtualisation software for home use.

Yeh I am offered a VT-x support option in VirtualBox.

But I can't see many home users going socket 2011 - personally I looked at the power consumption and chocked (no better than socket 1366)!! Surely business users will want the full VT-d support for VMWare or similar??
DC74 5th October 2011, 15:49 Quote
I'm upgrading next week, buying a i7 2600K, I originally was going to wait for these, but since they aren't really aimed at the home user. Since Sandybdige E now has further problems, I'm glad I've decided on the 2600K.

But I will say that intel seems determined to hold onto their crown at all costs, perhaps they could do with a bit more extensive testing on things before they release them? This will be the 3rd major bungle by intel since I started building PC's. Anyone remember the divide by zero error on the original Pentium?, I do and it seems they haven't learned anything from this.
Tattysnuc 7th October 2011, 16:19 Quote
Won't be buying until it's fixed and they're next gen are out. Have been right royally ripped off with the last high end purchase, only for Intel to drop prices shortly after, so wont be making that mistake again (i7 950 and i7 970)
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