Intel resumes shipping of faulty Sandy Bridge chipsets

Written by Paul Goodhead

February 8, 2011 // 12:17 p.m.

Tags: #bug #chipset #cougar-point #fix #i5 #i7 #intel #problem #sandy-bridge #sata #sata-ports #silicon

After causing chaos among motherboard makers by revealing a flaw in its 6-series motherboard chipsets, Intel has announced plans to recommence shipments of the faulty silicon, before the fixed chips have even started shipping.

In a statement, Intel claims it decided to start reshipping the chipsets after lengthy discussions with computer manufacturers. 'As a result of these discussions and specific requests from computer makers,' says the company, 'Intel is resuming shipments of the Intel 6-series chipset for use only in PC system configurations that are not impacted by the design issue.'

The company also emphasises that 'only computer makers who have committed to shipping the Intel 6-series chipset in PC system configurations that are not impacted by the design issue will be receiving these shipments.'

The announcement follows Intel's recent exposure of a well publicised design fault that affects the 3Gbps SATA ports (typically ports 2 to 5) in Intel's P67 and H67 chipsets. As such, we assume that the new systems based on the faulty chipsets will either come with a separate SATA controller card, or that they will only use the two (unaffected) 6Gbps SATA ports provided by the chipset.

The decision to reship the unrevised silicon will also enable certain laptop manufacturers to continue using the chipsets, as their products are only ever likely to use two SATA ports in their lifetime anyway. Indeed it’s likely to be in their interests to use the defective chipsets, as we can only imagine that Intel is applying a hefty discount to the chips to get them shifted.

In the meantime, Intel also says it's now started manufacturing new versions of the chipsets with a silicon fix to solve the 3Gbps SATA problems, and that these will start shipping in mid-February. However, consumers aren't likely to see revised boards for a good while yet, as it will take a number of weeks for board partners to install the new chips, and then ship the updated boards over from Asia. Intel currently estimates that full production of boards based on Intel's 6-series chipsets won't be in full swing in April.

Have you been affected by the 6-series chipset debacle? Will you be replacing your board, or are you happy just sticking to the two SATA 6Gbps ports? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.
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