The whole Sandy Bridge situation is finally starting to settle down, allowing Intel to put the chipset snafu behind them and move on. So too can OEM system builders, who have been receiving corrected 6-series motherboards since mid-February. That includes Puget, who announced it's now shipping systems using the corrected B3 revision motherboards.
Sequels are almost never as good as the original. There are exceptions, of course, and boutique system builder iBuyPower would like you to keep this in mind following its relaunch of gaming rigs with new Intel 6-series chipsets based on the B3 revision. What that means to Joe Gamer is he won't have to worry about any of the SATA 3Gbps ports flaking out over time.
News and rumor site Fudzilla is reporting that Intel will begin shipping the B3 stepping for its 6-series chipset part by Monday, February 14th. For those of you who live in a cave under a rock on another planet, the original 6-series chipset contained a "design flaw" that affected several SATA ports. Only SATA ports 0/1 were unaffected, as well as those that might have been provided by a third-party (like Marvell, for instance). The B3 stepping is supposed to address this.
One of the questions we cover in our continually updated FAQ regarding Intel's Sandy Bridge chipset fiasco is how OEMs plan to deal with the situation. With new parts not expected to ship until April, can you even buy a Sandy Bridge rig at this point? And what about Sandy Bridge systems that have already shipped?
There really isn't a single answer here, as it's up to each individual vendor to decide how to proceed. Boutique system builder Origin, for example, is offering a lifetime warranty for anyone who wants to roll the dice and the keep their Sandy Bridge system. Should something go wrong, Origin says it will foot the bill for all charges, including shipping. For new orders, Origin is offering to slap a PCI Express-based SATA II card free of charge to sidestep the potential issue, or you can wait it out until April when new boards ship.
Puget is taking a similar approach, in that it is offering to replace affected boards once the new parts arrive (no word on whether or not they'll cover shipping both ways). Alternately, Puget is also offering to ship out a SATA controller card, which might be the most painless solution.
What you can take away from all this is that you can still purchase a pre-built Sandy Bridge system, just be sure to check with your vendor of choice before hand to see what your options are when the updated silicon starts shipping.
Intel yesterday announced it discovered a design issue in its 6-Series chipsets intended for Sandy Bridge processors and opted to halt shipments of new boards. News of the flaw spread almost immediately across the Internet, though it took some time for popular vendors to pull potentially affected motherboards from their virtual store shelves. Today is a different story.
A quick glance online shows that Sandy Bridge boards are increasingly difficult to come by. While you can easily find and purchase Sandy Bridge processors, which Intel ensures are in tip-top shape, we couldn't find a single socket 1155 motherboard at Micro Center, MWave, Newegg, TigerDirect, or ZipZoomFly.
While the issue puts Sandy Bridge builders in limbo, the financial impact to Intel is estimated at $700 million, which is the total cost to repair and replace busted boards and systems.
To keep abreast of this ongoing situation, be sure to bookmark our continually updated FAQ, in which we post more questions and answers as additional info surfaces.
Santa Clara, we have a problem. That's the message Intel engineers had to deliver to company execs after discovering a "design issue" in the company's 6-Series chipsets. The issue is severe enough that Intel decided to halt shipments while it implements a 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," Intel said in a statement. "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 said it has already corrected the issue and has started making a new version of the support chip that doesn't have the design flaw. In addition, the Santa Clara chip maker says Sandy Bridge processors and other other related products are unaffected.