So what if Nvidia and AMD make unlikely bed fellows, and who cares that the two are currently duking it out in the discrete graphics market? Certainly not Joe Gamer, the unbiased enthusiast who only wants to build the best gaming machine his budget will allow. Unfortunately for Joe, his decisions have always been partially dictated by artificial compatibility constraints, and the decision to roll with multiple Nvidia or AMD graphics cards depends on his choice of platform. Not anymore, folks!
Sandy Bridge is sitting pretty in the eyes of system builders now that the design flaw that affected initial shipments of early 6-series chipsets is a thing of the past. Looking ahead, things are about to get even better. Intel's Z68 Express chipset aimed at power users will bring some performance-oriented features to the table, and according to the latest rumor mill chatter, the chipset's launch is less than three weeks away.
Congratulations to any of you who picked "Ivy Bridge" in the office pool trying to guess which chipset Intel would finally implement native USB 3.0 support in. At the Intel Developer's Forum (IDF) in Beijing, Intel's Kirk Skaugen, vice president and general manager of Intel's Data Center Group, confirmed that at long last, USB 3.0 would be in the chip maker's cards, putting to rest conspiracy theories that the suits in Santa Clara would shun the spec in an attempt to promote Thunderbolt (Light Peak).
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.
We'll assume you're up to speed on the whole Sandy Bridge situation that's been covered at length here and elsewhere on the Web, but when new boards do start rolling off the assembly line, how can you be sure you're getting the newest revision? With regards to MSI, the company plans to slap a B3 revision sticker on updated P67 and H67 motherboards. There's another way you can ensure you don't get stuck with old inventory.
Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said Nvidia has been virtually unaffected by Intel's initially flawed 6-series chipset and is still on the same schedule to ship Sandy Bridge-based products, CNet reports. Huang made the comments during a conference call earlier ths week, and in a change of pace from what we've come to expect from the candidly outspoken CEO, he even heaped on a bit of praise for the company he once promised to "open a can of whoop-ass" on.
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.
Intel unintentionally put OEM system builders in a bad spot when the chip maker disclosed a design flaw in its 6-series chipset for the Sandy Bridge platform. OEMs were left scrambling to make the situation right with customers, whether it meant extending warranties, bypassing the buggy SATA ports by offering to install a free PCI-E SATA add-in card, or delaying builds until Intel is able to ship out a new batch of boards with a corrected chipset. The latter option means waiting until April, so Intel has come up with a different solution.
We are willing to bet that the Intel Sandy Bridge chipset flaw impacted Maximum PC readers more than just about anyone else out there, but a group of Best Buy representatives contacted by CNET also feel particularly hard done by. As one of the biggest PC OEM retailers in North America, Best Buy claims it was ready to go with print advertisements, and was already deep into new product training by the time the problem was discovered.
At this point, you're well aware of the "design flaw" affecting Intel's 6-series chipsets for Sandy Bridge. And if you've been keeping up with our related FAQ, you know that SATA ports 0/1 are unaffected by the bug. On Gigabyte boards, these are the two white SATA ports, which are both SATA 3.0. One way to figure out your SATA configuration is to tear off the side panel and take a peek inside, or you can download Gigabyte's new 6 Series SATA Check utility.