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.
Citing sources from upstream players, DigiTimes says Acer expects 3-4 percent of its total notebook shipments in the first quarter of 2011 will be affected by Intel's buggy 6-series chipset. Hewlett-Packard expects to be hit a little harder, noting internally that it could affect up to 6 percent of its shipments. The damage is done and there aren't many options for OEMs left holding the bag -- they can eat the loss, or shuffle around their lineup and try to make up the difference. HP is choosing the latter.
The whole Sandy Bridge situation doesn't have Acer wavering on its News Year's resolution to sell a boatload of notebooks. That's especially true now that Intel has green lighted shipments of 6-series motherboards to PC makers who cross their hearts and promise not configure builds using SATA ports potentially affected by the design flaw. Even though Sandy Bridge laptops account for a fifth of all notebooks Acer has either shipped or plans to ship in 2011, the OEM still aims to blitz the market with anywhere from 40-45 million notebook shipments by the end of the year, DigiTimes reports.
Do you think it’s too early to talk about Sandy Bridge’s successor? Well, Intel might have you talking about its Ivy Bridge processors as early as Computex Taipei 2011 (May 31 to June 4). According to a Digitimes report, which in turn cites a Chinese-language Commercial Times report, the chip maker will be showcasing its 22nm Ivy Bridge processors at Computex. The same report also suggests that AMD has greatly accelerated the production of it upcoming Llano APUs. Find out more after the jump.
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.
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.