Monday, January 31st 2011

Intel Identifies Sandy Bridge Chipset Design Error, All Shipments Stopped

As part of ongoing quality assurance, Intel Corporation has discovered a design issue in a recently released support chip, the Intel 6 Series, code-named Cougar Point, and has implemented a silicon 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. 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 has corrected the design issue, and has begun manufacturing a new version of the support chip which will resolve the issue. The Sandy Bridge microprocessor is unaffected and no other products are affected by this issue.

The company expects to begin delivering the updated version of the chipset to customers in late February and expects full volume recovery in April. Intel stands behind its products and is committed to product quality. For computer makers and other Intel customers that have bought potentially affected chipsets or systems, Intel will work with its OEM partners to accept the return of the affected chipsets, and plans to support modifications or replacements needed on motherboards or systems. The systems with the affected support chips have only been shipping since January 9th and the company believes that relatively few consumers are impacted by this issue. The only systems sold to an end customer potentially impacted are Second Generation Core i5 and Core i7 quad core based systems. Intel believes that consumers can continue to use their systems with confidence, while working with their computer manufacturer for a permanent solution. For further information consumers should contact Intel at www.intel.com on the support page or contact their OEM manufacturer.

For the first quarter of 2011, Intel expects this issue to reduce revenue by approximately $300 million as the company discontinues production of the current version of the chipset and begins manufacturing the new version. Full-year revenue is not expected to be materially affected by the issue. Total cost to repair and replace affected materials and systems in the market is estimated to be $700 million. Since this issue affected some of the chipset units shipped and produced in the fourth quarter of 2010, the company will take a charge against cost of goods sold, which is expected to reduce the fourth quarter gross margin percentage by approximately 4 percentage points from the previously reported 67.5 percent. The company will also take a charge in the first quarter of 2011which will lower the previously communicated gross margin percentage by 2 percentage points and the full-year gross margin percentage by one percentage point.

Updated 2011 First Quarter and Full Year Outlook
Separately, Intel recently announced that it had completed the acquisition of the Infineon Technologies AG Wireless Solutions business, which will now operate as the Intel Mobile Communications group. The company also expects to complete the acquisition of McAfee by the end of the first quarter.

The effects of the chipset issue and these transactions are incorporated into the company's revised outlook. The company now expects first-quarter revenue to be $11.7 billion, plus or minus $400 million, compared to the previous expectation of $11.5 billion, plus or minus $400 million. Gross margin percentage is now expected to be 61 percent, plus or minus a couple percentage points, compared to the previous expectation of 64 percent, plus or minus a couple percentage points. Spending (R&D plus MG&A) is now expected to be approximately $3.6 billion, compared to the previous expectation of approximately $3.4 billion.

The full-year revenue growth percentage is now expected to be in the mid-to high teens, compared to the company's prior expectation of approximately 10 percent. Full-year gross margin is now expected to be 63 percent, plus or minus a few percentage points, compared to the previous expectation of 65 percent, plus or minus a few percentage points. Spending (R&D plus MG&A) is now expected to be $15.7 billion, plus or minus $200 million, compared to the company's previous expectation of $13.9 billion, plus or minus $200 million. Research and development (R&D) spending is now expected to be approximately $8.2 billion, compared to the previous forecast of $7.3 billion.

All other expectations for the first-quarter and full-year remain unchanged. With the exception of McAfee, the outlook for the first quarter and full year do not include the effect of any acquisitions, divestitures or similar transactions that may be completed after Jan. 31. The acquisition of McAfee is subject to customary closing conditions.
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166 Comments on Intel Identifies Sandy Bridge Chipset Design Error, All Shipments Stopped

#2
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Thanks to DonInKansas for the tip.
Posted on Reply
#4
overclocker!
i feel sorry for people who bought it. :eek:
Posted on Reply
#5
TheMailMan78
Big Member
All I know is there is a lot of E-peen hurting right now.
Posted on Reply
#7
Aleksander
That is really normal, it is Intel after all :D
Posted on Reply
#8
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
by: overclocker!
i feel sorry for people who bought it. :eek:
It isn't so bad, Intel is accepting RMAs on the affected processors. This is why I never buy the first revision of a processor release. Though to be fair, this isn't an issue with the processor, it is a problem with the integrated chipset.

by: Aleksander Dishnica
That is really normal, it is Intel after all :D
It isn't like AMD hasn't had some pretty big issues with their silicon...TLB anyone?:slap:
Posted on Reply
#9
Reaper83
Thats what happens when your only concern is quantity and not quality...
Posted on Reply
#10
happita
Upgrading from an i7 setup to a sandy bridge now won't get you a huge performance boost such as waiting for the i7 sandys. Then that will be for the highend epeeners :laugh:
But seriously, it's going to be great to see how it competes with Zambezi.
Posted on Reply
#11
DoomDoomDoom
It would explain the odd issue I get to where my system doesn't immediately recognize my second hard drive. Intel's partners need to get on the ball about RMAs for affected boards.
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#13
bear jesus
Is this all of the 6 series chip sets? as in everyone who bought them is effected?

Bad news for Intel but I'm sure a $700,000,000 hit won't be too bad for them in the long run.

:eek: The share price
Posted on Reply
#15
Static~Charge
by: newtekie1
It isn't so bad, Intel is accepting RMAs on the affected processors. This is why I never buy the first revision of a processor release. Though to be fair, this isn't an issue with the processor, it is a problem with the integrated chipset.
Which is even worse, because the chipset is soldered to the motherboard. This will require you to send the board back to the manufacturer for repair/replacement.

Intel has stopped shipment of the defective chipset, but what about those boards already on the shelves? Are they being recalled? Is there any way for end-users to identify if they have the defective chipset on their board?
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#16
[H]@RD5TUFF
by: bear jesus
Is this all of the 6 series chip sets? as in everyone who bought them is effected?

Bad news for Intel but I'm sure a $700,000,000 hit won't be too bad for them in the long run.

:eek: The share price
http://www.zdnet.co.uk/i/z5/illo/nw/story_graphics/11jan/intel-share-price-google-finance.jpg
It didn't even drop a dollar, lot less than what happened to Apple when Steve Jobs took time off a few weeks ago.

This doesn't seem to be the biggest problem they have had.

Also in before every AMD troll claims victory
Posted on Reply
#17
bear jesus
by: [H]@RD5TUFF
It didn't even drop a dollar, lot less than what happened to Apple when Steve Jobs took time off a few weeks ago.

This doesn't seem to be the biggest problem they have had.

Also in before every AMD troll claims victory
:laugh: come on, the stock market is so stupid, a sudden drop of like 25 cents is shocking and the end of the world :roll:
Posted on Reply
#18
madrooster
It still hasn't been confirmed as to which chipsets are affected, it may not be all chipsets.
Posted on Reply
#19
TheMailMan78
Big Member
by: [H]@RD5TUFF
It didn't even drop a dollar, lot less than what happened to Apple when Steve Jobs took time off a few weeks ago.

This doesn't seem to be the biggest problem they have had.

Also in before every AMD troll claims victory
I agree. Keep the trolling down and leave it to the professionals. This is bad news for a lot of our tech brothers.
Posted on Reply
#20
bear jesus
As it's the chip set is this bad news for the board makers?
Posted on Reply
#21
cadaveca
My name is Dave
by: bear jesus
As it's the chip set is this bad news for the board makers?
Yes/No. It may affect future purchases, so may have a negative impact on overall P67 board sales, but as this is Intel's problem; it'll be up to them to deal with the OEMs.
Posted on Reply
#22
DonInKansas
by: TheMailMan78
I agree. Keep the trolling down and leave it to the professionals.
We can't all be as pro as you, MailMan......:roll:

Just a blip on the radar. This will only really matter in the longrun to Intel hatin' AMD fanboys and the extreme enthusiasts who push their stuff hard enough that this becomes an issue.
Posted on Reply
#23
xbonez
As one of the early adopters of Sandy Bridge, I'm not so bothered myself because

Its a chipset problem, not a problem that affects the Processor directly. Motherboards weren't that expensive (I got mine for 150 bucks). yes, 150 isn't cheap if your motherboard dies in a month, but in a video conference with Anandtech, an Intel rep said that Intel believes these errors (regarding the SATA bus) will take 3 years or more to surface for end-users (take it with a pinch of salt), and will affect only about 15% of the customers (also, a pinch of salt).
Early adopters rarely are the ones who stick with a system for 3 years, and 3 years down the line, if my motherboard dies, I wouldn't mind shelling out some more money for a motherboard (God knows how much they'll sell for at that point).
Also, from what I've gathered, these errors do not affect the SATA ports on the Marvell controller, or the SATA 6GBps ports (again, 3 years down the line, chances are we'll all have moved on to them)

Any issues you read about people burning their chips/socket etc etc are almost certainly unrelated and an ID10T error caused by pushing far too much voltage to a 32nm chip.
Posted on Reply
#24
TheMailMan78
Big Member
by: DonInKansas
We can't all be as pro as you, MailMan......:roll:

Just a blip on the radar. This will only really matter in the longrun to Intel hatin' AMD fanboys and the extreme enthusiasts who push their stuff hard enough that this becomes an issue.
Ya see its simple. For every fanboy comment that is made against Intel karma notes. AMD will have something equal or worse happen to them in return. E-peen destruction everywhere. The world of peen will end as we know it.
Posted on Reply
#25
[H]@RD5TUFF
by: TheMailMan78
Ya see its simple. For every fanboy comment that is made against Intel karma notes. AMD will have something equal or worse happen to them in return. E-peen destruction everywhere. The world of peen will end as we know it.
by: TheMailMan78
I agree. Keep the trolling down and leave it to the professionals. This is bad news for a lot of our tech brothers.
Posted on Reply
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