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7 comments

Intel’s Billion Dollar Blunder

Posted February 03, 2011 12:00 AM by Kaplin

Intel's highly-anticipated and blazing-fast Second Generation Core processors, also known as "Sandy Bridge," launched last month at CES to large fanfare and great reviews. The company announced record earnings and saw their stock on the rise. Intel also announced that they were giving all of their employees 4X their normal bonus and an additional 3 days pay. Now, some of those employees might want to make sure they cash those bonus checks before Intel changes their mind, as a major defect has been discovered in the Second Generation Core chipsets.

The processors themselves are fine, but the issue is with the motherboards designed to work with these CPUs. The problem exists within the SATA controller. Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) is a bus interface for connecting hard drives and optical drives to the motherboard. Most of Intel's Series 6 Motherboards have six SATA connections: two of the newer SATA III (SATA 6.0Gbps) and four of the older SATA II (SATA 3.0Gbps).

The design flaw only affects the SATA II ports, so a user with a single hard drive and optical drive will never notice an issue. Anyone using the extra SATA ports will notice drive performance degrade rapidly over time, with the drive eventually not even being recognized by the computer.

Back to the Manufacturer
The bad news for Intel is that the fix requires a change in the silicon of the motherboard and can't be achieved with a firmware update. Production of the motherboards has been halted until the fix is in place. Intel is expected to resume production by the end of February and return to full volume in April.

The one good thing here is that Intel announced the flaw as soon as it was brought to their attention and halted production of the chips instead of trying to sweep the issue under the rug. Anyone who already purchased one of these systems should contact the PC manufacturer for information on a replacement.

Real-Time Effects
Intel's stock took a hit with the news of the expected $300 million in lost production and $700 million in recalling and replacing shipped units. This news is expected to delay many new desktop and laptop refreshes, including the new Mac Books that are still using Intel chips from two generations ago.

This news will surely be a huge boost for rival AMD who is set to launch their new six-core Bulldozer chips this spring, but Intel should be able to handle the hit based on their recent quarterly profit earnings of $3.39 billion.

With all the media attention focusing on these chipsets, check back next week for a full rundown of the Second Generation Core desktop chipsets and the differences between them.

More Info:
Intel Sandy Bridge Recall Expected To Delay PCs
The Source of Intel's Cougar Point SATA Bug
Fast Action Holds Intel Error to Mere $1 Billion

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#1

Re: Intel’s Billion Dollar Blunder

02/03/2011 1:30 PM

Ah, so THIS is the reason we are having exactly the symptoms described.

Our computer vendor and the HP factory guy who was here are telling us they have no idea what the trouble is...

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#2

Re: Intel’s Billion Dollar Blunder

02/04/2011 7:43 AM

And the people in Intell are always covering their flaws by delaying your complaints by one way or the other.

I have experienced it in Pakistan.

Pentium4-prescot-3.2GH was Overheating right from the start. I searched for the reason and found complaints about the processor.

I lodged to Intell in Pakistan about the problem repeatedly and asked them to the complaint by a UK resident on the same CPU if temperature in Pakistan is the problem. But they never took any responsibillity.

Please refer to my Post on CR4:

Pentium4, prescot, 3.2GH-Overheating

http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/7267?frmtrk=cr4sd#newcomments

<http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/7267?frmtrk=cr4sd>

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Anonymous Poster
#3

Re: Intel’s Billion Dollar Blunder

02/04/2011 2:35 PM

Does this apply to Pentium Duo-Core 1.6Ghz Processors?

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Guru

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Intel’s Billion Dollar Blunder

02/04/2011 2:45 PM

No, this only applies to Second Generation Core processors also known as Sandy Bridge. These processors were just released at the beginning of January 2011, so only systems sold in the past month are effected.

Pentium Dual-Core processors (which were discontinued in early 2010) were a budget version of the Core2Duo processors which was the family of processors that came before the First Generation Core CPUs.

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Anonymous Poster
#5

Re: Intel’s Billion Dollar Blunder

02/05/2011 9:06 PM

Bum bum bum bum!

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#6

Re: Intel’s Billion Dollar Blunder

02/09/2011 12:26 AM
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