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Old Jan 31, 2011, 09:40 AM   #1
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moshpit
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Default Intel 6 Series chipset has a serious flaw?

Information is sketchy still, but apparently Intel is cutting revenue forecasts over this chipset flaw due to it's seriousness. I'm still digging to find info on the flaw itself.

The error affects its Intel 6 series chipset, the company said, and it is prompting it to hold all shipments. The design error will reduce revenue by about $300 million.


Source: CNBC

Update: Thanks to Caveman_jim for this info:

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.


As more info comes in, we'll be discussing it in the comments link, just click and join in to get the latest.
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 09:45 AM   #2
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It is a hardware flaw in the 6 series SATA chips. The PCH. There is performance degradation for hard drives and optical drives.

Hopefully people's data are not being corrupted.
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 09:55 AM   #3
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Wow, so what happens to those of us who bought motherboards with this chipset already?!
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 09:59 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Och View Post
Wow, so what happens to those of us who bought motherboards with this chipset already?!
Most likely a bios fix of some kind. I haven't had any issues at all yet, so I don't know how wide spread it is or what causes it to happen.
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 10:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intel
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.
Just picked up from Guru3d...
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 10:19 AM   #6
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Shares of Intel (INTC) have been halted on Nasdaq, apparently pending some news. The shares had been unchanged at $21.45 at last trade, around 9.54 AM, Eastern.

Update: Intel has announced a design flaw was found in a chip accompanying its recently released “Sandy Bridge” line of PC processors. A fix is expected to be issued in February, and the result will be a $300 million reduction to Q1 revenue, it said, and will reduce Q1’s expected gross margin percentage by 1 point, to 61%. Full-year gross margin is expected to be 63%, versus 64%, previously.

As Intel described the matter:
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.
Intel has resumed trading and is down 37 cents, or 1.7%, at $21.09.
source

A silicon fix means that all your P67 board guys will need to contact your manufacturer for details on replacing the mainboard.
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 10:25 AM   #7
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source

A silicon fix means that all your P67 board guys will need to contact your manufacturer for details on replacing the mainboard.
The question I have is, obviously, since it's an "over time" thing, is if it's something that happens in certain scenarios or if it's just gonna happen to every chip no matter what kinda thing. Just on past experience, and the amount of time this announcement has taken since launch to get out, it's probably the former. I'd like to know more details about under what circumstances one can expect to encounter the flaw or if it will just happen anyway.
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 10:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moshpit View Post
Most likely a bios fix of some kind.
Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
A silicon fix means that all your P67 board guys will need to contact your manufacturer for details on replacing the mainboard.
Yeah, I was going to say that a BIOS fix might not be enough to prevent a physical degradation of a component. Ouch to anyone that might have to go through this process.

Kind of makes me glad I didn't buy into this round. I was this close to ordering a 2600k and Asus Sabertooth, when I decided to instead purchase a Winchester Super X2 and hold off on any upgrades for awhile.

Quote:
Originally Posted by moshpit View Post
The question I have is, obviously, since it's an "over time" thing, is if it's something that happens in certain scenarios or if it's just gonna happen to every chip no matter what kinda thing. Just on past experience, and the amount of time this announcement has taken since launch to get out, it's probably the former. I'd like to know more details about under what circumstances one can expect to encounter the flaw or if it will just happen anyway.
That's a good question. This maybe nothing more than something similar to the whole Socket Burnout fiasco, which never really amounted to much actual real world fanfare.
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 10:42 AM   #9
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To me this sounds like a manufacturing issue - either a cheap or wrong material used, causing the SATA controller operation to degrade over time. As this has been in market since CES, that's not that long at all.
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 10:42 AM   #10
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The big sites with contacts at Intel are in a conference call, so watch Anand/TechReport etc. for updates on this.
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 10:46 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ristogod View Post
That's a good question. This maybe nothing more than something similar to the whole Socket Burnout fiasco, which never really amounted to much actual real world fanfare.
It is serious enough that Intel is recalling every Sandy Bridge chipset out there. They have identified the problem and are shipping new ones to OEMs.

This is a big problem.
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 10:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ristogod View Post
That's a good question. This maybe nothing more than something similar to the whole Socket Burnout fiasco, which never really amounted to much actual real world fanfare.
This is my only remaining hope to keep from getting rather teary eyed. This is easily the finest rig I've ever built, I've never been so happy with a PC as I am with this one. If I have to break it all down again just to pull the mobo and send it back, I'll be doubly heartbroken. I'm hoping still that some counter-announcement comes out saying it's a specific scenario that causes the degradation and it's something I can simply not do (like using RAID or something). I hate chipset level RAID anyway, so it's not like being unable to safely use it would be any hair off my chest.
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 10:53 AM   #13
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Front page updated with new info, thanks to cavey! I went ahead and quoted the info you brought over and credited you with the find, Cave-meister!
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 10:55 AM   #14
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Intel's statement:

Quote:
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.
Intel

Per Scott Wasson of the techreport, it's a metal layer problem and so was an easy fix, but a design oversight.
Per Anand, Intel announced this today to everyone - partners get notified today - they're screwed.

Why are Intel rushing to get into market? Is the Sandy Bridge that delicate they needed to worry about Bulldozers?

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Old Jan 31, 2011, 11:03 AM   #15
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Can we call Sandy Bridge a paper launch now, as there won't be volume availability of chipsets and therefore motherboards until April?
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 11:08 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
Can we call Sandy Bridge a paper launch now, as there won't be volume availability of chipsets and therefore motherboards until April?
Not really. It did launch and there are a good number of them out there already. The fact that it's getting revised so early for a flaw is better then Intel letting it go on like Nvidia did with the bump-gate thing. Heading off the problem at the pass, so to speak. Who knows, maybe the respin will work out for us who have to RMA and we'll end up with even better overclocking or something sweet out of the deal

I'm not giving up on my 4.6Ghz now that I've just gotten there, dangit!
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 11:17 AM   #17
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5% failure rate over three years is the estimate. This will cost Intel $1Bn to fix.
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 11:22 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
5% failure rate over three years is the estimate. This will cost Intel $1Bn to fix.
Hmmm, then I don't need to really sweat anything just yet is what I'm thinking. I should be fine to keep ripping through my games at brutally high FPS?
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 11:25 AM   #19
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Yes, but I would not use that PC for any data you need to keep; i.e. unloading your pictures/video from digicams/corders, or recoding home movies, editing documents etc, unless you are using a drive connected to the secondary storage controller on the mobo.

Although once the problem starts to appear, your windows install will corrupt itself.
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 11:29 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
Yes, but I would not use that PC for any data you need to keep; i.e. unloading your pictures/video from digicams/corders, or recoding home movies, editing documents etc, unless you are using a drive connected to the secondary storage controller on the mobo.

Although once the problem starts to appear, your windows install will corrupt itself.


Fortunately, all primary storage is done over on my i7 920 rig as the LAN's local file server. But I would rather not play Russian Roulette with my sweet rig. I wonder how long till Asus issues it's announcements about how they'll be handling this?
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 11:45 AM   #21
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Looks like it affects the SATA2 3gbps ports, but not sure about the SATA3 6gbps ports (there are 2 on the Intel IOH for Cougar Point).
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 11:49 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
Looks like it affects the SATA2 3gbps ports, but not sure about the SATA3 6gbps ports (there are 2 on the Intel IOH for Cougar Point).
So I wonder if this presents a work around then? Stick your 3Gb devices on the 6Gb ports to avoid RMA'age?
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 11:51 AM   #23
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Could be, use the two 6gbps ports and the esata/additional sata controller ports?

8million Cougar Point chipsets sold btw, to be recalled.

Edit:

Yes, using the SATA 3 6gbps ports means you're ok:

Quote:
This is an issues with the 6 series chipset (Cougar Point) impacting SATA ports 2-5. If you are using ports 0 and 1 there are no issues. The issue was root caused and a new stepping (B2) is coming end of March.

If you have purchased 6 series platforms, call your supplier to return them (if you are intending to use SATA ports 2-5) All the ODM’s and OEM’s are notified and are being notified and they can give you more detail (or you can use me if you have more questions)
- Intel PR/Channel Account Managers

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Old Jan 31, 2011, 11:57 AM   #24
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Techreport update:

Quote:
The problem that's caused Intel to initiate a billion-dollar chipset recall affects the SATA ports on all 6-series chipsets, including the H67 and P67 chipsets most prominently used in consumer products. All of these chipsets are collectively referred to as "Cougar Point" inside of Intel. Because there are no third-party chipsets compatible with Sandy Bridge processors, all Sandy Bridge-based systems are potentially affected, including desktops, laptops, and BYOPC motherboards.

The issue is a circuit design problem resulting in a gradual degradation over time of SATA connectivity on the affected ports, manifesting itself as high bit-error rates on those ports and eventually as total device disconnects.

That's a serious issue, but it's limited in scope. Intel says storage devices connected to those ports should not be damaged, and data on the devices should be intact and readable on another system.

The ports potentially affected, interestingly enough, are the four 3Gbps SATA ports on the chipset. The two 6Gbps SATA ports aren't at risk.

As you may know, Intel pours millions of dollars into validation testing for product like these, and its partners at major PC makers do the same. This problem apparently wasn't detected early on because of its nature, involving a slow degradation of SATA connectivity over time. Intel estimates that something like 5% of systems could develop problems over a three-year life span, assuming typical laptop usage patterns. Beyond that time window, the failure rate might rise further. For systems with heavier usage patterns, the failure rate during that initial three-year window could be as high as roughly 15%. That's obviously high enough to warrant the drastic action Intel is taking.

The first evidence of the problem cropped up during extended testing by PC makers, after the chipsets had passed the initial validation stages within Intel and within the OEMs. Intel says it learned of the problem last week; understanding and characterizing the problem then took a few days. That analysis concluded last night, and the company put shipments of its chipsets on hold this morning. From what we can gather, Intel partners were only very recently notified of the problem, too.
http://techreport.com/discussions.x/20326
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 12:00 PM   #25
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AMD stock jumps 5% because of announcement,

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tec...k=MW_news_stmp
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 12:09 PM   #26
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All devices moved to 6Gbs ports now. I'm not giving my board up. Not till Z68 or whatever it's called at least.
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 12:30 PM   #27
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Doesn't this mean you get a free replacement? Why risk if you can switch. Oke, maybe wait 6 months or so, so you get a new one then. But still, if you ever need 2+ sata ports you are screwed.
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 12:34 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlpktnst View Post
Doesn't this mean you get a free replacement? Why risk if you can switch. Oke, maybe wait 6 months or so, so you get a new one then. But still, if you ever need 2+ sata ports you are screwed.
The whole "6 months or so" bit is what I'm thinking. Maybe more just like 4 months, but I just really am happy with this rig, and the thought of taking it apart just REALLY sux when I have it exactly as I want it.
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 01:18 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
Could be, use the two 6gbps ports and the esata/additional sata controller ports?

8million Cougar Point chipsets sold btw, to be recalled.

Edit:

Yes, using the SATA 3 6gbps ports means you're ok:
Quote:
This is an issues with the 6 series chipset (Cougar Point) impacting SATA ports 2-5. If you are using ports 0 and 1 there are no issues. The issue was root caused and a new stepping (B2) is coming end of March.

If you have purchased 6 series platforms, call your supplier to return them (if you are intending to use SATA ports 2-5) All the ODM’s and OEM’s are notified and are being notified and they can give you more detail (or you can use me if you have more questions)

- Intel PR/Channel Account Managers
Oh glad that i'm with asus board, it has 8 Sata ports
0 - 1 = Marvell sata 3: okay
0 - 1 = Intel sata 3: okay
2 - 5 = Intel sata 2: fail

but, to move my SSD from Sata Intel to Marvell is really bad idea
it slow!
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Old Jan 31, 2011, 01:28 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlpktnst View Post
Doesn't this mean you get a free replacement? Why risk if you can switch. Oke, maybe wait 6 months or so, so you get a new one then. But still, if you ever need 2+ sata ports you are screwed.
I'd be screwed, 4xSSD Raid 0 array.

The only reason Intel did this is so that I can not upgrade. I'll be holding off purchasing my components today with this news release.

Although, those I've spoken with say this issues seems to only be related to Intel boards ( not AIB partners ) I'm still going to hold off though and see if any partners release the same info.
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