Intel says Cougar Point chipsets have design error!

The issue concerns the Serial-ATA (SATA) ports within the chipsets that may degrade over time.

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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.

Post updated on 26/01/11 at 11:00 p.m.

This is just in — a short FAQ on the topic provided by Intel.

First of all, this issue only affects the Intel® 2nd Generation Core™ i5 and Core™ i7 quad core based systems that have been shipping since January 9th, 2011. If you believe your PC may contain the affected part please follow the instructions below.

Question: How do I know if my PC contains the affected part?
Intel: If you purchased your system before January 9th, 2011 you do not need to do anything else.

Question: I’ve confirmed that my PC contains the part affected in this announcement. What should I do next?
Intel: If you believe you may be affected by this issue, please contact your place of purchase or your PC manufacturer. Intel is working with our PC manufacturing partners on a warranty return solution.

Question: What is the specific technical problem identified?
Intel: The parts that contain this potential problem includes the Intel® 6 Series (and the Intel® C200 Series Chipset). 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. This issue does not affect the processor but only affects the supporting chipsets. Intel has implemented a silicon fix to this problem.

Question:Where might I find more information about this issue?
Intel: Intel is committed to communicating openly with our valued customers and partners regarding this issue. To better respond to your questions, we have implemented a live chat feature on our Intel Customer Support page. You are also encouraged to contact your PC Manufacturer for more information on any warranty return process.

Source: Intel, Intel Blogs

We will post more information as it becomes available

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