It seems that there is some bad news for Intel and their Sandy Bridge platform. Today they published a press release detailing a “chip design error”. What’s worse is that this “error” cannot currently be fixed via a software or firmware update. Instead, a physical replacement of the chipset – meaning repairing or replacing the motherboard – will be required. Obviously, this is not good news for early Sandy Bridge adopters.
The guys over at Nordic Hardware attempted to contact Asus and Gigabyte soon after this went public but were given no details about how the replacement process will happen. The board vendors are probably wondering about exactly the same thing.
So, what exactly is “broken” on these boards? Anandtech’s article points to the press release details, saying that the issue lies with the part of the Cougar Point chipset responsible for controlling the SATA II ports on the motherboard. The two native SATA 6Gbps ports are not affected. The issue should not fry your hard drive, but may “slowly degrade performance over time” for those devices. Those who have already converted to Sandy Bridge will need check their manufacturer’s website for more information on how to start their recall process.
How much will this cost? Anandtech spoke with Steve Smith, Intel’s VP and Director of Intel Client PC Operations and Enabling, and reports that Intel is “committed to setting aside $700 million to deal with the repair and replacement of any affected chipsets.”