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 Intelís latest Second Generation Intel Core processors, code-named Sandy Bridge.
The company 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 expects to begin delivering the updated version of the chipset to customers in late February and expects full volume recovery in April.
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 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 the first quarter of 2011, Intel expects this issue to reduce revenue by approximately US$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 affected by the issue. Total cost to repair and replace affected materials and systems in the market is estimated to be US$700 million.