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Intel Bug

Intel Resumes Shipping of Faulty Sandy Bridge Chip 203

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the oh-that'll-be-fine dept.
arcticstoat writes "After causing chaos among motherboard makers by revealing a flaw in its 6-series motherboard chipsets, Intel has announced plans to recommence shipments of the faulty silicon, before the fixed chips have even started shipping. Intel claims it decided to start reshipping the chipsets after lengthy discussions with computer manufacturers. "As a result of these discussions and specific requests from computer makers,' says the company, 'Intel is resuming shipments of the Intel 6-series chipset for use only in PC system configurations that are not impacted by the design issue." The announcement follows Intel's recent exposure of a well publicised design fault that affects the 3Gbps SATA ports (typically ports 2 to 5) in Intel's P67 and H67 chipsets. As such, we assume that the new systems based on the faulty chipsets will either come with a separate SATA controller card, or that they will only use the two (unaffected) 6Gbps SATA ports provided by the chipset."
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Intel Resumes Shipping of Faulty Sandy Bridge Chip

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  • Keep the Taint (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sponge Bath (413667) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @10:43AM (#35137568)
    This will confuse people and make them wary of Sandy Bridge based machines for years. "Is this box tainted? I don't know, and the manufacturer won't tell me. I guess I'll buy something else." A nice clean break of recalling *all* defective machines and shipping only good silicon would have been better.
    • by chemicaldave (1776600) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @10:51AM (#35137698)
      I'm sure there's a list of affected processors with the range of serial #s. Something easy to check.
    • Re:Keep the Taint (Score:4, Interesting)

      by noidentity (188756) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @10:56AM (#35137776)
      Assuming Intel fixes (or has already done so) their documentation for this run of chips, how is this any different than a chip not performing beyond its specs? It's like days past when they shipped an FPU-less CPU, when it was really the FPU model but with defects in the FPU. In this case, it's part of the I/O system. Again, assuming they spec these chips as just not having this part of the I/O system. Presumably the ones with this part working will have a clearly-different part number that can easily be determined by looking at the chip. I just don't see the problem.
      • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @01:07PM (#35139602)

        the diff is that you query the chipset and unless it lies to you, it will say it has 6 ports.

        if it does lie and show you only good ports, its not quite as bad; but then again, you don't always have to query the chip - by the make/model of the chip, you should know - at the driver level - how many X and Y ports to expect. the static mappings will need to be fixed, also.

        I don't ever want a system to report these ports as even being there.

        • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @04:44PM (#35142624)

          the diff is that you query the chipset and unless it lies to you, it will say it has 6 ports.

          If only two of those ports are physically connected, why does it matter ?

        • by noidentity (188756) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @05:29PM (#35143198)

          the diff is that you query the chipset and unless it lies to you, it will say it has 6 ports.

          if it does lie and show you only good ports, its not quite as bad; but then again, you don't always have to query the chip - by the make/model of the chip, you should know - at the driver level - how many X and Y ports to expect. the static mappings will need to be fixed, also.

          This is why Intel would need to first update its specs so that model Sandy Bridge 1234 only has 4 ports or whatever. Yes, chips already shipped before this problem was found should be replaced or some kind of refund for the lower functionality than originally claimed.

          Essentially, Intel shipped chips that they thought had features A and B, and people bought it expecting those. Intel later found that it lacked B. As long as it compensates people who bought it with claimed features A and B, there's nothing wrong with Intel continuing to sell the chips as long as they only claim that it has feature A, and make clear that they lack feature B (and update documentation/specs). Obviously people who originally heard of the chip supporting features A and B and perhaps incorporated this into software must inform themselves of this change. Intel could simply things by simply giving these chips a new part number, so that nobody would have false expectations of its features.

          Sometimes it seems like a company just can't win here at Slashdot. No matter what they do, no matter how logical and practical, the "evil corporation" demon is always found in their actions. Maybe what Intel is doing is evil, but the claimed reasons do not point unambiguously to evil. But what the hell do I know, I guess Intel should just junk all these chips, since clearly they are of no freaking use to anyone, and would just rip people off if they sold them.

    • Re:Keep the Taint (Score:4, Insightful)

      by xMrFishx (1956084) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @10:59AM (#35137828)
      Nah most consumers will be completely oblivious, and as stated, will not affect that many people. OEMs will just not use/block off the faulty ports and carry on as normal. The faulty boards for consumer space (system builders) will probably only count for a microscopic number of boards made at the start of production and will just get recalled and thrown at OEMs for closed-box systems. System builders really don't count for that many sales, and they're really the few that care. As long as the OEMs can cope with it, which they can, all will be fine.
    • Re:Keep the Taint (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:00AM (#35137840) Homepage

      Disable it in BIOS, remove the physical ports, update the specs. Sure it'll be an odd configuration to only ship with 2 SATA ports, but it won't be a "taint". I'd be very surprised if after all this, Intel will let OEMs ship machines with faulty ports. Personally I wouldn't mind a 4 port SATA card that I could bring along to my next machine.

      In fact, I'm surprised that Intel hasn't made a cheap SATA controller of their own, the cheapest 4-port controller card I can find costs 313,- NOK while you can get a full H67 motherboard with 6 ports for 667,- NOK. Discrete controller cards are extremely overpriced.

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:17AM (#35138054) Journal
        The fact that a single PCI expansion card costs half as much as an entire motherboard does seem rather anomalous. I can only assume that economies of scale have something to do with it...

        You also seem to be getting a bit stiffed in the SATA controller department, though. My Google overlord reports that you are looking at almost $55 for a 4 port. Prices stateside start at just under $40.
      • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:23AM (#35138102)

        with the low pci-e lanes and pci-e based usb3 there not a lot of room to add pci-e sata cards and the pci-e x1 cards don't have a lot of bandwidth to work with.
        Gigabit LAN also uses pci-e
        also some boards also have a pci-e to pci chip on them as well.

        Even if a board has light peak it will likely need 2-4+ pci-e lanes so 4+20? is not much with video at 16.

      • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @01:09PM (#35139626)

        the intel ICH hub chips (if they still call them that) are unequal in off-hub pci-e ports. the ICH sata ports also support port multipliers (nicely) and they are so fast and stable, I often buy intel cpus JUST for their northbridge chip.

        I would not want to go back to pci-e cards for sata ports. not really. they are always 2nd best to the main sata ports.

        • by Rockoon (1252108) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @02:58PM (#35141170)
          Intel has abandoned this model and are pushing both SATA and PCIe over the same bus now.

          Specifically, with the exception of the graphics-specific 16/8/8 PCIe ports (the pair of 8's are optional), they all converge on the 20 Gbps DMI link that is specific to Sandy Bridge (regardless of the chipset.) The problem chipset supports 8 PCIe 2.0 x1's (or 4 x2's, ...) that are each 5 Gbps, faster than the 4 SATA 2.0 ports (3 Gbps each) we are talking about today.

          Totaling it up, 8 x 5 Gbps + 4 x 3 Gbps + 2 x 6 Gbps = 64 Gbps of external capacity .. all running over that fixed 20 Gbps Sandy Bridge DMI link (and this isnt counting the fact that USB and Ethernet are *also* carried over the DMI link) .. Basically, Sandy Bridge is I/O gimped. The chipset supports these technologies as bullet points in literature, but not as a matter of actual practice because of the processor they are tied to.

          So the issue isnt really that a PCIe SATA 2.0 replacement is going to suck.. its going to be just as fine as those built in 2.0 ports.. This chipset problem really hasnt changed anything .. and thats because its trivial to build a system that full saturates the 20 Gbps link regardless.

          Since most consumers arent doing 20 Gbps I/O, its not much of an issue .. and those that wanted more than 20 Gbps, well.. they were screwed anyways.
    • Re:Keep the Taint (Score:5, Informative)

      by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7&cornell,edu> on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:40AM (#35138332) Homepage

      It's simple - The manufacturer needs to commit to a situation where there is NO way a user can connect anything to the affected ports. Which is what Intel is requiring them to do.

      Most low to midrange laptops are in this category - They have only two SATA devices (one hard drive, one optical drive), and no physical provisions for adding another. These laptops could contain a defective chip and it would not make ANY difference because there is no way to connect to the affected SATA ports. (Higher-end laptops support dual hard drives or eSATA and we won't see this with SNB unless they fall into the next category...)

      A manufacturer can also produce a motherboard that uses the chipset SATA for the first two ports and an offboard controller for any additional ones - Manufacturers were probably doing this already in order to offer six 6 Gbps SATA ports instead of 2 6 gig and 4 3 gig ports. Users with a configuration like this also will not ever be affected by the issue.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @12:24PM (#35138984) Homepage

        Thing is nVidia tried that and it didn't turn out so well for them. Slightly different circumstances but it should serve as a warning anyway.

        Their chipsets were spec'ed to run at high temperature (80C+) continually. That suited laptop manufacturers as it means less cooling is required, making the laptop smaller, lighter and quieter. Problem is that after a few months the chipset would fail.

        Their solution to this was to release BIOS updates that down-clocked the GPU in an attempt to keep temperatures down. This of course enraged consumers who got an inferior product to the one they bought. It also only prolonged the life of the machine until outside the warranty period.

        Intel is taking a chance with this one.

        • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7&cornell,edu> on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @01:07PM (#35139600) Homepage

          The NVidia problem was an issue with packaging reliability, extremely similar to the Xbox 360 RRoD problem. It also is a case where NVidia thought there were no problems and didn't realize there were problems until after lots of failure reports started rolling in. In the days of RoHS, reliable packaging and soldering of BGA chips is a VERY tough problem.

          This is a whole other situation - Intel caught this in advance, and has identified the problem down to the specific transistor level. They know exactly what is likely to fail and what isn't.

          Really, this is more similar to NVidia or ATI selling "defective" chips with a few bad pixel pipelines as lower-end chips with those pixel pipelines disabled.

      • by petermgreen (876956) <plugwashNO@SPAMp10link.net> on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @01:00PM (#35139510) Homepage

        Which is what Intel is requiring them to do.
        On what do you base this statement?

        According to TFA (unfortunately the intel site linked from TFA seems to be down at the moment so I can't follow things back to the source) intel said "PC system configurations that are not impacted by the design issue". That is a bit of a vauge statement, does it mean systems that aren't impacted by the issue if kept as sold? or does it mean systems that can't become impacted by the issue through user upgrades?

        I suspect and hope it means the latter but I can't seem to find any confirmation either way

    • by thetartanavenger (1052920) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:46AM (#35138416)

      This will confuse people and make them wary of Sandy Bridge based machines for years. "Is this box tainted? I don't know, and the manufacturer won't tell me. I guess I'll buy something else." A nice clean break of recalling *all* defective machines and shipping only good silicon would have been better.

      If the manufacturer isn't actually making use of that part of the chip, is it really taint? The consumer doesn't need to care if one of these chips is in there because all they should really care about is the specs of the board they're buying. If the specs are good enough, then what's the problem?

      Processor designers have been doing similar things for years in a slightly different fashion, i.e Pentium vs Celeron, Athlon vs Duron. Also, these are chipsets so it's not as if the consumer will be able to use the chip in another machine, or really ever get at the faulty silicon. Whats more, the general consumer won't even realise. Only us techies who will most likely be more concerned with the specs will care.

    • by Z00L00K (682162) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @12:34PM (#35139122) Homepage

      I will certainly avoid that chipset if I can.

      AMD will probably be preferred for upcoming purchases.

    • by rwade (131726) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @12:36PM (#35139162)

      Does this remind anyone of Capacitor Plague? Look at the resale prices of potentially affected Dells to get an idea of the impact of these kinds of decisions. There will be all of these hardware rev numbers and manufacturers won't be forthcoming with information on which units have which. It's ridiculous.

      • by default luser (529332) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @01:39PM (#35140048) Journal

        Does this remind anyone of Capacitor Plague? Look at the resale prices of potentially affected Dells to get an idea of the impact of these kinds of decisions. There will be all of these hardware rev numbers and manufacturers won't be forthcoming with information on which units have which. It's ridiculous.

        The capacitor issue was pervasive and took years for the problems to manifest themselves.

        Since the failed parts were made by a third-party, many computer makers were hesitant to acknowledge the problem as their responsibility. At the same time, a complete lack of part traceability (due to a gray market for things like capacitors) meant that manufacturers could not easily point fingers, so they kept quiet until more information was available.

        This failed chipset is made by Intel, and is used only in Intel systems. The failure was introduced late in the product development cycle, and not enough testing was done on the final silicon (it was assumed that earlier intensive tests were enough). Intel is supporting a full no-questions-asked recall of all boards sold before the product was pulled from the market, and they are working through both major retailers and manufactuers.

        In my case, Newegg sent an email guaranteeing an extension of the return period until they release new silicon, and that they will supply me a new replacement board at that time. Most board manufactures have also publicly announced replacement plans for those users who have no easy way to return their board to the original point of purchase (some have even pledged free return shipping as well).

        If Intel continues to ship the 67-series chipsets, they should have no further issues if the 3Gbps SATA ports are disabled. Since many manufacturers already have "enthusiast" motherboards with 2-4 additional 6Gbps SATA ports, a quick price cut could make these boards attractive even with half the ports disabled. There could be other flaws in the rest of the chipset, but you take that chance with every new computer you purchase.

    • Actually, this will confuse the home builders perhaps, and gaming system purchases. Most of the rest of the computer-purchasing public will be completely unaware of the issue, so I'd expect it to have minimum impact on sales.
    • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @01:04PM (#35139582)

      intel probably thought it would pull back all SB chips.

      then, the hungry mobo makers said 'we have cpus sitting here and we can't sell them you morans!'. semi true, too; I've seen cpu 'sales' on the new chips and people are debating if they should buy a chip and wait for the mobo later. that seems insane to me, though.

      so intel got pressure from partners say 'we'll just NOT connect those ports'.

      still, I would never buy SB now. the 'gene pool' is going to be polluted. am I buying a good board or not? what if I want to connect to that 'bad' set of ports later? on a laptop its less of an issue so those can get a free pass but all the others that are proper mobo based should not get such a free pass.

    • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @04:43PM (#35142604)

      This will confuse people and make them wary of Sandy Bridge based machines for years.

      No it won't.

      Only a vanishingly small proportion of customers will even know what a chipset is, let alone which specific model is in their PC.

      Of *those*, probably half of them only ever buy along party lines, so a flaw in an Intel chipset is irrelevant to them.

      Of the remainder, most will be aware of the issue and account for it. That's assuming, of course, one of these defective chipsets even gets into a system that has more than two SATA ports anyway, in itself a highly improbably outcome.

    • by couchslug (175151) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @04:53PM (#35142732)

      Only enthusiasts will know or care about this issue so long as the PC they are sold works as advertised.

  • Awesome! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xx01dk (191137) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @10:46AM (#35137630)
    This is highly relevant to my interests as I embarked upon an upgrade crusade about a week ago to replace my aging PC (circa 2008 tech). I had just got caught up on all the new architecture, and then I read about the recall. Massive bummer. I'm still going to hold off until the fixed boards actually still coming out since I have a bunch of SATA drives and I do not want the trade off of a discrete SATA card taking up one of the slots, but it was mighty tempting to go get an i5 2600K that our local PC store had labeled on it's website as a return... for $125.

    Heck, I may still go check it out (if it's still there) as that's at least $100 off retail, and I'm guessing it was returned because of this whole fiasco. I'm just loathe to have it sit around as a paperweight until at least April!
    • Re:Awesome! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Viol8 (599362) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:15AM (#35138030)

      "replace my aging PC (circa 2008 tech)"

      Yeah , 2008 , thats like totally ancient dude. Not.

      Christ , no wonder we have an electronics waste mountain and all its associated pollution issues when people like you bin perfectly servicable and upgradable machines.

      • Re:Awesome! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Arccot (1115809) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:43AM (#35138382)

        "replace my aging PC (circa 2008 tech)"

        Yeah , 2008 , thats like totally ancient dude. Not.

        Christ , no wonder we have an electronics waste mountain and all its associated pollution issues when people like you bin perfectly servicable and upgradable machines.

        Who said he's throwing it away? Or even that he's replacing every part of it?

        Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed or something?

      • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:58AM (#35138588) Homepage

        Assuming he actually bins it. My desktop tends to replace my dad's machine that'll replace my mom's machine and sometimes a generation is used as my server. So barring hardware failure it can easily last 12 years even if I replace it every three. Or just sell it on the second hand market or whatever. If you are one of those still pushing the limits - even if it's just for entertainment like gaming - then three years is still a long time.

      • by xx01dk (191137) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @12:05PM (#35138670)
        Perhaps I should explain. My Phenom 9850 works just fine, it's my mobo that's actually dying, bit by bit. I've lost functionality of one of the PCI-E slots, two of the USBs, the Ethernet, and the audio. So it's going in the waste bin, yes. I'll probably freecycle the chip and ram though. So, I'm not upgrading just so I can have the latest-greatest-up-to-datest; it's an actual need, not that I need to justify it to internet tough guys like you.

        Thanks for judging me, though. :)
    • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:16AM (#35138044)

      This is highly relevant to my interests as I embarked upon an upgrade crusade about a week ago to replace my aging PC

      I'm very happy with my four core Phenom II. Powerful, quiet, cheap - pick all three.

    • Re:Awesome! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:44AM (#35138390)

      What? 2008 is "aging tech"?

      I've recently replaced a 2006 processor with 2009 processor (per date stamp on the chip casing itself) - AM2 Athlon64 X2 with AM3 Phenom II 820. It even fit in the same socket of my "aging" 2006 ASUS board.

      So what is the point? This isn't 1995 anymore. You are not doubling performance every 2 years, heck, single threaded performance has been about the same for the last 5 years (more or less). 2008 is only 2 years old - today's chips are about the same performance as they used to be, you get more cores now. CPU is a commodity item thees days. For the last few years, it's at the "good enough" and the "wow factor" is gone.

    • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7&cornell,edu> on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:46AM (#35138424) Homepage

      Some manufacturers are likely to offer motherboards with a discrete controller on the motherboard to offer additional ports. Manufacturers have been doing this for ages. My file server from 2006 has two SATA ports from its NVidia chipset and 4 from an on-motherboard but off-chipset Silicon Image controller.

      In fact even before the flaw was announced I believe a number were offering this simply so they could advertise more than two 6 Gbps SATA ports.

  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @10:49AM (#35137682)
    when companies did this stuff and didn't tell us? When XP hit those upgrade installs were blowing up because the big manufactures stuck bad RAM into Win98 boxes knowing it would never be used (Windows 98 won't used RAM past 256M unless you hack the registry, it'll use the page file instead). Well, the XP install copies the whole disk into RAM before copying it out to disk, so BOOM, there goes your XP install. Usually couldn't recover.

    At any rate, this is just great. I'm sure the lower end manufactures will be just pleased as punch to make sure those broken ports don't get used. You know, if it made it into production it must work just well enough to blame the problems on the OS when you call for a warranty swap.
    • by TheEyes (1686556) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:08AM (#35137954)

      Oh, but it's even better than that, from the manufacturer's point of view. The SATA flaw will take time to actually surface [anandtech.com], and even then it'll only gradually make your machine unworkable, so by that time you'll be out of warranty, and the manufacturer won't care.

      • by PPalmgren (1009823) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @04:14PM (#35142222)

        I had something similar happen with my bluray player, been fighting Samsung for almost a month about it. You have to install updates to play the new movies, and the update breaks the ability for the bluray player to play DVDs. They want to charge me $160 per device (3 players!) to fix functionality that their update broke. I think I'm getting my point across to everyone I talk to, but it has to get "elevated" and they never contact me back. Its BEYOND frustrating and they've probably screwed thousands of people with the exact same BS.

    • by 0123456 (636235) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:15AM (#35138034)

      Windows 98 won't used RAM past 256M unless you hack the registry, it'll use the page file instead

      Um, no.

      • by operagost (62405) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:34AM (#35138252) Homepage Journal
        To clarify, Windows 98 couldn't use more than 512 MB because of a bug in the disk cache. All you had to do was lock the cache to 512 MB max and you could use 2 GB of RAM. If you didn't, the system would (ironically) throw up out-of-memory errors immediately. I won't rule out that some idiot at a mom'n'pop shop built Windows 98 boxes with faulty RAM figuring it would never be used by the average Joe, but they weren't taking advantage of any Windows quirk.
    • by Macman408 (1308925) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @01:35PM (#35140016)

      They still do this, and don't tell you (though you can probably figure it out if you look hard enough). A mid-range CPU is probably the same silicon as the high-end one, but with a core or two disabled, or some cache disabled, or the clock speed lower, or whatever else they may have needed to do. Ditto GPUs - the GeForce 570 appears to be [wikipedia.org] the same silicon as a GeForce 580, but with one SM disabled, a narrower memory interface, and lower clocks. Each chip that is manufactured is slightly different from every other one - some have weak spots in a certain area, some have defects in certain places, some are faster, some are slower. Rather than throwing out a large percentage of the chips, they sell them as different models, where each chip is fully capable of working to the specs it is sold at. This means lower costs for everybody, because companies can sell almost all of their chips instead of throwing them away because they didn't meet the highest possible specifications.

      If I were in the market for a computer with 2 SATA ports, I'd have no reservations buying one of these. It won't make a damn bit of difference if the other ports are not being used - in fact, not being used is quite likely to make them last longer, not that you'd notice.

      And if you think that you've ever bought a "perfect" chip, or that the next spin of this chipset will be perfect, you've never seen the Errata list from a complex IC. Most big chips have tens or sometimes hundreds of known bugs. Most of those bugs are very minor. Some get workarounds in firmware, software, or drivers; some others may have no workaround, but the visible effect is minimal. Others are big (like a broken SATA port here) and necessitate a new spin of the chip to get the product the company wants. I've even seen errata that simply say "Feature X does not work. There is no workaround." when feature X was described in detail in the user guide (directed at the system designer, not the end user) and made up close to 10% of the manual. I've also seen errata that are identical between different manufacturers' products, making me wonder if they bought the IP for the broken feature from the same IP company, or if the IEEE standard for the feature was somehow non-functional, causing the feature to not work if the spec was properly implemented.

      Bottom line: yawn.

    • people actually did upgrade installs from windows 98??????? Did they also try from Windows ME?
  • by DarthVain (724186) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @10:52AM (#35137714)

    If a Laptop uses a faulty chipset, but is only configured to use the two 6GB SATA ports, it will be entirely unaffected by the bug, as it only effects the 3GB SATA ports. Since there is really no way for the consumer to actually use the 3GB ports, it will never have the bug problem.

    So yes in cases like that, it makes sense to keep shipping. Those laptops are perfectly fine.

    When I read the title I was a bit leery until I thought about it for a second. I know when I buy my new desktop one eventually, I don't want there to be a chance I get a faulty one!

  • For high-end systems with a hardware raid controller (battery-backed write caches are nice for databases) this shouldn't be a problem; or am I missing something.
  • by DarthVain (724186) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @10:56AM (#35137774)

    So long as it is priced accordingly (i.e. discount) and the specifications are transparent (i.e. they don't try to trick people), then that is fine, I can base my decision to buy on features, which will include one less PCI slot than others due to extra card etc...

    If I was Intel, I would be hesitant to do this however (outside of laptops that are unaffected), as it is ripe for possible abuse by less reputable manufactures, and in the end it will be Intel's reputation at stake.

    • by expatriot (903070) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:51AM (#35138490)

      I agree. It will be OK if it is completely transparent. For example a different part number.

      The Pentium bug was different. It affected all processors and there was no trivial work around. It probably did not actually affect many people, but there was no way to know if you might be affected by a real-world computation error or not.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:04AM (#35137910)

    Although us geekier types read, "recommence shipments of the faulty silicon," and scream, "Well that's a fine idea of how to get rid of a warehouse of faulty chips!"

    Didn't we have this with Intel already, with floating point division? Oh, yeah, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentium_FDIV_bug [wikipedia.org] .

    And Devo did a song about it, years before it happened:

    "When chip bug comes along . . . you must ship it! Ship it! Ship it good!"

    I wonder if the sales kid at your local super-computer store will inform you, "Oh, by the way, this model has a faulty chip." Or, maybe a sticker on the computer: "Faulty Intel Chip Inside!" That should do wonders for sales.

    I remember that once the floating point division problem got mainstream press coverage, folks got all ornery, despite statements from Intel that most users would never see this problem. Most folks don't even know what floating point is. Intel eventually bought off the math prof who discovered the bug, by giving him testing contract. He deserved it, because he did a damn good job tracking down the bug. He is really, "a geek's geek."

  • by sitkill (893183) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @11:43AM (#35138378)
    Do we really have to keep calling this a Sandy Bridge issue? This isn't a sandy bridge issue, the name Sandy bridge is for the CPU. The issue is NOT with the CPU, it's with the chipset Cougar point. The Sandy Bridge is (so far) perfectly fine, and has no issues at all. Of course, I guess "Intel Resumes Shipping of Faulty Cougar Point chip" doesn't seem as catastrophic.
  • by MikeURL (890801) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @12:00PM (#35138608) Journal
    The more I read about this the more it seems like Intel really went overboard halting production on everything. For starters this flaw doesn't impact all the SATA ports. For the ports it does impact it only happens in a small % of devices and even in those devices it is a progressive problem (meaning they won't be DOA).

    I'm sure this was a tough decision because who the hell wants to hear their their new PC has a problem that they can work around by being sure not to use SATA 5. Most people don't even know what a SATA is. Also, if Intel tried to handle it quietly by working with PC makers to disable those ports then /. et al would have gone batshit insane when we found out.

    It could be a case of puking everything out there and taking the worst hit right up front and then saying "well if you PC makers insist we can give you crippled MBs that don't use those ports. Personally for a steep enough discount I'd be happy to take one of these mobos.
    • by Rockoon (1252108) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @01:16PM (#35139736)
      The issue, I think, it that Intel has no plans to replace Sandy Bridge with a new architecture any time soon.. so public impression is of long-term importance here. If Sandy Bridge was just a small step towards a major revision then that would be one thing, but instead Sandy Bridge *is* a major revision and they will be stuck with it for a very long time.

      Now add in that AMD is putting out its own major revision in two months (the first in many many years), and all the signs currently indicate that they will have offerings on par with i7 performance. Intel is afraid of AMD because when left unchallenged AMD proved that in the desktop marketplace, it is very easy to lose market share very quickly (AMD roared to 50% market share when Intel was bumbling around wih P4's, and there is some question as to how much of the remaining 50% Intel actually deserved vs how much was due to its anti-competitive backroom deals which it was convicted of)

      AMD hasnt been much of a threat in the desktop space because they have been a generation behind on process technology, and additionally opted not to do any major revisions while it was folding the ATI acquisition into its business. But here it is.. process size parity and a major revision just a few months away.. Intel cannot tolerate a long term hit to the brand, with customers for years wondering if they are getting a "good" or "bad" chipset with their purchase.
    • by gnasher719 (869701) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @02:13PM (#35140538)

      The more I read about this the more it seems like Intel really went overboard halting production on everything. For starters this flaw doesn't impact all the SATA ports. For the ports it does impact it only happens in a small % of devices and even in those devices it is a progressive problem (meaning they won't be DOA).

      In the UK, the manufacturer has to fix a computer for six years _if the fault was present when the computer was sold_. If the customer buys a computer with a perfectly fine SATA port and it breaks after one year and one day because of bad luck, that's the customer's problem. If the customer buys a computer with a chip that was broken on day one, but only affecting operation after a few years, that is the manufacturer's problem.

  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @12:25PM (#35138988) Homepage

    Let's take a step back and look at what SATA 6 Gbps actually offers: 6 Gbps signal rate. Do the usual Shitachi or Fushitsu hard drives favored by OEMs even come close to 6 Gbps ? No. They can't even hit 1 Gbps, but they're inexpensive and most of the time the PC around them is limited in countless other ways.

    Even a high-end, performance-oriented hard drive will barely scratch the ceiling of first-gen SATA's 1.5Gbps, so your little gamer friend is also not seeing any tangible benefit from SATA 6Gbps.

    So this leaves two very small niches: SSDs which already hit the 3Gbps mark, and port multipliers. I pity the fool who drops a small fortune on a port multiplier enclosure, only to plug it into a low-cost Sandy Bridge PC. As for the SSDs, well you still need to buy a special one whose controller also runs at 6Gbps, and surprise: none of the OEMs ship these yet. Heck, they rarely offer anything better than an Intel X25M or old-stock Corsair/Kingston, which top out at 2Gbps on a good day.

    So really, Intel continuing to ship these B-grade boards to select OEMs is simply common sense. The people who might be affected by the tainted SATA ports 3 years down the road, do not even figure in the target demographic. It's not like these boards will wind up in mission-critical systems, and there's still the OEM's warranty to handle any lemons down the road.

  • by blahplusplus (757119) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @12:51PM (#35139388)

    Sandy bridge is not that much faster then a Core 2 machine, in fact the i7 was roughly on 40% faster at most, in the majority of applications. The Sandybridge as of this time is just i7 redux with slightly higher clockspeeds.

    No one should need to upgrade until you see at least double the performance of a core 2 machine unless one is doing specialized work where every gain is important to the task/business.

  • by Syberz (1170343) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @01:56PM (#35140286) Homepage

    Ford will be restart selling the Pinto?

    Don't worry, there's only an issue if you get rear-ended, avoid that and you'll never have any problems!

    Hmm... interesting, that same advice applies when in prison too.

  • by bored (40072) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @05:00PM (#35142830)

    This probably covers a fair range of desktop machines from the OEM's too. Has anyone here actually looked inside a low-midrange dell/etc lately? Your lucky if there is a PCIe slot much less extra SATA ports.

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