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Hardware flaw stops shipment of Intel chipsets – channel prepares for worst

Intel has announced today that there is a flaw in the 6 series chipsets which accompany the new Sandybridge processor family. With the cost of this issue likely to top $700m very quickly, KitGuru has been investigating.

At the very least, there will need to be a massive re-engineering effort, alongside costly support and recall issues to deal with.

No matter how easily Intel manages to roll past this problem, it is certain to cause pain for the channel for a long time to come.

We can't RECALL a problem like this for Intel

After major inventory issues in the second half of last year, Intel’s biggest customers like HP and Acer, made a consistent effort to flush out the older Core products, ready for the 2nd generation Intel Sandy Bridge processors.

How much this will affect HP, Dell and Acer will depend on how successful they were on flushing out the older parts. If they were successful, then there is a very real possibility that there are BOAT LOADS of systems heading to the UK, from factories in China, all of which have suspect chipsets.

Given that a shipment could take 6 weeks to arrive, the ‘choke in the channel’ could be massive.

Worst case scenario for Intel’s biggest customers would be that they have multiple boats heading for Western markets, that all of the products are unusable, that all of the factories like Foxconn are stocked full of broken chipsets and that it will be almost 2 months before the next, working, shipment of Intel’s 2nd generation Core powered systems arrives.

If Intel can fix it in microcode, then it will simply be a nightmare of BIOS flashing across the globe, the like of which has never been seen before. That will also take time.

Intel are reassuring customers that they can “continue to use their systems with confidence”, however they have stopped chipset shipments until they release a new, bug free version which could be late next month.

Intel say “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.” We aren’t really sure how users would feel confident after making a statement like that.

Intel claim that life is better with their chipsets inside. Right now, Dell, Acer and HP might not agree

KitGuru says: Expect a jump in prices and increased sales for AMD if, and we stress IF, their partners are Global Foundries are ready to step up to the plate with Phenom II X6 and the AMD sales team are ready to sell like they have never sold before. Just like the BP oil line crisis, at this stage no one knows the true cost.

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