Intel to continue shipping flawed Sandy Bridge chipsets
Provide OEMs promise not to use the dodgy ports
Just over a week after Intel announced a flaw in its Sandy Bridge chipset that prompted a mass recall, it has announced that it will continue shipping to partners building systems and laptops.
It's justifying this by requiring OEMs, such as Lenovo and HP, to agree to a set of terms that will prevent customers from encountering the bug. According to initial reports, the issue is with the SATA2 ports on the chipset having a transistor that could cause the ports to degrade or fail over time. However, the chipset also supports two SATA3 ports, which are immune to the problem.
So, as long as OEMs use the SATA3 ports, there's technically no problem to encounter. For laptops at least, this should be fairly easy, as within a confined chassis it's easy for manufacturers to simply use the two SATA3 ports (one for a hard disk, one for an optical disc) and provide no access to the SATA2 ports. Samsung for one, doesn’t envisage any delays to its Sandy Bridge line-up including the ZX310.
"There are no Samsung notebooks currently on the market in the UK with Sandy Bridge and we do not envisage any delays to our new range of notebooks out in April," a Samsung spokesperson told us.
For PCs, the problem is bigger, as the cases can be opened up and users can install additional storage using the SATA2 ports. For this reason, Intel is saying that companies shipping PCs should remove the SATA2 port headers and install a PCI-E card for further expansion.
Manufacturers should be breathing a sigh of relief that they can carry on shipping PCs with the hotly-anticipated new processors, but it's still not an ideal solution. With new motherboards without the flaw due out at the end of April it may be worth waiting until then for desktop PCs; laptops sold will be fine, due to the way that they're built.