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Intel resumes shipment of chipsets for systems not affected by design issue

post #1 of 9
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Intel has resumed shipments of Series 6 chipsets for Sandy Bridge-powered PC system configurations not impacted by a recently disclosed design flaw, though systems that are affected by the error must wait for new parts to begin shipping in mid-February.

Intel said this week it will ship the existing chipsets -- which contain a flaw related to some, but not all, serial-ATA ports -- to PC manufacturers who will have use for the parts. All existing manufactured Intel Series 6 chipsets, code-named Cougar Point, contain the error, including those for desktop and mobile systems.

The company also said that the new, fixed version of its support chip will begin shipping in mid-February, a timeline sooner than its previously announced schedule of late February.

The announcement that Sandy Bridge processors have resumed shipments for unaffected systems comes as Intel has confirmed it will meet its deadline to begin shipping Dual-core Sandy Bridge chips on their previously-announced launch date of Feb. 20. The Core i5 and Core i7 microprocessors intended for laptops draw between 17 watts and 35 watts of power, running at speeds between 1.4GHz and 2.7GHz.

The next-generation Sandy Bridge processors are likely bound for both Apple's future MacBook Pro and iMac lineup of products, though whether the Mac hardware would be affected by the Cougar Point design flaw is unknown.

Intel disclosed the issue on Jan. 31, and immediately halted shipment of its latest-generation Sandy Bridge Core processors. The chipmaker found a design issue in which serial-ATA ports within the chipset accompanying the processor could degrade over time.

As of late January, Intel had only shipped desktop-bound Cougar Point chipsets alongside quad-core desktop Sandy Bridge processors. In total, Intel shipped less than 8 million of those desktop parts, and it is believed that fewer than that actually landed in the hands of consumers.

Intel told AppleInsider earlier this month that it is working closely with its partners to address concerns, but would not offer any indication on how the chipset problems could affect Apple hardware. It also declined to reveal whether the Mac maker was among manufacturers who received some of the less than 8 million quad-core Sandy Bridge desktop chips, referring all questions to Apple, which does not comment on forward looking matters.

The problematic Cougar Point chipsets support six serial-ATA ports, which are used to connect devices like disk drives or DVD drives to the system. Intel found, after it began shipping the parts, that SATA ports numbered 2 through 5 on the chipset can degrade in performance over time in extreme conditions. However, the problem apparently does not affect SATA ports 0 or 1, so any system configurations that utilize only those ports would be acceptable, which has allowed Intel to resume shipments.
post #2 of 9
Glad it's fixed, but probably a relatively minor issue in the scheme of things.

It really amazes me that there aren't more problems like this. They're approaching a BILLION transistors on some of the newest CPUs. If you've ever been involved in production of anything, the ability to produce something like this with so many tiny features is just mind-boggling.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #3 of 9
I'm sure most MBP and iMac would not have more than 2 SATA devices. I wouldn't care if I got one with the flaw.
post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

However, the problem apparently does not affect SATA ports 0 or 1, so any system configurations that utilize only those ports would be acceptable, which has allowed Intel to resume shipments.

I thought we knew this the day the story originally broke. This is a great reason for Apple to use SATA III, as if they need a reason.
post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Logisticaldron View Post

I thought we knew this the day the story originally broke. This is a great reason for Apple to use SATA III, as if they need a reason.

Ports 0/1 are the two SATA III 6Gbps ones right?

I've seen some nuts demos of the next-gen SandForce controller (due this year) that were apparently getting damn close to 500MB/s on sequential reads.

So... I agree. SATA III will be needed
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

Ports 0/1 are the two SATA III 6Gbps ones right?

I've seen some nuts demos of the next-gen SandForce controller (due this year) that were apparently getting damn close to 500MB/s on sequential reads.

So... I agree. SATA III will be needed

Apple has shown no interest in using the Sandforce controllers. I wish they would and add TRIM.

Are there any disadvantages to SATA III, like additional power consumption?
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Logisticaldron View Post

Apple has shown no interest in using the Sandforce controllers.I wish they would and add TRIM.

There are some hints, but nothing concrete that I know of.

They will need it though. If these 500MB/s Enterprise drives arrive in Q2 I'd be surprised if we didn't see some consumer action by Q4 and they can't ignore that kind of performance improvement. Assuming of course Apple intend to continue the Mac. Crazier things have happened!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Logisticaldron View Post

Are there any disadvantages to SATA III, like additional power consumption?

I doubt there would be enough different to have any kind of serious impact.

SSDs only use around 1W anyway, so even if the new controller doubled the power usage of the entire drive it would still only be 2W... but it's also reading/writing twice as fast so the net impact would be nothing.
post #8 of 9
Maybe those companies opting to receive the flawed chipsets are getting a discount. The new Apple seems to place enormous importance on penny pinching so they'd probably take advantage of that sort of thing. Besides, I don't think there's any Mac (except the Pro tower) with more than 2 SATA buses so the only impact on Apple would be the need to ensure the drives they ship are fully compatible with SATA III.

On the other hand the new Apple doesn't seem to care much about Macs any more except for their ability to develop mobile apps and might have no interest in updating any models before April.
post #9 of 9
Which likely means these chips will only ship in Apple laptops. That is if Apple bothers with them at all. In any event it looks like we will be getting something from Apple soon.
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