Intel has announced today that their new Sandy Bridge 6-series chipsets (aka Cougar Point) have, in some instances, developed faults with the SATA controller which manifest over time. The problem leads to reduced IO performance with devices such as hard drives and optical drives.
The extent of the issue is not clearly known, and Intel have been deliberately vague concerning the details. Production of the chips has been halted, and a fix is being implemented in all further shipments to Intel's customers. New silicon should be arriving with OEMs towards the end of February.
End-users need not worry at this stage - a recall is almost a certainty, and users of the new Sandy Bridge platform are unlikely to see any issues at this early stage. Users should simply keep an eye on the status of recalls with their chosen retailer and manufacturer.
Intel predicts that this fault will cost them $700m in total. This will have a significant impact on revenue, and there are other costs to their business. The share price at opening has fallen by 1.7%.
This comes at a bad time for Intel - AMD will be launching it's new platform early this year (aka Bulldozer) and if the fallout of this issue is ongoing, AMD may well be able to capitalise on it, if Bulldozer can match the performance of Sandy Bridge. We may even see AMD push forward even faster with the Bulldozer release schedule, as a response to these issues. This will remain to be seen.
For more details from Intel, see the source press release below.
Source: Intel Press Release