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Intel admits $700 million hit for Sandy Bridge chipset problems

Product recall is likely
Mon Jan 31 2011, 17:53

SANDY BRIDGE processors are going to take longer to reach market because Intel has to replace thousands of the faulty Intel 6 series Cougar Point support chips it has shipped.

The chipmaker revealed today that towards the end of this month it will begin to resupply its customers with improved versions of chipsets that use the Cougar Point chip.

The faulty chipsets have been built into products and sold to consumers. A product recall by OEMs is likely, and Intel has said that consumers should work with their retailers to get replacement products.

According to Intel the cost to the company of replacing the faulty chipsets and solving the problem will be at least $700 million. The company expects volume production of the Sandy Bridge chipsets to be back to normal in April, three months after the problem emerged.

The fault causes the Cougar Point chip's ability to talk to SATA devices to degrade over time. Intel claimed that personal data will not be lost, just the chipsets ability to interface with hard drives and DVD players. Chipzilla said that the faulty Cougar Point chip design had passed Intel and original equipment manufacturer testing but the fault had emerged over time.

The Cougar Point chip is a 65nm scale design and Intel stressed that its fab is a mature one that can turnaround production quickly. But that still means the end of February.

The fault is said to have been solved after it was detected this month. Over 100,000 units of the Sandy Bridge chipsets with the faulty Cougar Point support chips have been shipped since the fourth quarter of 2010. µ


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