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Behind the Tech: Sandy Bridge Recall, An Insider's Story

An Insider's Story

On January 31, Intel identified a problem with its Cougar Point chipset family affecting SATA 3Gb/s ports. Although that issue was expected to affect between 5 and 15% of systems over three years, we told our readers to wait for a fixed Sandy Bridge platform before buying into the platform, or swapping out their existing boards if they had already upgraded. Now that revised motherboards are starting to ship, we thought it would be interesting to take a more in-depth look into what Intel called a stop-shipment and its motherboard partners deemed a recall.

We're generally not the tinfoil-hat type that always assumes the worst. But we couldn't shake the feeling that there was much more to the story than what the marketing departments spun into webs of pleasing silk. That much is clear, and it was something on which everyone could agree. Unfortunately, Intel probably won't go into any more depth that what it has already divulged. We might get an update on the company's Q1 earnings call, but every bit of news is going to be in the form of raw financial numbers.

We've seen the news reports. Beyond the $700 million it will cost Intel to cover the stop-shipment, some analysts estimate the lost sales revenue will amount to another $300 million, adding up to about $1 billion. However, Intel’s original “expected” cost is no doubt going to fall short of the real loss because the reimbursement to each motherboard manufacturer is expected to grow.

The following questions remain: How much is everything going to cost? What was the exact timeline of the recall? How early did Intel know about the problem? Why did it make the decision to pull back shipments of P67 and H67 chipsets?

Furthermore, how does this affect the competitive AMD and Intel landscape? Two weeks after the recall, AMD appeared to have a boost of self-confidence when it sent out Valentine's Day cards that poked fun at its competitor.

  • Assmar
    Lol, that neighborhood watch picture still creeps me out to this day.
    Reply
  • acku
    9512301 said:
    Lol, that neighborhood watch picture still creeps me out to this day.

    Well that's why you shouldn't talk to strangers. :)
    Reply
  • dogman_1234
    So Intel noticed the problem before hand and did nothing until it became apparent? I am not one to criticize Intel, but if any error is noticed, i would warn of it immediately.
    Reply
  • ferelden
    Sandybridge performance is just too beastly for this to affect it long term, most people who have just come into the cpu market to upgrade didn't even realize there was a recall in the past and just got a b3 p67 and i5-2500k without any hesitation
    Reply
  • Stardude82
    Knowing the problem, I'd totally buy a B2 board at a serious discount. Most PC's only have 2 drives anyway and SATA add-on cards are cheap.
    Reply
  • f-14
    i didn't see any problem for sales, people just bought core i-7 9XX's
    AMD could crow all they wanted, they didn't have a new product going to the shelf capable of beating the previous i-series. now had AMD released llano during this, they would have made a pre-emeptive death knell strike against sandybridge, but they didn't so it didn't matter what happened until AMD does.
    Reply
  • f-14
    oh and also the problem could have been more easily rectified by intel giving out coupons for sata3 devices priced to match sata2 devices and pull it off as a promo that would have sold them millions more in profits.
    as for the people who already bought a 'free' sata 2 device to sata3 replacement device coupon would have been cheaper also.
    Intel just blew a huge marketing opprotunity to grind AMD under the imperial capitalist yankee boot.
    IMO
    Reply
  • joytech22
    All I can say after reading this is that Intel did a great job with this issue.

    But it somehow still brings me back to how AMD is still spending money on a product we haven't even seen benchmarks about yet.

    Somebody who uses an OEM machine somewhere around the world MUST have released a benchmark of Llano or BD at some point in time.
    Reply
  • rolli59
    It is just business! I wonder if the speculations on the time line is true but most definitely the OEM's had discovered problems well before release.
    Reply
  • emergancy exit
    or people are just brand loyal to the point of insanity. and intel is cashing in and and keeping their prices high.
    Reply