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Alert for Intel® 6 Series Express Chipsets and Intel® Xeon® C200 Chipsets users Alert for Intel® 6 Series Express Chipsets and Intel® Xeon® C200 Chipsets users
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Alert for Intel® 6 Series Express Chipsets and Intel® Xeon® C200 Chipsets users
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Old 1st February 2011, 14:04   #1
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Default Alert for Intel® 6 Series Express Chipsets and Intel® Xeon® C200 Chipsets users

Official Intel statement :

Quote:
"SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 31, 2011 – As part of ongoing quality assurance, Intel Corporation has discovered a design issue in a recently released support chip, the Intel® 6 Series (and the Intel® C200 Series Chipset), and has implemented a silicon fix. In some cases, the Serial-ATA (SATA) ports within the chipsets may degrade over time, potentially impacting the performance or functionality of SATA-linked devices such as hard disk drives and DVD-drives. The chipset is utilized in PCs with Intel’s latest Second Generation Intel Core processors. Intel has stopped shipment of the affected support chip from its factories. Intel has corrected the design issue, and has begun manufacturing a new version of the support chip which will resolve the issue. The Sandy Bridge microprocessor is unaffected and no other products are affected by this issue.

The company expects to begin delivering the updated version of the chipset to customers in late February and expects full volume recovery in April. Intel stands behind its products and is committed to product quality. For computer makers and other Intel customers that have bought potentially affected chipsets or systems, Intel will work with its OEM partners to accept the return of the affected chipsets, and plans to support modifications or replacements needed on motherboards or systems. The systems with the affected support chips have only been shipping since January 9th and the company believes that relatively few consumers are impacted by this issue. The only systems sold to an end customer potentially impacted are Second Generation Core i5 and Core i7 quad core based systems. Intel believes that consumers can continue to use their systems with confidence, while working with their computer manufacturer for a permanent solution.

If you believe you may be affected by this issue, please contact your place of purchase, or your Intel Field Sales Representative."
We are seeing official statements pop up from eg Asrock here : ASrock statement regarding Intel 6 chipset quality issues

ASUS put his up : Responding to the Intel-identified Sandy Bridge chipset design error


Gigabyte replies here : GIGABYTE Acknowledges Intel’s Alert for Regarding 6 Series Chipset

Several Belgian shops (Alternate, Jaha.be,... ) have removed the Sandy Bridge motherboards from their listing. This all until further information is known.

Current workaround is to hook up the drives (hard drives/optical and SSD's) to the port 0 and 1, which are connected to the S-ATA 6gbps. Or to a 3rd party controller (most motherboards have a Marvell and sort-like controller onboard. This to keep your systems running till a replacement is available.
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Old 1st February 2011, 14:07   #2
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the Serial-ATA (SATA) ports within the chipsets may degrade over time,
how does the degradation take place? a physical thing? or software bug? or manufacturing process error?
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Old 1st February 2011, 15:40   #3
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From Anandtech website :

"The problem in the chipset was traced back to a transistor in the 3Gbps PLL clocking tree. The aforementioned transistor has a very thin gate oxide, which allows you to turn it on with a very low voltage. Unfortunately in this case Intel biased the transistor with too high of a voltage, resulting in higher than expected leakage current. Depending on the physical characteristics of the transistor the leakage current here can increase over time which can ultimately result in this failure on the 3Gbps ports. The fact that the 3Gbps and 6Gbps circuits have their own independent clocking trees is what ensures that this problem is limited to only ports 2 - 5 off the controller.

You can coax the problem out earlier by testing the PCH at increased voltage and temperature levels. By increasing one or both of these values you can simulate load over time and that’s how the problem was initially discovered. Intel believes that any current issues users have with SATA performance/compatibility/reliability are likely unrelated to the hardware bug.

One fix for this type of a problem would be to scale down the voltage applied across the problematic transistor. In this case there’s a much simpler option. The source of the problem is actually not even a key part of the 6-series chipset design, it’s remnant of an earlier design that’s no longer needed. In our Sandy Bridge review I pointed out the fair amount of design reuse that was done in creating the 6-series chipset. The solution Intel has devised is to simply remove voltage to the transistor. The chip is functionally no different, but by permanently disabling the transistor the problem will never arise.

....

However Intel was very careful to point out that this is not a full blown recall. The why is simple.

If you have a desktop system with six SATA ports driven off of P67/H67 chipset, there’s a chance (at least 5%) that during normal use some of the 3Gbps ports will stop working over the course of 3 years. The longer you use the ports, the higher that percentage will be. If you fall into this category, chances are your motherboard manufacturer will set up some sort of an exchange where you get a fixed board. The motherboard manufacturer could simply desolder your 6-series chipset and replace it with a newer stepping if it wanted to be frugal. "
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Old 1st February 2011, 16:43   #4
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so avoid ports 2-5?
or don't be an early adopter and wait for at least 6 months for most bugs to get ironed out
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Old 1st February 2011, 21:39   #5
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I really don't see the problem for normal users. Hook up ya drives to port 0 or 1 and if you have even more, then to the 3rd party controller. Worst case scenario the performance will go down and the board might give in , this all within a life span of 2-3 years. Replacement boards will be in full stock... maybe even refined or tuned for better performance...

FYI : At the moment running 2 1TB drives on port 3 and 4 on the Asus P8P67 Pro. Dropped the PCH voltage at 0.85 iso 1.05... smooth as butter... will do the same on the Dlx board ad keep you posted if something goes down !!

We got a major snowball effect in motion here... but it's good that the mnaufacturers react iso the Nvidia 780/790 issues a while ago...
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Old 2nd February 2011, 07:17   #6
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I really don't see the problem for normal users.
Really? You don't see the problem that the product you bought is not working as specified?

are you kidding here? I surely hope so. If you buy a car with 5 doors, you expect to use them all; and not say " I don't see the problem in having to enter through the trunk to get into the driver seat, because the door is not working anymore".

for existing users they have a solution, avoid port 2-5, doesn't mean it's fixed, and definitely doesn't mean it shouldn't be fixed.

"normal users", can easily wait a few months to see all the bugs ironed out
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Old 2nd February 2011, 07:41   #7
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I don't see a problem John for most that have the boards in use. You probably can easily overlap the period till the replacements are available. It's not like it's gonna blow up or such... Here the two drives still work and data is okay (till now).

Like said Intel discovered the issue in a hot environment ( 60°C ), overvolted and heavily loaded... unlikely that it will fail asap in a normal testing environment... "If" anything fails here I'll keep the readers up to date...

If all motherboards and co had to be pulled coz there was an issue with it, being it hardware or software wise, there wouldn't be so many around...

Till now nothing to blow out of proportion : there's a temporary fix and a final future solution, what's the big deal ?
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Old 2nd February 2011, 07:58   #8
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I don't see a problem John for most that have the boards in use.
that's because "most" who already bought these boards are enthusiasts who'll never fully utilize all features of these motherboards. Thus it's logical you, as an enthusiast, see no harm in having "only" 4 SATA ports instead of 6.

Quote:
Like said Intel discovered the issue in a hot environment ( 60°C ), overvolted and heavily loaded... unlikely that it will fail asap in a normal testing environment..
overvolted is about the only thing you might not see in "normal" test case; all other factors will easily pop up when the system is bought off the shelve by a "normal" user.
- Installed in tiny closet = check
- Running flash and 1001 background processes = check

Quote:
there's a temporary fix and a final future solution, what's the big deal ?
"not using port 2-5" is not a fix. It's a workaround, acceptable for enthusiasts who like to have the latest gear.

it's not a solution or acceptable for a normal user who expects to get what he pays for.

it's not a "big deal" if you know this issue and how to work around it. It becomes a big deal when you decide that:
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I really don't see the problem for normal users.
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Old 2nd February 2011, 08:14   #9
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READ MY LIPS : INTEL "EXPECTS" between 5-15% "THAT COULD FAIL" in the life span of 2-3 years... it's not like it's gonna happen instantly. That test environment is not replicable, not even in a closet... have your case ambients ever got over 60°C ? All system builders, hardware vendors are alerted, it's their job to alert the buyer... some have pulled the 1155 others put up a warning that the board has got flaws and that the user can still buy it and get a fixed board in due time if problems hould occur...

Not gonna argue any more as it will be no use to waste my breath... you got a point but so do I...

end of discussion for me... blow it up if you want !
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Old 2nd February 2011, 08:28   #10
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READ MY LIPS : INTEL "EXPECTS" between 5-15% "THAT COULD FAIL" in the life span of 2-3 years...
so if they sells 1 million boards, 150.000 users will get stuck with only 4 working SATA ports instead of the 6 they paid for. Dude a 5-15% failure rate is HIGH FYI.

Quote:
have your case ambients ever got over 60°C ?
51°C with an old Athlon 64 CPU and low end GPU in a case NOT inside a closet. With Higher end CPU + GPU and nice and cozy inside a wooden enclosure, it's very possible.

Quote:
All system builders, hardware vendors are alerted, it's their job to alert the buyer...
and by alerting: don't buy the motherboards yet; as Intel starts a recall

Quote:
Intel was forced to stop shipment of the support chip and has corrected the design issue. It has now begun manufacturing a new version of the chip which will be sent to customers in late February.
and thus you tell your customers to WAIT for the new version, send back the flawed motherboards to manufacturer.
Quote:
Several Belgian shops (Alternate, Jaha.be,... ) have removed the Sandy Bridge motherboards from their listing.
see, like that ^^

Quote:
you got a point but so do I...
your point is valid for enthusiasts users who know how to swap a motherboard. a "normal user" will buy a complete system off the shelve. so swapping it out is no solution.

you start your arguments with
Quote:
I really don't see the problem for normal users.
but when you write "normal users", you actually mean "people who buy first generation hardware and can swap in/out PC parts without an issue, and don't use their motherboard to maximum potential".
revise that statement and "your point" stands and is very valid, as an enthusiast and OCer you don't need more than 2 SATA ports, right? but "normal" users... they are a bit more demanding, feature wise


now chill dude, this is not a "fight", just changing ideas and thoughts, nothing more, don't "blow it up"
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