"Design error" identified in Sandy Bridge PCs

Intel has positively identified a “design issue” in a recently released support chip known as “Cougar Point.”

“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,” Intel confirmed in an official statement.

“The chipset is utilized in PCs with Intel’s latest Second Generation Intel Core processors, code-named Sandy Bridge.”

As expected, Intel has already stopped shipment of the affected support chip from its factories and is implementing a silicon fix.

“[We have] corrected the design issue, and [are] 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.”

Meanwhile, AppleInsider noted that the error-prone chipset is “likely bound” for Apple’s next-gen iMacs.

“Intel said systems potentially impacted by the error are second generation Core i5 and Core i7 quad core based desktop systems. 

The first generation of those chips can be found inside Apple’s current high-end, 27-inch iMac.

“Therefore, unless Apple chooses to radically alter its approach to the iMac going forward, recent history would suggest the second generation chipset in question will play some role in future models.”

Nevertheless, the support chips have only been shipping since January 9th. As such, Intel believes that relatively few consumers are (or will be) impacted by the issue.