Intel resumes chipset shipments for PCs not affected by flaw

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Roughly a week after announcing a design flaw in the "Cougar Point" chipset tied to its Sandy Bridge processor platform, Intel has announced it is resuming shipments of the defective part to manufacturers that plan to use it in systems that won't be affected by the glitch. Those systems could include "closed" notebook configurations using only the unaffected ports 0 & 1 (SATA III 6Gbps) as well as desktop PCs that ship with a PCI Express add-in card.

Intel said their decision comes after a week of meeting with OEMs and following specific requests from some PC makers who didn't want to sacrifice pent-up demand for the new Sandy Bridge parts. “Only computer makers who have committed to shipping the Intel 6 Series Chipset in PC system configurations that are not impacted by the design issue will be receiving these shipments,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

The design flaw affected four out of six SATA ports supported by the chipset -- specifically the four that provide 3Gbps operation -- which over time could cause problems in the performance of hard drives, optical drive or any other SATA connected devices. It's worth noting there are no flaws within the Sandy Bridge processors themselves.

It's not clear which companies exactly requested these shipments but fixed parts should start hitting the market soon. Intel executives said they have started manufacturing the new chipsets, which now should start shipping in mid-February instead of by the end of the month as originally planned.

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