Intel has warned of a flaw with the 6 Series chipset, code-named Cougar Point, that accompanies its latest Sandy Bridge processors, which gradually degrades the performance of the SATA ports over time and thus affects the speed of hard drives and optical drives. In a statement put out this morning, the company attributed the problem to a design issue and said it expects the cost to repair and replace the chip to be around $700 million -- a recall notice should follow soon.

The faulty chip has been out since January 9, so at least it seems Intel has caught the issue early and stopped all shipments. Furthermore the company says it already has corrected the design issue and will deliver an updated version of the chipset in late February with full volume coming in April, but systems will likely be in short supply for now.

It's worth noting there are no flaws in Sandy Bridge processors themselves. For computer makers and other Intel customers that have bought potentially affected chipsets or systems, Intel says it will work with its OEM partners to accept the return of the affected chipsets and support modifications or replacements needed.