INTEL issued a press release today that their new 6 Series Chipset code named “Cougar Point”, which powers the new P67 series Sandy Bridge processors, has a flaw that may impact SATA performance. A flaw in the actual silicon itself may cause degraded performance over time on any devices that are connected to the ports. This includes hard drives, SSDs and even optical drives. Because this is a silicon level error, no form of BIOS update, firmware, or driver can overcome this defect.

INTEL has completely taken ownership of the issue and will be working with their customers to have the new revision of the silicon shipped out by late February. Due to the timing of the shipments and this announcement, it seems that they have known about this issue for a while, but required the lead time to get enough parts into the channel to address the issue.

Since this affects every board supporting a P67 and H67 chipset on the market, INTEL is pretty much eating the 700 million dollar bill to fix this. But in the meantime, affected users have a couple options as it would seem that only certain ports are affected on some boards. Disabling the affected ports or not using them is one solution. If you bought a full system, some companies are offering external SATA cards as a band aid fix.

Keep an eye out on your motherboard manufacturers site for additional details on which ports to disable while you wait for your new board to show up. If you bought a new system or board, you might want to see if it shipped yet or not and put that order on hold at least till the new board revisions start showing up.

[Source: INTEL Press Room]

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