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Intel OKs Conditional Use of Defective Cougar Point Chipset

Cougar Point is the only chipset for Intel’s hot new Sandy Bridge processors

Intel expects to start shipping healthy new Cougar Point chipsets next week, a bit sooner than expected after a surprise flaw in the dingus forced the company to stop production last week.

Since the bug was in the last of the part’s metal layers, Intel was able to salvage unfinished product already in the pipeline once its factories got new masks.

Cougar Point is the only chipset for Intel’s hot new Sandy Bridge processors and, after talking to OEMs, who are antsy to get Sandy Bridge iron to market, Intel has agreed to warrant their using their inventories of the defective Cougar Point chipsets provided the widgets are only used in configurations that make two of their six SATA ports available (zero and one).

If the OEMs expose ports two through five they’re only asking for trouble and Intel won’t warrant the things since recent stress tests, which set off the whole kerfuffle, found that Cougar Point’s SATA ports may degrade over time and impact the performance or functionality of the system’s hard drives and DVD drives.

Given that proviso – apparently requiring that the OEMs take a blood oath – Intel says it has agreed to ship the defective Cougar Points it has in stock to OEMs hungry for them.

Intel has calculated that only 5%-15% of the Cougar Points are potentially faulty and that eight million of the parts had already been integrated into motherboards when it went public with the problem on January 31.

Intel has not change its forecast that the defect will reduce its first-quarter revenue by about $300 million and that it will cost another $700 million to repair and replace the widget and the systems now in the market.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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