updated 01:35 pm EST, Wed February 2, 2011
Faulty Sandy Bridge mainboards halt PC sales
Alienware, HP and MSI have stopped selling computers powered by Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors due to a design flaw in the chips. Intel said performance of the SATA2 ports on the mainboard can degrade over time. HP and MSI will hold back products with the chips, and Alienware removed the buy page for its m17x gaming notebook. HP, apart from pulling some of its models, will also delay a business product demo scheduled for February 10 in San Francisco.
Four Dell products are affected under the XPS, Vostro and Alienware brands. Dell said it will "work directly with" customers who have already purchased the affected products.
Intel on Monday said the flaw will cost $1 billion in missed sales and a fix. Samsung and NEC are also affected, with the former promising to offer refunds on affected models and the latter pushing back the release of four new models.
MSI has stopped shipping affected products and told its distributors and resellers to do the same. Furthermore, the company offers owners of affected products the option to swap it out for a new, fixed device that has similar or better specs that arrive in April or return it. More information about the swap option is promised before the end of February. It also advises owners to plug in storage devices to the SATA3 ports on the mainboard as a short-term fix, as they are unaffected by the problem.
New, fixed versions of the chips are already being manufactured, but the faulty chips began shipping on January 9, and about 8 million chips need to be replaced.