In light of Intel’s recent recall of the Sandy Bridge boards using the 6-series Cougar Point chipset, many manufacturers and consumers alike are reevaluating their migrations to Intel’s new platform. Affected systems with the P67 or H67 chipsets for the Socket 1155 Core processors (Cougar Point), as well as mobile systems with the HM67 and HM65 chipsets exhibited a flaw in the B-stepping process, causing degradation of the connection to 3 Gb/s SATA ports (but not degradation of the data itself, it must be clarified). The SATA 6 Gb/s ports were unaffected by the problem, which was pinned on a faulty transistor held over from a previous chip architecture. For a detailed assessment of the problem, check out this article.
IPC boards and systems will mostly be using the QM67 chipset, which hasn’t been released yet; by the time it hits shelves, the issue should be long-solved. However, it does raise an interesting question: are users more interested in fresh alternatives or stable products? It also highlights one of the reasons why it’s a good thing that brand new tech takes time to migrate to the IPC market: your applications can’t wait while bugs are ironed out. By the time we see industrial-grade Mini-ITX boards based on the Sandy Bridge platform later this year, we can count on Intel to have ironed out any issues. Intel’s Cougar Point products page provides a breakdown of the various chipset models and their release dates; those that are “launched” are affected by the chipset issue, while those that are “announced” will likely have the problem resolved before release.
AMD is poised to exploit the chink in Intel’s armor, and they’re already reporting resellers and OEMs migrating to their products. Is it possible that the backlash might extend to them, too? Often purchases are made based on brand recognition and reputation, both of which Intel has in spades. We can all get caught up in the buzz surrounding a new platform, and we can get burned by buying these products without properly evaluating their merit; that’s why it’s critical to operate in a market with alternatives. So, are you interested in taking chances on the cutting edge with AMD’s and Intel’s new game-changing platforms, or leaning back on tried and true, stable products like the Intel’s own proven success, the QM57 chipset?