Intel’s Cougar Needs a Fix

It was recently discovered that Intel’s 6 Series chipset , codenamed Cougar, has a major bug in the SATA controllers.

To explain the bug basically that in the B revision of the 6 series chipsets there is a single transistor that should work at low voltages, however that resistor was getting too high of a voltage and causes some leakage.

What that does is it effects the SATA 3Gbps ports numbered 2-5 by causing it to fail over time (possibly just a 5% or more failure rate over 3 years.

Now this bug only affected the B stepping. Incidentally the B stepping is the only chip that shipped to the customers. Intel hopes to fix this issue with the C revisions by using a different type of metal.

How does that affect all of the customers who already purchased the P67/H67 chipset motherboards?

Well first off laptop consumers need not worry. Laptops usually have just a few hard drives and thus they will only use ports 0-1 which are unaffected.

However as for everyone else. Intel has dedicated $700 million so they can repair any chip that has already been affected. At the 8 million chips already sold that equates to approximately $87.50 per chip, the cost of a brand new mother board. Usually OEM’s would just replace the chip on the motherboard or replace the entire board.

One company, Origin PC, has decided to give their customers some options about the current systems that deal with the bug.

The options that Origin PC has given the customers is as follows.

  1. Wait for Intel to post a solution.
  2. Ship orders as-is and repair later at no cost to consumer.
  3. Add a PCI card to replace the motherboards SATA controller.
  4. Chose a whole different chipset.

If you currently have a P67 or an H67 motherboard, avoid using any SATA port other than ports 0-1 or look into getting a replacement soon from the manufacturer.

Intel claims that this issue will not affect the release of the Z67 chipset, due to be released aroud Q2 2011. We can also hope that Intel will replace current owners of affected motherboards with Z67.


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