Intel error also affects mobile, could delay Apple's next-gen MacBook Pros

Intel logoIntel's chipset troubles for its new Sandy Bridge processors affect both desktop and mobile machines, AppleInsider has learned, placing into question the timing of updates to both Apple's MacBook Pro line of notebooks and iMac desktops.

An Intel spokesman confirmed to AppleInsider on Tuesday that a design error with its Intel 6 Series chipsets, code-named Cougar Point, could affect both mobile and desktop Sandy Bridge systems. All Cougar Point chipsets are said to contain the error, including those that will be required in notebook systems.

So far, Intel has only shipped desktop-bound Cougar Point chipsets alongside quad-core desktop Sandy Bridge processors. In total, the Santa Clara-based company said it shipped less than 8 million of those desktop parts, adding that it believes fewer than that have actually landed in the hands of end consumers. But with Intel halting production of all Cougar Point chipsets until late February, other products that were planned for launch in the coming weeks could also be affected by the issue.

For example, Intel had planned to launch its next-generation, Sandy Bridge mobile processors around Feb. 20 before the issues with Cougar Point were discovered. But as of Tuesday, the chipmaker said it had yet to determine whether the issues with the Cougar Point will delay that launch. It's possible, a spokesman said, that the staggered worldwide rollout could go on as planned.

As announced on Monday, Intel has begun manufacturing a new version of Cougar Point which resolves the issue, but none of those corrected chipsets will begin shipping in any capacity until the end of February at the earliest, and Intel said it doesn't anticipate meeting volume commitments until sometime in April.

Therefore, it would seem unlikely that Apple -- or any other PC vendor -- could launch a line of Sandy Bridge-based notebooks in earnest any time before late February at the earliest, as the parts simply won't be available. As such, high profile launches of Sandy Bridge-based notebook systems would seem more likely in March or April.

When it comes to Apple specifically, Intel would only say that it's working closely with its partners to address concerns, but would not offer any indication on how the chipset problems could affect future Mac plans. It instead referred all questions on the matter to Apple, which does not comment on forward looking matters. The chipmaker also declined to reveal whether Mac maker was among the manufacturers who received some of the less than 8 million quad-core Sandy Bridge desktop chips and Cougar Point chipsets shipped earlier this month.

Those troubled Cougar Point chipsets support six Serial ATA ports, which are used to connect devices like hard disk drives or DVD drives. After it began shipping the parts, Intel discovered through stress testing that the SATA ports numbered 2 through 5 on the Cougar Point chipset can degrade in performance over time in extreme conditions. However, Intel noted that the problem does not affect SATA ports 0 or 1, so any system builders that received those parts would be clear ship those parts in desktop systems that utilize only ports 0 or 1.

Generally speaking, it appears that the setback with Cougar Point could delay notebook and desktop-based Sandy Bridge systems by anywhere from 6 weeks to two and a half months, based on AppleInsider's estimates and understanding of the matter. But any such delay would best be quantified on a manufacturer by manufacturer basis.

For example, if Apple did not plan to introduce new MacBook Pros before April, then the matter is unlikely to impact the company. However, if it was hoping to push out new models this month in high volumes, the issues with Cougar Point could delay that roll out by a few weeks or a couple of months, depending on how long it takes Intel to begin shipping ample volumes of the corrected Cougar Point chipsets to the Mac maker.

The one certainty appears to be that late February is the absolute earliest that a major PC manufacturer like Apple could hope to begin shipping Sandy Bridge-based notebooks.

Apple last updated its MacBook Pro lineup in April 2010, with Core i7 and Core i5 processors. The all-in-one iMac desktop was given Intel's Core i3, i5 and i7 processors in a refresh released in July 2010.

Source: AppleInsider

Tags: Apple, Intel

Comments
Add comment

Your name:
Sign in with:
or
Your comment:


Enter code:

E-mail (not required)
E-mail will not be disclosed to the third party


Last news

 
Google’s voice assistant platform has been known as Google Now
 
The SanDisk 1TB SD card prototype represents another significant achievement as growth of high-resolution content
 
Microsoft is developing a new “Skype for Life” client
 
Siri on the Mac is new, and is similar to that on the iOS
 
The latency in this test was supposedly no more than 2 milliseconds
 
Apple has made to the iPhone 7/7 Plus is by making the home button a solid state button
 
Android Nougat should eventually extend back to the Galaxy S6 generation
 
You’re not supposed to expose the iPhone to water anyway
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S - a tablet with the Windows-keyboard
The first Windows-tablet with the 12-inch display Super AMOLED
June 7, 2016 /
Keyboards for iOS
Ten iOS keyboards review
July 18, 2015 /
Samsung E1200 Mobile Phone Review
A cheap phone with a good screen
March 8, 2015 / 4
Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card review
Good sound for those who are not satisfied with the onboard solution
September 25, 2014 / 2
Samsung Galaxy Gear: Smartwatch at High Price
The first smartwatch from Samsung - almost a smartphone with a small body
December 19, 2013 /
HP Slate 7 is a 7-inch Android 4 Tablet PC with good sound
A cost-effective, 7-inch tablet PC from a renowned manufacturer
October 25, 2013 / 4
 
 

News Archive

 
 
SuMoTuWeThFrSa
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930 




Poll

Do you like Windows 10?
or leave your own version in comments (32)