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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 9:30 am 
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Zotac already have a Sandy Bridge mini-ITX motherboard out. I've built a couple of mini-ITX based computers over the years and it's a form factor that works well provided you are sure that the limited expansion capability isn't going to be a problem for the future. But is there any point in using such a small motherboard if you then need a whopping big CPU cooler? μATX provides a great compromise between size and upgradability, IMHO, and offers a wider choice of cases than ATX does. ATX and eATX form factors (yes, I've built an eATX system as well) may suit some but with sound and networking already integrated into modern motherboards how many expansion slots does one actually need unless one is building a folding farm? :lol:

My main concern with Sandy Bridge at the moment is the high price of the motherboards. This needs to settle down, and I'm sure it will, as Sandy Bridge CPUs take over from the previous generation.

Bob.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:34 pm 
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I agree completely with the expansions, even though I think they are mostly just dust capturing devices on new computers as few seem to use them.
Also, if mITX and mATX cost the same one might as well go with the mATX I also agree with that.

Big cooler however, why, these chips are anything but hot. Unless you OC or want something completely silent.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:25 pm 
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Corsair H70 isnt really a big cooler on an mATX is it?


I just know that a great cooler like that fits in a Lian Li PC-V351B

^^ to save some space in my dorm room

I choose H20 before fan (or easy H20 Coolers)

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:48 pm 
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If you haven't already bought a Sandy Bridge system, you might want to hold a little... Chipset performance issue leading to a recall doesn't sound like fun! More in depth write up here.

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Last edited by popo on Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:51 pm 
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.....................
Intel recall affects all Sandy Bridge PCs

Yep, that's the headline at this PC Pro article which starts:
    Intel has issued a chipset recall that will affect every PC and laptop incorporating its new Sandy Bridge processors.

    The problem is with the Series 6 chipsets, which is used in all Sandy Bridge systems, both laptops and desktops. The company claims the SATA ports within the chipset - codenamed Cougar Point - "may degrade over time, potentially impacting the performance or functionality of SATA-linked devices such as hard disk drives and DVD-drives".
For more check out the full text here.

Bob.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:52 pm 
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Hi Bob, looks like we both saw the news from different sites about the same time :)

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:57 pm 
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Hi popo,

8)

I thought it best to put the post together with the other Sandy Bridge stuff. Annoying for those who've already purchased but it's going to affect everyone who may have been in the market for a Sandy Bridge based system because of the delays and consequent failure of prices to drop quickly. By the time that's happened the Z67 chipset should be close to release. :roll:

Here's the relevant part of the press release

      Intel Identifies Chipset Design Error, Implementing Solution

    SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 31, 2011 - As part of ongoing quality assurance, Intel Corporation has discovered a design issue in a recently released support chip, the Intel® 6 Series, code-named Cougar Point, and has implemented a silicon fix. In some cases, the Serial-ATA (SATA) ports within the chipsets may degrade over time, potentially impacting the performance or functionality of SATA-linked devices such as hard disk drives and DVD-drives. The chipset is utilized in PCs with Intel's latest Second Generation Intel Core processors, code-named Sandy Bridge. Intel has stopped shipment of the affected support chip from its factories. Intel has corrected the design issue, and has begun manufacturing a new version of the support chip which will resolve the issue. The Sandy Bridge microprocessor is unaffected and no other products are affected by this issue.


    The company expects to begin delivering the updated version of the chipset to customers in late February and expects full volume recovery in April. Intel stands behind its products and is committed to product quality. For computer makers and other Intel customers that have bought potentially affected chipsets or systems, Intel will work with its OEM partners to accept the return of the affected chipsets, and plans to support modifications or replacements needed on motherboards or systems. The systems with the affected support chips have only been shipping since January 9th and the company believes that relatively few consumers are impacted by this issue. The only systems sold to an end customer potentially impacted are Second Generation Core i5 and Core i7 quad core based systems. Intel believes that consumers can continue to use their systems with confidence, while working with their computer manufacturer for a permanent solution. For further information consumers should contact Intel at www.intel.com on the support page or contact their OEM manufacturer.


    For the first quarter of 2011, Intel expects this issue to reduce revenue by approximately $300 million as the company discontinues production of the current version of the chipset and begins manufacturing the new version. Full-year revenue is not expected to be materially affected by the issue. Total cost to repair and replace affected materials and systems in the market is estimated to be $700 million. Since this issue affected some of the chipset units shipped and produced in the fourth quarter of 2010, the company will take a charge against cost of goods sold, which is expected to reduce the fourth quarter gross margin percentage by approximately 4 percentage points from the previously reported 67.5 percent. The company will also take a charge in the first quarter of 2011which will lower the previously communicated gross margin percentage by 2 percentage points and the full-year gross margin percentage by one percentage point.
Bob.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:54 pm 
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Addendum:

It's only the motherboard chipsets which are affected and not the "Sandy Bridge" CPUs.

So it might be worth keeping an eye on the CPU prices as there'll be no new motherboards to fit them into for a while.

Will the box shifters hold on to them or will they drop the CPU prices to clear their inventory? :?

For (my own) future reference the i5-2500K is currently being sold by Amazon UK for £183.95 (You Save: £1.40 :lol:)

Bob.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:12 pm 
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Hi folks,

Some more information appears to be trickling out. Bit-tech report that SATA port degradation on the Sandy Bridge motherboards (P67 & H67 chipsets) may degrade over a period of three years. It would seem that those who already have purchased affected motherboards, or computers that use them, will have to rely on the vendor to sort out the problem but, of course, that can't happen until Intel starts shipping the fixed chipsets.

While it seems that there's no immediate likelihood of many boards failing before a fix is available, other than the usually expected failure rate, there may be a long term confidence issue here. I've checked three vendors here in the UK and one in the States and the ordering systems were still listing these faulty boards. More worrying still is how we, the public, will know whether boards we buy in a few months time contain the fixed chipsets, especially if those boards were bought from other than a top tier retailer.

Hopefully Intel will make sure that all the new boards with the fixed chipsets have some sort of "Ver II" (or similar) marking. If not one could still end up with a board that will work perfectly within its warranty period and then fail "over a period of three years". Not a happy thought! :evil:

Bob.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:31 pm 
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How the boards are marked or identified I think will be a mobo manufacturer decision, not Intel. After all, it is from them you would deal with for support. My guess is most will set up an "on request" exchange system of some sort. It is speculated the chips will be a new stepping, so it can be determined by software if you have an older or newer one once they are available. Intel's just needs to get them the fixed chips ASAP.

There has also been some speculation that the faulty chips may still be used, for example in some laptop systems or possibly budget/SFF mobos which don't need more than 2 SATA ports can continue to use the 2 good ones.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:49 pm 
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Fair points, all. I don't care who marks what so long as there's some way of being sure a board I buy in the summer is "Version II" before I take it out of the packaging. Somehow I doubt that any Sandy Bridge motherboard manufactured to date can be repaired economically (I'm assuming here that the chipsets are soldered in place) which means there's a tremendous opportunity for mischief by the unscrupulous.

To be clear, I'm not saying that such mistakes (or criminality) will be common. But if a motherboard manufacturer's marketing department thinks this naming issue can be ignored I'd advise them to think again. As an example, I bought a high end motherboard a few years ago and the manufacturer subsequently issued a faulty firmware upgrade - they quickly fixed the code and re-issued the fixed firmware with the same version number. Guess how many motherboards I'll be buying from them again? :!:

Anyway, this is just forum chatter on my part. Hopefully everyone concerned will step up to the plate and make sure I'm worrying about nothing. 8)

Bob.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:21 pm 
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Good point on the rework costs. I'm constantly amazed at the complexity you get in a mobo that costs very little. The products we make where we work are nowhere near as complicated, but that doesn't mean they cost less! So certainly I don't know if a chip rework is economic. Maybe it'll be easier just to unplug the "bad" SATA port connectors off the mobo and resell them as a lower model?

At times like these I'm glad I don't live so close to the cutting edge any more.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:14 pm 
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Volume, thats all there is to it popo. =)

The volume number of the most popular motherboards today I bet is nothing but frighteningly huge.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 11:02 am 
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Hi folks,

Another snippet from PC Pro suggests that Asus is about to tell vendors to stop shipping its Sandy Bridge motherboards and return them - you can read the Asus open letter to customers and partners here. No doubt the same advice will be issued by other manufacturers.

When current users eventually get their replacement boards I wonder if OEM versions of Windows will accept them or will the owners having to contact Microsoft in order to reactivate their software in it's new hardware environment? :roll:

Bob.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:05 pm 
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NewEgg put out a video explaining what exactly is going on, and shows some workarounds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJcE2alQPvY

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