Dell is offering customers who purchased PCs with faulty Intel Cougar Point chipsets options for replacement.
Dell is reaching out to
customers who purchased the company's PCs that were affected by faulty Intel
chipsets. The computer maker plans to offer all customers who received a system
prior to March 1 that was potentially affected by the chipset issue an option
for a new replacement motherboard.
Potentially affected systems
include Dell's XPS 8300, Vostro 460, Alienware Aurora desktops or Alienware M17x
In a blog post on the
company's Website, the founder of Dell's corporate blog Lionel Menchaca said
their teams would begin contacting customers with affected motherboards this
week to offer them a new replacement motherboard that corrects the Cougar Point
chipset issue. The replacement motherboard and the associated service (service
options may vary by region) will be provided to affected customers at no
charge. "Bottom line, we will start contacting affected customers this week and
will work through these motherboard replacements over the next several weeks,"
According to Intel, Serial ATA
ports within the chipsets may degrade over time. This means they may never
degrade, or if they do, it may take a few months for them to do so. If the
issue does occur, it affects the functionality of SATA-linked devices, such as
hard disk drives and DVD drives. The issue can prevent access to SATA devices
inside the system or attached externally. These devices include hard drives and
DVD/Blu-ray optical drives. The Cougar Point chipset is embedded on the system
motherboards that provide support for 2nd Generation Core Sandy Bridge
In January, Intel announced
it discovered a design issue in a recently released support chip, the Intel 6
Series, code-named Cougar Point, and had implemented a silicon fix. For the
first quarter of 2011, Intel expects this issue to reduce its revenue by
approximately $300 million as the company discontinues production of the
current version of the chipset and begins manufacturing the new version. The
chip maker does not expect the issue to materially affect its full-year revenue.
The 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 said it would take a charge against cost of
goods sold, which is expected to reduce the fourth- quarter gross margin 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 by 2 percentage points and the
full-year gross margin by 1 percentage point.
Intel rolled out the Sandy
Bridge chips during the Consumer Electronics Show in January; they combine
Intel 3D HD graphics capabilities with microprocessors on one 32-nanometer
device. Company CEO Paul Otellini predicted the Sandy Bridge platform-which
Intel calls the 2nd Generation Core processors-will account for one-third of
Intel's 2011 revenue and will generate more than $125 billion in revenue for
the PC sector.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.