Intel partner Gigabyte has announced a replacement program for all of its motherboards that are based on Intel’s 6-series chipset. The program is effectively immediately and has been put in place in light of the massive stop shipment and recall issued by Intel yesterday on account of problems with the A transistor in its 6-series chipsets.
The recall from Intel yesterday of its 6-series chipsets and the errors found in the same are the biggest of its kind ever from the chip maker, and have sent shockwaves through the entire tech industry. The recall affects all the Intel Sandy Bridge processors released just last month and is definitely not likely to be well received by Intel fans. The high voltage being driven through a thin gate oxide present on the clock tree circuitry of the 3Gbps SATA ports is likely to render the ports unusable over a period of three years.
While the 6Gbps ports and other hardware of the chipsets are not likely to be affected, Intel has still gone ahead with the recall. Intel will be replacing the B2 stepping on the recalled chipsets with a new B3 stepping. Gigabyte too is following in its footsteps and has started replacing all its motherboards based on the 6-series chipsets for free.
According to the official word from the manufacturer, here is how they will be going about handling the replacements:
All shipments of 6-series B2 motherboards have been stopped and unsold pieces are being recalled from distributors and dealers.
All 6-series B2 motherboards already sold will be replaced unconditionally with a new B3 board. This also includes any boards that are not functional. The only condition is that they should be B2 stepping boards. Based on this criterion, the following Gigabyte 6-series motherboards can be brought in for replacement:
GA-P67A-UD3; GA-P67A-UD3P; GA-P67A-UD4; GA-P67A-UD5; GA-P67A-UD7; GA-H67MA-D2H; GA-H67MA-UD2H; GA-H67A-UD3H; GA-H67M-D2; and GA-H67M-UD2H
The replacement boards are expected to become available in April 2011.
For replacement, users have to approach their dealer or distributor from where they purchased the board and request a replacement.
All customers with 6-series B2 stepping chipsets will have the option to either get their boards replaced and wait until April to get their new boards, or ask for a full refund, which will be sooner or maybe even immediate. Gigabyte is recommending that customers take the refund as it will allow them to choose their next option easily.
The replacement board will be a brand new motherboard with the B2 stepping chipset, though there is no confirmation whether they will carry any new design features.
All exchange costs will be taken care of by Intel and Gigabyte, with the customer having to incur no expense whatsoever.
Considering the fact that OEMs and notebook makers are likely to be first in line for replacement B3 boards, it can be taken for granted that individual customers can only expect to get their hands on the new B3 boards sometime towards the end of April or maybe as late as in May. An additional lead time should also be kept in mind as the replacements will be handed out by retailers and distributors rather than Gigabyte directly.
In such a scenario, the refund option definitely looks like a very attractive way out. Another good option could be to keep using the 6-series motherboard for the time being and only move for a replacement once the new B3 chipsets become available. After all, the existing boards are not likely to become non-functional immediately. The best bet until then is to keep using the 6Gbps SATA ports instead of the 3Gbps and keep fingers crossed.
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