Intel resumes faulty Cougar Point shipments

Intel has announced that it is to resume sales of the Cougar Point chipset for its Sandy Bridge processors, despite not having fixed the design flaw - bringing back memories of the FDIV bug debacle.

The design flaw in Intel's Cougar Point chipsets, which causes the SATA ports to degrade in performance over time until eventually giving up the ghost altogether, has resulted in numerous product delays and recall notices - but Intel thinks it has the solution.

Although the company has promised to release revision B3 of the Cougar Point chipset by the end of the month with the flaw repaired, it could be a while before sufficient quantities are manufactured to meet demand. As a result, Intel has made the controversial decision to re-start shipments of the faulty B2 revision.

Citing continued demand for the chipset as the reason for the move, Intel hasn't quite taken leave of its senses: the company will only sell the devices to board makers who promise to pair it with a third-party SATA controller chip, bypassing the faulty circuitry altogether.

The move has shades of Intel's famous FDIV bug, where faulty floating-point units in Intel's Pentium range of CPUs lead to calculation errors. Despite the flaw being acknowledged by Intel, shipments of the chips continued as the flaw was claimed to be 'not serious' enough to warrant a redesign.

Unlike the FDIV bug, however, Intel has a redesign already in the works. If you're thinking of upgrading to Sandy Bridge, you might want to wait for the B3 revision rather than splash out on a flawed product with a half-hearted work-around.