Sandy Bridge chipset problem is not causing chaos

Reports that faulty Intel chipsets have markedly slowed down the PC supply chain have been dismissed by an analyst familiar with the situation.

Taiwan Economic News reported that chains had slowed because of the defective Intel Cougar Point chipsets supporting Intel Sandy Bridge microprocessors, and thus caused concerns over sales predicted in February and March.

According to the publication, manufacturers of analog ICs, LCD drive ICs, hard disc control ICs, and NB camera modules, said their shipments for February fell nearly 15-20 percent from the month before.

It added that PC assemblers’ demands for graphics chips, as well as wireless and wirelined chips had also faced problems.

However, Malcolm Penn, chief analyst at Future Horizons, told TechEye that it’s not as bad as it seems and much of it is “media hype”. He adds that the problem is “short term.”

“There have been slows in the market due to this issue but in hindsight it’s not terribly significant It’s just a short term problem, if a chip is broken there’s nothing you can build with it,” he said.

“Of course there’s the issue that the announcement of these chips have built up hopes and then these were dashed with the faulty ones.

“If the chips hadn’t been fixed there could have been a small chance that it could have been pushed out of the market. People are eager to buy new products and would have therefore become impatient and bought what was already new out and available. One example is all the Xbox stuff that’s coming out.”

Intel’s problems began back in January when it announced that its Sandy Bridge processors, launched at CES 2011, had been struck with a a circuit design error in the Intel 6 series chipset, code-named Cougar Point.

Although it began issuing replacements in February the panic seems to have remained. But Penn says, “ultimately though, this seems to be a lot of media hype.”