Following Intel's announcement of a design flaw in a chipset used alongside its brand new Sandy Bridge line of Core i5 and i7 processors, we asked a number of vendors producing workstations aimed at the creative markets how this would affect any current customers, and whether they'd have to stop selling any systems. So far, Armari and InterPro Workstations have replied.
Creative pros using power-hungry applications such as Photoshop, After Effects, Maya or Nuke are usually among the first to jump on any new processors, as these applications often see the greatest improvement from their bolstered performance. However, in this case, it means that they're the most likely to have already purchased Sandy Bridge workstations. The systems currently affected are from specialised vendors -- Apple, Dell, HP and Lenovo currently don't offer Sandy Bridge processors in shipping workstations.
Tom Green from InterPro says that the flaw will affect "those that have more than 2x SATA devices. We’re only using the SATA-III ports where possible, which are unaffected. Customers whose systems only have one SATA-III HDD and one Optical drive will never see the issue if the secondary SATA controller is disabled in the BIOS.
"For those customers that request one, and those that have more than two SATA devices, we’re offering a free PCI SATA controller to offload some of the work and ensure people have the correct number of available SATA ports for full peace of mind and future expansion."
The company has also released a statement on its website.
Dan Goldsmith from Armari told us that they are in the process who contacting all customers who have received such systems -- or have ordered them -- and are offering a choice of replacement options. Customers can have an engineer come out and fit a third-party SATA PCI Express adapter, and when replacement motherboards are available -- which is expected to be April -- Armari will send out an engineer to replace the motherboard. This will all be free of charge, and the workstation's warranty will be 'reset' to begin when the motherboard is replaced.
Buyers can also "choose to have an Socket 1156 Core i5/i7-based motherboard and processor at the same price or upgrade to the Socket 1366 Core i7 and pay the difference," says Goldsmith. "If the customer chooses this option, there will be no free upgrade available to the fixed Sandy bridge platform later. Again we will reset the customers warranty to start from the date the system is returned back to the customer."
Armari is also offering a full refund, though Goldsmith says that buyers need to notify them within seven days of being informed to do this.