Let’s recap. Intel launched Sandy Bridge. Intel found a bug in the 6-series chipset, necessary for all Sandy Bridge systems. Intel issued a stop shipment on all 6-series parts. Due to some financial regulations, Intel had to make the stop shipment known publicly before it could inform its partners. As a result, companies like Apple, ASUS, Dell, Gigabyte and MSI found out when you and I did. They were not happy.

The bug, which we’ve documented here and further explained here, impacts the reliability of the four 3Gbps SATA ports on 6-series motherboards. It does not impact the two 6Gbps SATA ports on those boards. If a notebook uses the faulty chipset (B2 stepping) and only uses the two 6Gbps SATA ports, it is not affected. 

Intel has since announced that it has resumed shipment of chipsets for use in systems that fall into the aforementioned category (only using the two 6Gbps ports). Everything else remains stopped until the fixed version of the chipset (B3 stepping) is available.

Gigabyte was first out with a replacement strategy for existing 6-series motherboard owners. You can exchange your board at the place of purchase, or return it for a full refund. Pretty simple.

ASUS and MSI quickly followed suit, however their policies were a bit different to what Gigabyte proposed early on.

If you want a full refund, that will be handled by your original place of purchase. Vendors are currently in the process of figuring out how long they need to extend their return policies in order to cover all customers.

If you are happy with your board and just want an exchange, both ASUS and MSI will be handling the exchange directly. ASUS’ page on the exchange is here, and MSI’s is here.

The terms are pretty similar between both companies. Fixed motherboards are expected to be available in April. You’ll ship your B2 stepping board in and you’ll receive a similar B3 stepping board in exchange. 

ASUS will provide free 2-way “standard shipping” for both your B2 board and the B3 board. Your new board will have a warranty that starts from the time it is shipped. ASUS offers two options to expedite shipping. If you provide your credit card number ASUS will temporarily put a charge on your account for the MSRP of a replacement board and ship it to you in advance. Once ASUS receives your B2 board it will remove the charge from your account. The other option also involves you providing ASUS with your credit card number, however ASUS will not charge your card right away. As soon as you have shipped your motherboard (and the carrier lists the package as In Transit), ASUS will ship out a replacement board. As long as there are no issues with the board you send in (e.g. serial numbers match and it's eligible for RMA) then your credit card won't be charged. ASUS mentions that the scope for exchanges is limited but it doesn’t mention a specific date. 

MSI also provides free shipping and has committed to 3-day shipping both ways. You’ll get a pre-paid UPS label, send your board off, and get your new board via UPS 3-day as well. Update: MSI says it has added an advance RMA option as well. MSI places a time limit on the exchange program: you must register your motherboard or MSI system by April 30, 2011. 

Unfortunately none of the motherboard makers have been able to convince Intel to pay for a Z68 upgrade program. Intel’s Z68 chipset is due out sometime in Q2 (likely April/May) and adds the ability to overclock your CPU while using Intel’s processor graphics as well as support for SSD Caching. 

Intel has done a good job in being proactive in addressing the problem early on, however I don’t see any favors being done for the end users. These are Intel’s most loyal customers, the ones willing to pay top dollar on day one to buy the latest and greatest. Free two-way shipping is an expectation, not a show of appreciation. Free upgrades to Z68 or maybe even work with vendors like Newegg to provide gift cards as a sign of appreciation would’ve been nice.

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  • alin05 - Tuesday, February 8, 2011 - link

    Some Lga1155 motherboards have 4 sata III ports,like the Asus p67 motherboard in the picture above.I really don't see any reason why this motherboards should be recall.
  • sweetspot - Friday, February 11, 2011 - link

    Well the part is defective, doesn't matter if other pieces work or not, that would be like saying hey my power windows on my new car work great but engine wont start due to recall, guess ill wait for a trade in.

    They are aware of a defect and issued a proper recall, selling known defective items intentionally to consumer is called consumer fraud and illegal, hence the recall ??
  • BlueLikeYou - Tuesday, February 8, 2011 - link

    Replacing the MB will be a pain even if I don't have any downtime. Right now I'm just using the four 6Gb SATA ports on my P8P67. I wonder if it would just be easier to keep doing that, and just get a PCI card if/when I want to add additional drives.
  • grumpysonne - Tuesday, February 8, 2011 - link

    I finally got my rig together and was thankful for having the 2 'extra' Sata rev3 ports to use. I was planning on getting a swap when the new mobos were out.

    I had my ssd and main hd on the marvell ports and my rig was horribly unstable...bsods every 20 min and the error was an irq timeout with the marvell driver.

    I had to move my ssd and main hd to the intel ports move my backup hd and DVD to the marvell ports.

    I'm pretty unhappy with the whole thing...and now I get to undo everything and rebuild in April...oh joys. I'm pretty sure that I won't be going with a new asus board...

    I'll be seriously looking for AMD replacement.
  • fc1204 - Tuesday, February 8, 2011 - link

    hmmm... comparing the intel chipset issue with the apple iphone 4 antenna issue the early adopters seem to share the role as the suckers.
    and i wonder who at intel will be offered up to the chopping block for this snafu. though that person would be quickly hired by the postal service or ups/fedex that does the rma shipping for helping create new business.
    and the silver lining? job creation to be claimed by both obama and the new republican house.
  • philosofa - Tuesday, February 8, 2011 - link

    When it comes to the crunch Gigabyte have really pulled through for their customers. Thankfully I'm still on 1156, as otherwise I'd be rather disheartenedat either MSI or ASUS for making me pay to exchange a faulty product that at the end of the day I bought with them. Kudos to big G and its distributors., my next board will be a Gigabyte.
  • darklight0tr - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    The article has been updated - shipping will be paid both ways by both ASUS and MSI and both are offering Advanced Exchange. What else do you want them to do? I think that is very fair.
  • pcfxer - Tuesday, February 8, 2011 - link

    Boy am I glad that I went with AMD for my build. Not to knock intel but my point is that I've been a long time amd guy and this one time that I choose intel I would've been put off in a big way.
  • probedb - Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - link

    Not a jot of info on the UK Asus site, any ideas what they're doing?
  • bckai - Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - link

    Cross-shipping, and not having to deal with middlemen, is my idea of a good response to this whole fiasco. Although, I had a Gigabyte 775 board prior to upgrading, I'm glad I went with ASUS this go around.

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