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Intel finds design error in chip

1/31/2011 03:58 PM EST
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Peter Clarke
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re: Intel finds design error in chip
Peter Clarke   2/1/2011 10:24:37 PM
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@przemek Thanks for the information. However, it does seems strange that a circuit that "deteriorates" over time can be fixed by deleting a piece of late metal, as Intel executive Steve Smith said (see http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4212726/Intel-has-late-metal-fix-for-design-error). I would like to know the nature of the deteroriation. Is it charge build up, electromigration? And how does the fix relate to the problem? Can you provide the internet URL?

przemek
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re: Intel finds design error in chip
przemek   2/1/2011 8:36:22 PM
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Sorry, I meant SATA-II; SATA-III are OK

przemek
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re: Intel finds design error in chip
przemek   2/1/2011 8:35:04 PM
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Details are on the net: it's a semiconductor process error that allows devices near the I/O pad for the SATA-III controller to deteriorate and stop performing over time of several months. Kind-of like cancer and smoking it's a statistical process, affecting 5-10% of the chips. Intel pulled the chips, and apparently asked distributors to stop selling product; they'll probably reimburse the channel, and create a trade-in program.

Neetin
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re: Intel finds design error in chip
Neetin   2/1/2011 7:30:48 AM
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Unfortunately chip bugs cannot be fixed by Service Packs downloaded from the Net - a-la Windows. Else one could have gotten around the $700 mn like MS.

goafrit
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re: Intel finds design error in chip
goafrit   2/1/2011 3:56:35 AM
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Pity the design manager. Hope he is not with the grandma drinking sour milk. It kills many when there are _gate, someone pays.

Robotics Developer
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re: Intel finds design error in chip
Robotics Developer   1/31/2011 10:10:06 PM
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I would have hate to have been the guy/gal that found this bug! It is a shame when a chip is released with problems and as hard as most designers work to prevent this sort of thing there is always the need to balance time to market and testing. This time they got caught, I hate when that happens :})

LarryM99
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re: Intel finds design error in chip
LarryM99   1/31/2011 9:48:03 PM
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It's intriguing that it supposedly affects both hard drives and DVD drives. I can think of a number of ways that hard drives might degrade over time, but offhand I can't think of much of anything that could cause DVD drives to do so. Either that is a red herring or something interesting is going on. I'll be curious to get more details on this when it becomes available. Larry M.

bcarso
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re: Intel finds design error in chip
bcarso   1/31/2011 8:07:52 PM
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Good for them---they have clearly learned a lesson since the last major scandal involving processor arithmetic errors.

vigyan
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re: Intel finds design error in chip
vigyan   1/31/2011 7:54:31 PM
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It will be great to know more details about timescales over which this could happen. On more than one occasion I have seen such a post-silicon problem root-caused to a functional logic bug. For example, if under some corner-case scenario, if 1 flow control credit (of 1,024 or 64k credits) gets lost, performance can slowly de-grade over time. Specialized formal methods help in debugging.

Silicon_Smith
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re: Intel finds design error in chip
Silicon_Smith   1/31/2011 7:08:48 PM
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I think Intel just about managed to get away with a major controversy. Had it been detected in the customer end, it could have been a disaster. I am curious, how early was Intel expectiing the interface to start mis behaving?

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