Taiwanese PC makers see Q1 snags after Intel recall

Acer and Asustek halt sales of computers with Sandy Bridge micoprocessors

Taiwan's top computer makers such as Acer and Asustek expect dips in first-quarter shipments as they stop early sales of units containing potentially flawed chipsets recalled by Intel.

Until Intel comes out with replacement parts in April, the setbacks for the manufacturers of desktops and laptops may ripple across Taiwan, where the economy depends on high-tech hardware production.

An Intel official in Taipei said last month that Taiwanese manufacturers had agreed to install Intel's latest chipsets in 500 different computer models.

"They had all prepared back in November and December to install these chipsets, and now that has been disrupted," said Helen Chiang, research manager with IDC in Taipei.

The 6 Series chipsets were suddenly recalled on Jan. 31 due to a design issue that could impact certain PC system configurations.

Acer, the world second-largest PC maker, now expects shipments to be up to 2 percent lower than its previous forecast for the first three months of 2011, as it stops shipments of units with the suspect processors, a company spokesman said.

Acer sees delayed demand for microprocessors in personal computers, Taiwan's semi-official Central News Agency reported. It has recalled three notebooks and two desktop computers that carry the Intel chipset in question, the agency said.

PC manufacturer Asustek Computer said it had stopped selling laptops, desktops and motherboards with the chipsets, but did not estimate the effect this would have on first-quarter sales.

Taiwan-based motherboard maker Gigabyte Technology said it was "working closely with Intel to minimize the inconvenience to customers."

Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said it "wouldn't surprise" him that Acer and other manufacturers foresaw sales setbacks after the recall. "It's unfortunate, but we want to get the right products into our customers' hands," he said.

New parts should be out as early as next week, Mulloy said.

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