Lenovo halts shipment of PCs with faulty Intel chipsets

Lenovo offers refunds and motherboard replacements for systems that shipped with the faulty Sandy Bridge chipset

Lenovo will stop shipments of its latest IdeaPad laptops and IdeaCentre desktops in the wake of Intel's revelation of a flaw in the Sandy Bridge chipset design.

The PC maker is also offering refunds or the option to replace motherboards at no cost for customers who have already bought PCs that contain Intel's latest Core i5 and i7 processors with the faulty chipsets.

Dell and Hewlett-Packard have already stopped selling certain desktops and laptops, prompted by Intel's announcement earlier this week of a design flaw in its 6-series chipset code-named Cougar Point. Intel stopped shipments after it said a design flaw could degrade the chipset over time and affect performance and functionality of storage devices such as hard drives.

"We have shipped a limited number of units with the affected Intel chip worldwide," Lenovo wrote in a statement, adding that the company had stopped shipping all products with an Intel 6 Series chipset.

The affected models include Lenovo's IdeaPad Y460P, Y560P, Z570, G470, G570, V370, V470, V570, B470 and B570 laptops and IdeaCentre K330, K330A and B520 desktops.

The company will replace motherboards as soon as the new parts become available. The company is also working with "customers to find an alternative remedy, including a full refund at point-of-sale."

Intel said it has fixed the design flaw and would start shipping the new chipset in small volumes to PC makers starting by the end of February. The chip maker will ramp up to full production of the new chipset by the first week of April. Dell, which has also offered to replace motherboards, said it expects chipsets to arrive by early April.

Lenovo said that customers could continue to use Idea PCs with Intel 6-series chipsets, saying that Intel board failure rates are estimated to be less than five per cent over three years, "well within industry averages."

The offer to replace the system board is a precaution, the company said. "Low failure rate does not equal no failure rate, and that is why we are recommending that customers take advantage of the free system board replacement program now as a preventative measure against any future system failure," said Raymond Gorman, a Lenovo spokesman, in an e-mail.

Intel said it has not received complaints from customers so far, but that users with the chipset flaw could see data transfer rates to storage devices degrade, which could affect overall system performance.

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