Acer already shipping B3 stepping notebooks

Something doesn't quite add up

Intel Logo Acer already shipping B3 stepping notebooks

NOT ONLY WERE the motherboard manufacturers affected by Intel’s little SATA 3Gbps snafu on the Cougar Point chipsets, but the notebook manufacturers were hit equally bad, if not worse. Now reports are coming out suggesting that Intel might’ve been aware of the situation a lot earlier than it said, something that lines up with very short lead times for replacement chipset shipments to its partners.

Digitimes is reporting that it took Acer less than two weeks to fix its notebooks and replace the faulty chipsets with B3 stepping replacements. This is all great news, least not for Acer, but what doesn’t add up is that Intel stated that it was only expecting to start shipping replacement chipsets in the middle of February. Acer got its shipment on the 17th, which is very much the middle of February, but considering that Acer’s notebook motherboards are most likely made in China, or possibly in Taiwan for the high-end models, we run into an interesting problem. Intel had to get the new chipsets from the US to its packaging plant in Malaysia or the Philippines and then to Acer’s factory in record time.

All of this suggests that Intel knew of this issue way ahead of the announcements, as it’s not that quick to modify a design, spin new silicon, ship that off to a packaging plant and have it all put together and shipped to customers, try asking Nvidia. Anyhow, the good news is that Acer then took a mere two days to get motherboards with the new chipsets into its pipeline and four days later the company was already shipping 3000 Sandy Bridge notebooks for the Taiwanese market. That said, the notebooks got stuck in customs and local holiday, but they still managed to hit the local retail channel by March 1st.

This gives Acer a nice head start over its competitors and looking at the various online retailers in Taiwan, as far as Sandy Bridge notebooks goes, you can only get your hands on a couple of models from Acer. Still, we’d expect things to be back to normal soon, as the motherboard makers are all starting to ship B3 revision boards to their distributors around the globe and many models are already available from retail outlets in most countries. One of the good outcomes of Intel’s little mistake is that the company is going be spending a little bit extra on its partnership budget when it comes to events hosted by its partners that are focusing on Intel based solutions, be it motherboard or notebooks. Of course, Intel isn’t actually going to tell anyone that asks them that it is the case, but hey, we don’t mind, as at least Computex this year should be a blast.S|A

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