sandy bridge ep 1 What Intel wont tell you about Sandy Bridge E at IDF

Intel isn't having a good year when it comes to its integrated controllers this year, first with the SATA 3Gbps issue in the 6-series chipset and now news has reached us that in the end we won't be seeing any additional SAS/SATA ports in the X79 chipset. Apparently this is because of a “quality issue” in the SCU which would've been home to the four additional SAS/SATA ports.

Intel isn't having a good year when it comes to its integrated controllers this year, first with the SATA 3Gbps issue in the 6-series chipset and now news has reached us that in the end we won't be seeing any additional SAS/SATA ports in the X79 chipset. Apparently this is because of a “quality issue” in the SCU which would've been home to the four additional SAS/SATA ports.

We're not sure what the exact problem is, but combine this with rumours of a delay of Intel's Sandy Bridge-EP server parts and it seems like the SCU issue might be affecting the server and workstation parts as well. That said, we've also spoken to motherboard manufacturers that told us that they haven't been able to replicate Intel's errata, so it remains to see what happens, as we're still about two months away from the official launch.

It has to be said that Intel's X79 chipset has gone from being a chipset packed with features to the brim, to a chipset that is starting to look very much like the current P67 chipset, something that surely must be disappointing not only for Intel's partners, but even more so for those who were/are planning to buying into the new platform. By now we've gone from eight, to four to no SAS ports and what we're left with is two SATA 6Gbps ports and four SATA 3Gbps ports.

We're afraid that the bad news doesn't end there though, as Intel won't even guarantee PCI Express 3.0 compliance for the Waimea Bay platform with the company claiming that the first generation of Sandy Bridge-E processor might not be able to cope with the high speed of the PCI Express 3.0 interface. In other words, it'll be a bit of a hit and miss as to which PCI Express 3.0 add-in cards will actually work with the first Sandy Bridge-E processors.

And if you were hoping for Ivy Bridge-E to sort this out next year, well, then we have really bad news, as Ivy Bridge-E isn't schedule to arrive until 2013 now. On the upside, Intel expects Ivy Bridge-E to be fully compatible with PCI Express 3.0. While on the subject, we've also managed to confirm that the delay of the quad core Core i7 3820 means that it's unlikely to arrive this year, as it'll only go into production at the very end of 2011. Can it possibly get any worse for Intel?