FAQ on Intel Sandy Bridge

Q : I would like to understand better what the problem with Intel Sandy Bridge is. Can you provide some details?
A: Sandy Bridge is the name of the newest generation of processors and associated chipset recently released to production from Intel. On January 31st, Intel officially disclosed they found a problem in one of the components of the Sandy Bridge product line, in particular in the chip which controls the communication with external peripherals using the SATA protocol. The problem does not affect all SATA ports, but only ports 2 to 5: ports 0 and 1 are not affected.

Q : What does it mean in terms of functionality for my PC?
A: In most designs, SATA ports are used to connect the Hard Disk Drive (including Solid State Disks), the Optical Disk Drive (BlueRay, DVD, CDROM etc.) and other peripherals. It is common practice to connect the primary HDD to SATA port 0, while ODD port varies from design to design. The issue identified by Intel causes degradation, over time, of the connectivity of the affected ports. In short, after a period of time, which varies with the Customer usage pattern of the peripheral, the amount of data transferred will start to decrease and at some point the peripheral will no longer be recognized by the system and will consequently stop working.

Q : How long will it take before the peripheral will stop working? How will I be able to notice?
A: Unfortunately, it is not possible to establish a specific time for the problem to occur, since it depends on many factors, including the Customer usage patterns. In any case, Acer and Intel are working together to define an easy way for the Customers to detect if any peripheral is actually connected to the affected ports and if degradation is occurring. Until such possibility is made available, Customers can verify if their specific Acer Group product is affected or not, simply accessing the Web Site specific to the brand of their product (Acer, Packard Bell, Gateway, e-Machines) and follow the simple instructions to complete the check.

Q : In case my PC is among those affected, what are the options available to me?
A: Customers have the following options: get the unit serviced, swap their product with another product of the same brand or – where such remedy is required by local laws or prevailing commercial practices – return the unit for credit.

Q : How do I decide which option is best for me?
A: In general, Acer believes the most convenient option for the Customer is to get their unit serviced. By selecting this option, Customers do NOT need to back up their data nor re-install and re-configure any application they might have already on their unit. Once the Customer has registered on the dedicated web site, a Customer Service person will contact him/her as soon as the fixed component is available and will schedule the pick-up of the unit in accordance with Customer desires. The unit will then be moved to the nearest Acer Service Centre, serviced, fully tested and returned to the owner in the minimum possible time. All costs associated with this service event will be carried by Acer.

Q : What if I prefer to get the unit swapped or get my money back?
A: For such options, the Customer will have to go back to the place where the unit was bought, with the original sales receipt or equivalent document. He/she will be offered a model of comparable performance of the unit they have originally bought or money back.

Q : I like very much the model I have bought; will I get exactly the same model back in case I opt for a swap?
A: Unfortunately in the short period it will not be possible to guarantee the Customer will get exactly the same model he/she originally bought, the reason being that newly produced units will not be available until late March. Availability might also be influenced by the number of Customers who will require a swap. A similar situation will exist for Customers who have opted to get money back, since all manufacturers are experiencing the same limited availability of fixed components from Intel in the very short time.

Q : What other elements should I consider before selecting one of the available options?
A: First, Customers should consider that the issue will not appear immediately, so they can still use their PC without any problem. Just as a reminder, the issue does not create a risk of data loss or corruption nor poses any threat in terms of overheating, fire or personal injuries. Another factor to be taken in consideration is the annoyance of transferring data and applications to a new machine. Even for Customers with a solid IT background, such transfer can be annoying, much more so if the users have no experience with such type of operation"