Industrial Computer News from Global American

Mini ITX Motherboards and Industrial Computer Systems

Where’s my Sandy Bridge?

Welcome to the second installment of “Bo Knows”.

As many of you are probably already aware, in early January Intel released the 2nd Generation of Core i7/i5 (Core i3 will be in late February, early March) processors formally known as Sandy Bridge. These processors are paired with the Intel 6-Series Chipsets formally known as Cougar Point.

You may be asking yourself, where are Global American Inc.’s 2nd Generation boards then? First, I would like to let you know that we are working hard with our factories to get these boards out to our customer base, but unlike the commercial side of our field, the industrial and embedded boards take a little longer to come to market; sometimes as long as six months to one full year. There are a couple of reasons for this delay: the factories need to work out which chipsets and processors are going to have long term support, and the manufacturing lines need to be updated to support the new processes, but also still maintain the numerous processes that are still being supported for the next five to seven years. This is something the commercial market does not need to be concerned about, making it much easier to convert their factories over to the process.

“The time it takes for these products to be converted to the industrial/embedded field has improved over the years, and will continue to do so in the future.”

I want to take a moment here to also explain some unforeseen issues and delays that have arisen since the release of the new processors and chipsets. Intel announced on January 31, 2011, that a design flaw was discovered in the 6-Series Chipset that caused degradation of the SATA 300 ports (ports 2 through 5), causing a drop in performance over time (approximately 3 years, although heavier workloads can speed up this process) and eventually a loss of connection to the SATA devices. The newer SATA 600 ports were unaffected. The issue was strictly a chipset issue on revision B2 that required a silicon-based fix; the processors themselves were not affected. Intel did have a recall on the chipset, but has since begun to ship the B3 revision to manufacturers. Our customers will not need to worry about running into this issue.

I want to thank you for reading this installment of “Bo Knows” and please stayed tuned to the Coming Soon section of our website for updates on when to expect the latest boards to be released.