Design issue leads to Serial ATA degrade over a period of time to impact hard drives and optical drives
Intel has admitted that a core-logic bug lies in the Intel 6 Series chipsets. The Intel 6 Series chipsets codenamed Cougar Point are the ones that support latest Intel Core series based "Sandy Bridge" microprocessors. The bug lies in Cougar Point's Serial ATA Controller that deals with hard drive and optical drive. Intel has informed its motherboard manufacturing partners and is committed to work closely with them for recall-replacements.
The core issue lies in Intel 6 Series Cougar Point chipset's SATA controller that connects to the system hard drives and the optical drives. When several customers informed Intel about the issue and then Intel performed tests again on the chipsets at its labs. Apparently, the issue was the failure to access SATA access ports 2 to 5. Hence all the early adopters of Intel Sandy Bridge supporting Intel P67/H67 motherboards with Intel 6 Series chipsets are recommended to connect hard drives with SATA access port 0 to 1. Also, the failure doesn't exist in every chipset but only in certain ones and that too over a period of time.
About 8 million Intel 6 Series chipsets have been shipped till date and only few out of them have actually been bought by customers. So Intel will recall the Intel 6 Series chipsets with flaws from the distribution channel and revert with fixed versions of the same. At this moment, Intel hasn't announced any dates of recall and replacement process.
Intel characterized it as "circuit design over sight" and has already started manufacturing new version of the Intel 6 Series chipset wherein the issue has been fixed. Intel's products scheduled to release later this year will be unaffected by this issue. So if you've been saving up to buy Intel P67/H67 motherboard, ensure you purchase a fixed version.