The much riled and awaited Sandy Bridge platform and Cougar Point chipset were released at the beginning of January, signalling the start of a dominant new era for Intel. Indeed, with AMD’s upcoming Bulldozer lineup still in the process of rolling out, Intel theoretically had six months to saturate and hold a firm grip in the consumer market. The timing could not have been better; a new year, the start of a new decade, and a new architecture released during the holiday season, a time when most consumers are ready to spend their saved up money on a new build, or upgrade. The pieces were in place...but not all of them fell in the right places.
The Cougar Point chipset turned out to be the culprit of the woes that were to follow for Intel. Cougar Point, the backbone of P67 and H67 motherboards, was revealed to have had issues with the SATA 3GBPS ports, the primary problem being faster degradation of the ports/controller. This led to mass recalls of the P67 and H67 motherboards, a move which not only cost Intel billions of dollars upfront, but also cost three months’ worth of obtaining a significant lead over Bulldozer. Not only that, but by the time the new “B3” revisions started making their way out to retailers in March, the beefier, upgraded Z68 motherboards were starting to expose themselves for the same 1155 socket.