PORTLAND -- When Intel, the world's largest semi-conductor company slips -- everyone takes notice. This week the company found a design flaw in a support chipset for its latest processor. It's a $1 billion misstep.
While the fix may be in, for those who purchased a computer with the defect, it's just a matter of time before the chip will start to fail.
To find out if you have one of the defective chipsets, check Intel's website and click on Support for help.
A spokesman for Intel says if you do have a PC with the defective chips, return it to the computer maker for a refund or replacement.
"Definitely, I'll be taking a look at the boards that I'm buying over the next couple of weeks," said Doug Glatz, owner of Geekoids.com in Tigard.
With much fanfare, Intel rolled out its latest processor, the Sandy Bridge, just last month at the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas. The processor was designed to improve PC graphics.
But a problem with a support chip called the Cougar Point was detected.
"In six months to two years we're going to start seeing seeing some very strange failures involving the hard drives or the optical drives," said Glatz.
The chips in question were not produced in Oregon, but at Intel facilities elsewhere. Before the defect was found, an Intel spokesperson said about 500,000 desktop computers were produced and have the flawed chipset.
Chuck Mulloy, the Director of Corporate and Legal affairs for Intel said "Once we discovered the problem, we moved extremely rapidly. From root cause to announcement of stop shipment to consumers, took about four and a half days."
But it will cost Intel $1 billion to fix the problem.
"It's really more of a headline risk or an embarrassment than anything of financial material to the company," said wealth manager Tim Phillips, owner of Phillips and Company in Portland.
Phillips said Intel's quick response to fix the problem has had little effect on its stock, but it has helped major rival AMD's stock.
"AMD, over the last two days, their stock price is up over ten percent, whereas Intel's price is basically flat."
As for the defective chips already out in the marketplace, PC owners may not have a problem today, but they could down the road.
"We're going to have to be aware of this over the next couple of years," said Glatz.