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"For systems in the field we are expecting our clients to 'wait it out,'" Coffield said. "We will replace at no charge any motherboard affected by the “recall.” We have asked Intel for financial support in the costs of swapping out a motherboard for the client as there is significant labor involved in doing so. This has not been replied to."
Although Intel has said it will resolve the technical and financial issues resulting from its mistake, the question of whether or not to pay for the labor involved in solving may be contentious enough for court, according to Coffield.
"I explained to them that if Ford recalls a part -- the dealer gets paid for their efforts in replacing it," Coffield said. "If they refuse there will definitely be grounds for a class action lawsuit as there is certainly comparable precedence."
Intel said it expects to begin offering the fixed chipset to customers in late February and expects to recover the entire volume of sales from the chipset by April thus avoiding any year-end impact. One system builder flatly rejects that possibility.
"There obviously will be a revenue impact, and it's going to lead to end-of-year issues," Brown said. "I would absolutely disagree with Intel on that, unless the demand stays stronger and customers are patient enough. But they're going to lose first-time buyers, no doubt.
Despite disagreeing with Intel on the question of the time period over which the financial loss will be felt, his estimation of the total cost itself and the time it takes to resolve the issue is in line with Intel's.
"I expect it to cost them about a billion total for everything," Brown said. "I expect the product to be delayed about 60 or 90 days. I don't think system builders are going to be too greatly affected. I think it's hard to quantify it from the system builder perspective, because those are typically private companies.
Coffield identified another problem that stems from the possibility that the price of Sandy Bridge may change as a result of the error and system builders will have to absorb the loss instead of Intel. "We are also not offered any price protection," he said. "So what happens if there is a price move before we can even sell these items? We intend to return all products purchased to assemble Sandy Bridge based computers -- this may even include SATA III hard drives and other components purchased to be installed in Sandy Bridge systems."