Intel's Atom Chips
The culprit that caused the massive product replacement appears to be Intel's low-powered Atom C2000 chips. The Register reports that Intel indicated in January that the chips contained a clock flaw, according to documentation about the C2000 family. The document said the Low Pin Count (LPC) clock outputs could stop working causing systems with the faulty processors to no longer be able to boot up.
An Intel spokesperson said they don't comment about other companies, but did say the issue with the C2000 chips "has been identified, root caused and there are immediate fixes available."
"Intel has identified an erratum in a circuit element in the low pin count bus (LPC) in the Intel Atom Processor C2000 product family. The issue has been root caused to a circuit design issue that causes a degradation of the circuit element under high use conditions at a rate higher than Intel's quality goals after multiple years of service," said the Intel spokesperson. "Intel is working now with customers on a board level workaround for the existing products which resolves the issue. Additionally, Intel will implement a minor silicon fix in a new product stepping that resolves this issue."
A Cisco spokesperson declined to provide who the supplier is.