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Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 04:00 am PT (07:00 am ET)

Unaffected by Intel chip issues, Apple increases notebook orders - report

Shipments of notebooks reached Apple's expectations in January, and the MacBook maker plans to increase its orders for the first quarter of calendar 2011, providing further evidence that the company is largely unaffected by an Intel chipset design error, according to a new report.

DigiTimes reported Wednesday that Apple's notebook shipments are expected to "remain strong" in the first quarter of 2011. It noted that retail channel vendors indicated a widely publicized design flaw in the chipset accompanying Intel's latest-generation Sandy Bridge processors "did not impact" Apple, and the company is expected to increase orders.

The Mac maker was reportedly aided by the fact that it is slower in upgrading its products to the latest platform. The report said that Apple is still using Intel's Calpella chips for "most" of its current models, allowing it to "completely" avoid the impact.

"The sources pointed out that because Apple's products have high (average selling prices), even if the company is slow in upgrading its products to the latest platform, it will not see a significant impact on its pricing or gross margins," the report said.

"However, for Hewlett-Packard (HP), Acer and Dell, which heavily depend on their economic scale, the new platform will help raise their ASPs and therefore, these makers will try to launch notebooks with new platforms as early as possible."

The report follows an exclusive scoop from AppleInsider published on Tuesday, as people familiar with Apple's plans indicated that the company's new MacBook Pros are in production and on track for release in early March. The company reportedly anticipates an introduction of the new models in about two weeks' time.

Intel disclosed earlier this month that it discovered an error in its series 6 chipsets, dubbed Cougar Point, which causes the performance of serial ATA ports numbered 2 through 5 to degrade over time in extreme conditions. The issue applies to both mobile and desktop processors, and does not affect SATA ports 0 and 1.

Just a week after the error was revealed, Intel announced that it had resumed shipment of chipsets for Sandy Bridge-powered PC system configurations not impacted by the design flaw. The company also said the new, fixed version of its support chip would begin shipping for systems that relied on SATA ports 2 through 5 in mid-February. In addition, the company confirmed it will meet its deadline to begin shipping dual-core Sandy Bridge chips on Feb. 20.