According to a new report, a flaw in Intel Atom C2000 family of chips has been bricking systems for at least 18 months. Speaking with an anonymous industry source, The Register reports that the flaw in question, which was recently acknowledged by Intel in an update to its documentation, was first noticed by engineers when return rates started spiking around 18 months ago.

Flaw in some Intel Atom chips has reportedly been bricking products for at least 18 months

From The Register:

The well-placed insider, who spoke to The Register on condition of anonymity, said the problem – which results in bricked systems – became apparent to engineers at product makers when the return rate on gear spiked about 18 months ago.

It took additional time to figure out that Intel's hardware was responsible. The vendor in question worked with Intel engineers during this period to replace affected units under manufacturer warranty. Then about two months ago, Intel acknowledged the issue was with its chip blueprints, the source said.

The flaw in question is a faulty clock component that Intel detailed in its recent revision under a section titled "System May Experience Inability to Boot or May Cease Operation." Curiously, Cisco recently issued an advisory noting that some of its routing, networking and security products may fail due to a faulty clock component after around 18 months.

Although the Cisco products with this component are currently performing normally, we expect product failures to increase over the years, beginning after the unit has been in operation for approximately 18 months. Once the component has failed, the system will stop functioning, will not boot, and is not recoverable. This component is also used by other companies.

Intel isn't specifically mentioned, but, as The Register speculates, non-disclodure agreements could prevent companies affected by the chip failure from commenting on whether technical issues are related to Intel products. Companies affected by the C2000 flaw, however, appear to include Aaeon, Dell, HP, Infortrend, Lanner, NEC, Newisys, Netgate, Netgear, Quanta, Supermicro, Synology, and ZNYX Networks, ASRock Rack, iXsystems, Seagate and Sophos.