Intel has just confirmed a design flaw in the latest generation of its Sandy Bridge chipsets. It's stopped shipments of the new chips, and setting things straight is going to involve recalls and replacements and $700 million or so. Ouch.
The issue that Intel has identified isn't with the Sandy Bridge microprocessor itself, but rather with the SATA ports within the chipset, which are the things that talk to your hard drive or DVD drive. Over time, these ports can degrade, possibly leading to sluggish performance and eventually data loss. Unfortunately, it's not a software bug, it's a problem with the silicon chipset itself, meaning that the only way to fix it is to design a new chip and physically replace all of the effected systems. Intel says that they'll get this rolling by February, implying that the new chips will start shipping in April.
While it's good that Intel managed to catch the issue early, and only chipsets manufactured after January 9th are flawed, this is still some 8 million Sandy Bridge chipsets destined for 500 different personal computer OEMs. If you happen to have a computer with a new Sandy Bridge chipset, there's no need to panic. You'll want to replace it eventually, but you probably won't notice anything in the short term, and even in the long term, there's only about a 5% chance that something will go bad. Intel is going to be working with all of its partners to arrange for modifications or replacements of any affected systems, and although it's probably going to be a hassle for you, Intel is going to do what it can to make the process as minimally inconvenient as possible.