According to local sources we spoke to, Sandy Bridge-E CPUs featuring C2 stepping will be available here on 1st March. Early adopters of C1 version of the CPU had to contend with the lack of VT-d hardware virtualization. This will impede the performance of a virtual machine; that is hosted on a Sandy Bridge-E system, when hardware acceleration is needed. This lack of VT-d hardware virtualization only affected a selected group of users who are hosting virtual machines on their servers and workstations.
Potential early adopters of Sandy Bridge-E CPUs might have held off their purchases due to this issue. Another factoring hampering its early adoption is the fact Intel will not allow owners of current Sandy Bridge-E CPUs to exchange them for C2 version ones upon their availability. Its lack of VT-d hardware virtualization and the non-exchange policy of Intel sounded the death knell of the earlier version of the chip as no savvy local distributor would be willing to stock them.
Although there is news of the reported delay in volume shipment of Ivy Bridge processors, hardware builders looking for system upgrade and power users may find some comfort with the coming launch of Sandy Bridge-E processors with VT-d hardware virtualization. We also understand that there is no price difference between the earlier CPUs and the ones featuring C2 stepping. According to information obtained by Softpedia, the C2 revision of the processors will also feature new S-spec and MM numbers; hence a BIOS update for the supporting motherboards may be in order.
Source: Softpedia, Intel