AMD Finally Ships "B3" Opterons
March 12, 2008 1:13 PM
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This Opteron 2352 was manufactured in the 7th week of 2008, as denoted by the date right below the product number.
B2 stepping Opterons, like the "pre-production" model that found its way to IsoHunt, carry the "GD" identifier in the SKU
AMD puts its processor lineup back on track
Hark! The long awaited B3 stepping of AMD's Opteron and Phenom finally made its way to system integrators this week.
AMD made it virtually impossible to obtain any K10-based Opteron processors after
the TLB bug caught the world's attention last December
. Desktop Phenom processors continued to ship, though the BIOS workaround for the TLB race condition severely hampered performance on some benchmarks.
The vendor who obtained the B3 sample photographed (right) couldn't be more ecstatic. "There's been no Opterons since November. We've even been shipping Socket F Opterons to fill AMD orders. This is a big deal," he tells
"Pre-production" Opterons sent to Torrent search engine IsoHunt
were later revealed as gray-market B2 stepped processors, which AMD tracked to October 2007 samples.
In addition to fixing the TLB race condition, AMD will finally increase the core frequency of the Opteron series on the B3 stepping. After the initial OEM orders are filled, channel vendors like Newegg and TigerDirect will carry the new Opterons in frequencies ranging from 1.8 GHz to 2.4 GHz. Vendor estimates put this e-tailer ship date in early April.
AMD roadmaps also indicate the Phenom and Opteron lines will reach 2.6 GHz before this Fall on the new B3 stepping. In 2009 both lines will transition from the 65nm to the 45nm process node,
, with additional SKUs at higher clock frequencies.
B3 Opterons can be easily identified by the "GH" as opposed to "GD" at the end of the product number. With the exception of Phenom and Opteron SE processors, AMD emphasizes to
that no vendor should be selling or distributing "GD," and customers who obtain these older B2 steppings should contact their local AMD distributor.
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RE: Finally, a new hope for AMD?
3/12/2008 4:51:28 PM
There are several problems.
1-B3? only scales to 2.6ghz at 65nm and clock for clock is slightly slower in performance than what Intel offers. We know that Intel's 2.6ghz Quad chips can scale to 3.2-3.6ghz currently and Intel's 45nm quads are coming the end of this month which could scale like the Wolfdales into 4ghz territory. AMD is sadly stuck at 2.6-maybe 2.8ghz at 65nm.
2-They have no dual core Phenom. There inst many applications that can utilize the multiple cores and many people are buying dual core chips because of this to save the coin. Intel has 45nm dual cores that overlock like no tomorrow. Dual cores are cheaper to make also leaving possibly better profits.
3-Cost to manufacture. The Phenom has a lot more transistors than the Opteron and quads make for a big chip and at 65nm the cost of silicon and trying to remain price effective against Intel at 45nm leaves little to no profit potential on the chips. Intel priced their chips that in order for AMD to compete price wise they don't make much money at all.
AMD needs 45nm more than they need working B3 silicon.
K10.5 is a revised Phenom and might bring just enough performance jump to get the Phenom some benchmarks above the current Intel chips.
Rumors say this is actually B5 or even B6 silicon that AMD made sure they call it B3 for investor reasons. You have to wonder because if it were really B3 we should have seen it back in November. But truth be told again AMD needs 45nm more than it needs working Phenoms that can only scale to 2.6ghz.
The latest AMD 780 mobos looks incredible lets just hope AMD can get to 45nm without any real problems. From what I hear they are getting 20% speed boost from 65nm so 2.6 + 20% = 3.12ghz. Still thats if all goes well and no real errata problems.
Graphics = Really Good
Mobos = Hot
CPU's = Sadly holding AMD back
I think the Phenom with no L3 cache will be a winner. Time will tell.
RE: Finally, a new hope for AMD?
3/12/2008 6:23:28 PM
Aren't there registry keys that can be changed to reduce the amount of specific cache levels that the OS can utilize? If so, I'd like to see what happens to multi-threaded performance on Phenom without some or all of the L3 cache.
RE: Finally, a new hope for AMD?
3/13/2008 5:05:38 AM
It will probably go to hell.
The level 3 cache adds complexity, heat, transistor count. It needs extra validation time and effort, and in the end costs money and time (each of which AMD is short of).
So, if there won't be an important performance jump from level 3 cache, AMD would not bother to use it.
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