AMD Phenom 9550 and 9650 in the first quarter

AMD Phenom 9550 and 9650 in the first quarter

Together with the new B3 stepping, which is to be used for the first time in the Phenom 9700 with 2.4 GHz, AMD is planning to revise the first processors. With the new stepping, these should even get new names, reports the website The Tech Report.

All quad-core processors from AMD have the same error in the processor in the current B2 stepping, an errata. Such errors are nothing new to such a complex object as a microprocessor. This is an error in the TLB of the L3 cache. The TLB ensures the high-performance conversion of the virtual memory addresses used by applications into physical memory addresses because it is implemented in hardware as a cache. Switching off the TLB leads to a loss of performance, which AMD states itself to be around ten percent, other sources speak of losses of up to 20 percent.

Previous assumptions and statements made by AMD at the start of the Phenom have now been contradicted by an AMD employee. Accordingly, there is no relationship between the TLB error and higher clock frequencies. An update can currently be carried out using an updated BIOS, but this must also contain a new CPU microcode. This deactivates part of the TLB, but the L3 cache remains functional. However, current BIOS updates are still nonsense for almost every manufacturer of corresponding motherboards, as the basis from AMD is also missing, as Michael Saucier from AMD had to admit. At the moment, not even the technical documents that contain the erratum are up to date, as the person in question is “on vacation”. However, this should be accomplished by the end of the year. According to AMD, a suitable BIOS should contain an option with which the erratum fix can be switched on and off. AMD itself is working on a similar option for its overdrive utility . However, this isonly the solution for the current problem, on the hardware side only the new stepping can help.

Since the new stepping 'B3' solves all these problems, AMD obviously wants to identify these new processors in a special way to distinguish them from the previous models to distinguish. These are primarily the 9500 and 9600 models, which will then be marketed as the Phenom 9550 and 9650. Since the processors Phenom 9700 and 9900 with 2.4 and 2.6 GHz respectively are manufactured exclusively in the new version, the renaming is not necessary. AMD once again named the middle to the end of the first quarter of 2008 as the start date. By then there should also be 'more than two' triple-core Phenom versions.