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 DailyTech. "Pre-production" Opterons sent to Torrent search engine IsoHunt last February 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, codenamed Shanghai, 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 DailyTech that no vendor should be selling or distributing "GD," and customers who obtain these older B2 steppings should contact their local AMD distributor.