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Errata limit supply of quad-core Opteron CPUs

Posted on Tuesday, December 04 2007 @ 12:24:16 CET by

Problems in AMD's Opteron processors are limiting the supply of these chips, The Tech Report reports:
An industry source at a tier-two reseller told The Tech Report that the TLB erratum has led to a "stop ship" order on all Barcelona Opterons. When asked for comment, spokesman Phil Hughes said AMD is shipping Barcelona Opterons now, but only for "specific customer deals." Industry sources have suggested to TR that those deals are high-volume situations involving supercomputing clusters. Such customers may run workloads less likely to be affected by any workarounds for the erratum that reduce L3 cache performance, and those customers could potentially consume hundreds of thousands of CPUs. Our sources indicate, and the current availability picture would seem to confirm, that quad-core Opterons are not shipping to OEMs or the channel more generally.

News of this problem is notable because it confirms that the TLB erratum affects Barcelona server processors as well as Phenom desktop CPUs, and that the problem impacts AMD's quad-core processors at lower clock speeds. AMD's initial public statements about the erratum and the delay of the 2.4GHz Phenom seemed to imply that the issue was closely related to clock frequencies. The Opteron 2300 lineup spans clock speeds from 1.7GHz to 2.0GHz. Those CPUs' north bridge clocks, which determine the frequency of the L3 cache, range from 1.4GHz to 1.8GHz.

The erratum is present in all AMD quad-core processors up to the current B2 revision. AMD has said a revision B3 is in the works and expected in Q1. One source told TR that large quantities of B3 chips might not be available until the end of Q1.



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