AMD selling Phenoms with crippled 3rd cores?

Posted on Thursday, Feb 07 2008 @ 00:00 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Reports are popping up all over the Internet about problems with AMD's Phenom processors. One of these comes from a Tom's Hardware Guide forum member who recently bought a Phenom 9600 Black Edition processor and found out that one of his four cores was crippled. The guy claims the third core of his processor only runs stable below 2.1GHz while the rest of the chip has no problem with more than 2.6GHz on stock voltage.
The problem may seem trite, as purchasing a 9600BE is a gamble. But the problem is not just with the Black Edition, but with all current B2 Phenoms. Most of them cannot be overclocked, yes, this is true and a well-known fact. However, there is also a growing number of Phenom buyers who cannot not run stable even at stock clockspeeds.


Upon installing the Phenom in my system, it booted up fine without a problem. I have not OC'd the chip at all at this point, simply running it at stock settings. Once it booted into Vista, I played around with it for a bit with no issues. I then decided to do the first real test, which was to see what the Vista rating on the processor was. I clicked on the "refresh my score" link... and the testing began. During the test I got my first BSOD. The details read...

"A clock interrupt was not received on a secondary processor within an allocated time. Error 0x101"


Upon researching this problem I found that many Phenom users are having this same problem. Many only when trying to overclock... but also... many when trying to just run their chip at stock speeds. The problem points to one thing... a partially or wholley defective third core. Apparently, many people have had to use AMD Overdrive to purposely *underclock* the 3rd processing core (Core2, no pun intended) by lowering the multiplier specifically for that core, in order for the chip to run stable. The rest have had to do so in order to get any sort of stable overclock beyond 2.4 ghz. Does this sound familiar?? It should, as it is the frequency above which all Phenoms were yanked by AMD. The truth appears to be coming out... AMD doesn't have Phenoms above 2.4ghz available because one of the cores is flawed and won't allow for a stable chip at or above 2.4ghz. The errata appears to be more spin than anything... let the masses feast on the errata as the underlying issue when the real issue that is the manufacturing process being quite flawed at this point.... tries to fly under the radar. If AMD didn't want this flaw to be exposed, as I'm sure they didn't, they should have never released the 9600BE.
You can read more over here.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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