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AMD released their highly anticipated Bulldozer CPUs last week (our review). The reception was not very warm, and a common thought was that Bulldozer didn't perform as well as expected. Especially in single-threaded tests, Intel was still miles ahead, and even in multithreaded tests AMD wasn't a clear winner.

The initial CPUs use B2 stepping, but an AMD BIOS and kernel document already shows reference to unreleased B3 stepping. A stepping update should bring improvements (usually minor) to performance and power consumption, as well as possible bug fixes. Stepping updates are a normal way to provide small upgrades in between bigger ones, such as die shrinks and microarchitecture changes. While B3 stepping may help Bulldozer a little bit, it's very unlikely that a stepping update would provide huge benefits and thus make Bulldozer significantly better than Intel's equivalent CPUs - so waiting for this update is not exactly a good idea.

No timeframe for the update is known but if the past has any meaning, it won't be anytime soon. For example C3 stepping came about 9 months after the original release of Phenom II X4 with C2 stepping. 

Source: AMD (page 27)



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  • a69 - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    Agree, JonnyDough!

    However, desktop market is still the volume market of choice, where you can generate a low margin, but high volume money stream.

    On top of that, for server market you will need more efforts to penetrate, like developing different chipsets, management tools, cooling solutions, etc, and much more testing and validation compared to desktop and mobile markets.

    I see the discrete graphics market in the same way - the most value is generated by the mass products, not the high-end.
  • JonnyDough - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    The mass market products are a result of pushing the high end envelope. Without high end products you cannot have low and mid ranged products. Therefore, to get rid of desktop processors would really not be beneficial, as these same processors are usually scaled down to make mobile chips, etc. The tech ends up in consoles, cell phones, and in integrated chips in industrial machines, etc. Reply
  • arjuna1 - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    "While B3 stepping may help Bulldozer a little bit, it's very unlikely that a stepping update would provide huge benefits and thus make Bulldozer significantly better than Intel's equivalent CPUs - so waiting for this update is not exactly a good idea."

    At which point in time did you people became delusional about BD being an SB killer??? AMD is going as strong as ever in the budget range, for AMD users of course it's a good idea to wait for this, or is Anandtech so intel cynic now that you want AMD to go under??

    With ARM still coming up in the ladder, do you have any idea of what that would do to the industry?
  • Iketh - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    The point was to make a clear message that the stepping won't bring major changes, so don't bother waiting even longer. He's pointing his readers in the right direction, nothing wrong here. Reply
  • Targon - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    We really can't know what a new stepping might bring. There may not be a major design issue, but if you remove problems that are causing performance problems, and the problem is not design as much as implementation, B3 or C0 or whatever it ends up being called COULD bring significant performance improvements. Reply
  • silverblue - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    I still think it's a case of an architecture that's too far ahead of the curve. Regardless, AMD and Intel make new steppings of their CPUs all the time and AMD are hardly going to make it any worse. Reply
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  • GatorLord - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    Please make this go away..and ban this ass. Thanks! Reply
  • silverblue - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    We've gone from Chinese clothing sites to earning x dollars a week sites to laptop battery sites. I'm wondering what will be next on the agenda... cheap PC components? ;) Reply
  • Refozo - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    For the new stepping if it does increase performance, can this be applied to the current procs that are on an older stepping through a patch or update or if you buy now your screwed? Reply

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