2.4 No More . . .

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The Inquirer reports that AMD will have to yank 2.4GHz Phenoms due to a CPU defect.

They got an explanation from AMD which, unfortunately if not surprisingly, doesn’t make much sense.

They said this was an errata which they would fix with a BIOS revision. All well and good, but if the problem is fixed, why yank the 2.4s off the shelf?

They also said that the 2.2 and 2.3GHz Phenoms were “not affected” by the error. “Not affected” by an error doesn’t mean the same thing as not having the error. Unless the 2.2 and 2.3GHz chips come from an earlier stepping, it would seem to me that they would contain the defect.

The errata appears to be a timing issue within the chips, so it’s quite believable that this problem doesn’t get out of control until you run at 2.4GHz or better. Then again, what’s the name of this site?

What this really sounds like is that this errata affects all the chips, the timing issues can be and have been fixed through a BIOS revision for the 2.2s and 2.3s, but anything above that is going to need a B3 revision to work right, and that’s not going to happen until March.

It should also be noted that this problem has so far been identify to sometimes occur only when all four cores are running at 100%, so it’s quite possible that somebody could buy one of these chips, overclock it, and not run into this problem.

I would suspect, though, that if this problem is a timing issue which can happen at 2.4GHz, the odds on it happening will increase exponentially the more you go above 2.4.

So unless you just want to experiment and think nothing of buying another CPU a few months from now, don’t touch them. Wait until they get it right.

Ed


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