This quote says it all.
“[T]he Athlon 64 X2 6400+ processor is making its official debut on these shores today. However, you won’t see a review here at TR, nor presumably at most other places around the web. AMD has elected not to supply samples of this product to reviewers, and, well, you can probably guess why that might be. Why trigger a wave of reviews showing the competition to be faster?”
Yes, this particular event by itself isn’t important, but it may be a harbinger of things to come.
Substitute the words “Barcelona” or even “Phenom” for “Athlon 64 X2 6400+.”
What would you think of that?
Oh, if they do such a thing, there will be numbers alright, AMD’s numbers, making whatever comparisons they want to make to whatever Intel processors they can beat.
There will be justifications and rationalizations, of course. There always are. Barcelona is meant to be a server chip, so only server benchmarks should be run on it. The case will be harder to make for Phenom, but it could be argued that early Phenom benchmarks could permanently bias the sales of later, faster models.
Of course, one could always buy the CPU to review it, but if that someone is on some Green gravy list, it would be no surprise if they were (clear throat) discouraged from doing so.
Even if that’s not the case, it’s hard to lay out a lot of money for a CPU one knows isn’t going to be too good and will be replaced by better ones shortly thereafter. Yes, one can extrapolate certain benchmarks that essentially measure just CPU measurements and/or overclock the processors, but no matter what you do, too many will call it “unfair.”
And yes, no enthusiastic in his right mind (OK, that’s not a given :)) is going to buy one of these things any time soon, as we’ve said before, the beginning will be the B2 stepping, most likely next year. .
No, I don’t know that it’s going to happen, just don’t be surprised at all if it does, especially for Barcelona and maybe even for the first Phenom or two.
Given AMD’s strategy and attitude up to now, there’s no good reason to believe they’ll stop the secrecy next month just because they’ll get a slow, uncompetitive K10 out the door. That’s plenty of reason to think the opposite.
I certainly could be wrong, but don’t be shocked if I’m not.