TBird Update

I Must Be in the Wrong Place. People Look Too Good

Went to a computer show yesterday. A bit different than most, not by what was in it, but rather all around it.

This show was held at the Nassau Coliseum, a professional sport arena.

While being driven over, I was rather surprised to see a phalanx of well-dressed young men directing traffic in the parking lot. Not exactly your typical parking-lot attendants.

There were a LOT of cars in the parking lot, far, far more than I had ever seen for a computer show.

Getting out, I saw many more very well-dressed people, and most of them were women! This certainly wasn’t like any computer show I’d ever been to.

I walked a bit, and, in the midst of all this Sunday-best finery, finally found an isolated colony of grungy-looking people dressed mostly in T-shirts and jeans forming a line. Ahh, this was more like it!

What was going on was that there was some big Christian convention/revival going on at the same time as this little computer show, and there was at least 20 people going to that for every one going to the computer show.

It was a little unnerving getting off an escalator and walking over to the show when most of the people standing around have their heads bowed in prayer from the service being piped through the audio system.

Overclockers pray a lot, too. However, we say much different prayers, and most of our prayers are born of desperation and die of profanity. 🙂

Maybe I should have asked for a little divine intervention in my search for a blue meanie, but I figured He had enough on His hands in our vicinity.:)

Anyway, I did manage to grab the last KT7 I could find there, and we’ll be testing that shortly.

My Blue Snark Hunt

The rest of the time was spent looking for a blue meanie. The vendors looked a little puzzled (though cooperative enough) as to why I was doing this.

Looking at these things is tough. The coating on the CPUs themselves look a bit bluish at one angle, greenish at another. More disconcerting, it apparently can be removed; I saw one chip that had had most of its coating rubbed away, with only fragments of green remaining.

Nor does it help that there is a blue trim surrounding the outside edges of the core.

I had hoped that perhaps all the 750s would be blue, but that wasn’t true at all. There were plenty of for-sure greens among the 750s.

A few were iffier, but no matter how I looked at them, there was always some hint of green to them, as opposed to the grayish-blue of the copper TBird picture I had seen.

So I followed my rule about buying, “When in doubt, DON’T,” so I didn’t.

We’ll continue our efforts to get one, but what’s really important is not whether or not we can get one, but how hard it will be for YOU to get one.

A couple of you have said, quite reasonably, “Surely there must be a way to read the codes to verify that a particular chip does in fact come from Dresden.”

A Possible Answer

Believe me, I’m trying to make some sense out of those codes, and AMD isn’t making it easy. However, I think I may have it.

Here’s some codes from what are definitely identified green and blue Socket A processors. Some of these have come from you (particular thanks to Ron for providing me with a number of blue 750 codes) or from literally
looking at the codes on the pictures of chips from TBird reviews from Anandtech, HardOCP and Tom’s Hardware:

Green 700

Green 700

Green 800


Green 800


Green 800

Green 800

Blue 1000

Blue 1000 (ES)

Blue 1000

Blue 750


Blue 750


Blue 750


The first line is useless for our purposes; AMD does provide an explanation on what the number and letters mean, and none of that tells us where the chip came from.

The last line appears to be a serial number, and though the blues seem to have a lower serial number than the greens, not sure if that has any real significance. I suspect the third and fourth digits
indicate where the chip was shipped.

The middle line has two sets of letters surrounding four numbers. I suspect the numbers indicate week.

The second set of letter seem to indicate something, but only the letter “P” as the second letter appears to be a constant. “W” as the last letter seems to be almost a constant, but there’s one exception.
“AW” as the last two letters happens a lot, but it happens with both green and blue chips, so that doesn’t help us.

As of the moment, there’s only one part of the code that sticks out. Of the chips that have clearly been identified as being blue; every single one of them has had the code AEEA, and none of the greens have used that code.

Let me say right now: this is not at all definitive. I’m putting this up to see if it flies. We don’t have much to work with, and it’s quite conceivable that somebody will find a green chip with AEEA coding. You should look for both a chip that looks blue and not green, plus
AEEA. If you get both, you probably have a Dresden chip, but I’m not guaranteeing that, not yet at least. If you have a socket A TBird, and you haven’t sent me the codes on your chip, please do so and also tell me what color the core of the processor appears to be so I can see if I’m on the right track or not.

What If You Can’t Find One?

It looks like the outer practical range of an aluminum TBird is 950-1Ghz, and even that may be a bit too high. 900Mhz is probably a safe bet.

In all honesty, we don’t think that’s worth the price of the chip and a new motherboard for most of you already equipped with PIIIs. A PIII, while costing more, will cost less than TBird+mobo, and perform roughly the same. A Duron will only do a bit worse.

Besides, a lot of you want the Big G, and it doesn’t look like you’ll make it going green.

So if you want the Big G Plus, you have to go Blue, and that’s going to be quite a hunt, if what I saw at the computer fair is any indication.

Down the road

As I’ve stated before, all the 1.1Ghz, and most of the 1Ghz TBirds are Dresden chips. There’s apparently also a good proportion of 950s that are blues, too. Austin takes care of Durons and lower-end TBird.

As time goes on, Dresden will naturally make more and more TBirds, and Austin will make more Durons and less TBirds. So the proportion of Dresden chips is bound to go up over time.

Additionally, in a couple months, we’ll have a core revision, and even more capable Dresden chips. A .13 micron shrink is being worked on at Dresden (though I doubt we’ll see that soon).

Again, if you can wait, you should be able to get a TBird/DDR motherboard combo next January good for about a 1.3Ghz overclock or thereabouts for a somewhat reasonable price (maybe $700 for CPU, mobo and 256Mb RAM).

Email Ed

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