AMD gets B2 stepping, could see 3.0 GHz Barcelonas very soon

Posted by Rick C. Hodgin

It's being published that Barcelona may see 3.0 GHz early next year, if not by the end of this year.  The reason?  AMD is moving to its B2 stepping which, according to a few websites, may resolve many of the speed-hampering issues which prevented AMD from launching Barcelona above 2.0 GHz.  If true, then the 3.0 GHz Barcelona may soon be in our hands making better than good on AMD's original timeline.

According to the link below, Opterons may see 2.6 GHz this year, with Phenoms at 2.8 GHz. It's possible a 3.0 GHz Phenom could also arrive this year, though it's likely to be early next year.

Note:  Processors go through various steppings or revisions throughout their life.  Brand new silicon is called A0.  When a company reaches the ponit where it has A0 silicon the design is said to be "taped out."  From there, it goes on to A1, A2, A3, etc, as future changes to the base design are made.  The A designation indicates a significant design stage while the number component indicates the revision or minor change within that design.  When moving from something like A3 to B0, a more significant revision to the core architecture is made.  This could introduce new instructions, new compute abilities, a new memory controller, allow for a faster front-side bus, add more cache, or really anything which is a signfiicant redesign.  From there it's on to B1, B2, B3, etc.  Then C0..n, D0..n, E0..n, and so on.  AMD's 65nm Opterons are currently on a new method of step identification, called CG.

Since AMD64 was originally introduced it has seen several fairly major architectural changes, including virtualization, new SIMD abilities and even minor revamps in the CPU's core compute model.  These account for the significant stepping letter changes and the many revisions.

Read more at The Inquirer.