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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  • stimudent - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    What is worse, this site still measures distances in miles!! How sad.
  • JonnyDough - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    It's tech news. Stop trolling punk.
  • gfody - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    As if bulldozer sells weren't bad enough let's run a baseless rumor about an impending new stepping on the front page of an otherwise reputable site! If I were an AMD fanboy I would call it reckless journalism.
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    It's not a rumor. The info is from official AMD document
  • gfody - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    The "info" is a reference to a future stepping in an SDK document. You would expect to find references to future steppings there. It doesn't mean it exists or is even being worked on.

    The last two sentences of article basically say that. But this article isn't meant to inform anyone of anything is it?
  • silverblue - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    People have been talking about a B3 spec for a while; the 8120 was listed at two different TDPs for a start, but there's a Wikipedia link that specifically highlights the 8170 as a B3 part:

    Of course, such information is to be taken with a pinch of salt until there's actual confirmation. I would expect all of the Q1 2012 models in that table to be the B3 spec.
  • GatorLord - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    It is news...and it does matter.

    A stepping change simply involves swapping out a die somewhere in the line...something that once approved can be done in hours to minutes depending on the die. Look up SMED, unless you already know what it stands for because you're such an intellect on manufacturing.

    Anandtech reports news...don't kill the messenger...ignorance kills and Darwin always gets the last laugh.
  • BenjiXVI - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    “Not a clear winner” is an interesting way of putting “i5 has 1.5 times the performance per watt overall, 2.6 times in games”.

    I have been rooting for AMD for years, checked the news on Bulldozer religiously this year, but you would now be insane to buy one of their CPUs for the desktop.

    It looks to me like barring a minor miracle in the form of Piledriver, AMD’s days as a PC CPU maker are numbered.
  • BenjiXVI - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    For reference, here are some performance per watt charts, i5 2600k vs FX 8150:

    It’s quite shocking how far behind BD is. The best it does is 7zip, where the i5 is “only” 18% ahead.
  • BenjiXVI - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    Sorry, I meant the i5 2500k.

    (2600 is an i7, anyway!)

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