B3-stepping Phenom benchmarked

— 3:32 PM on March 12, 2008

We reported earlier this month that AMD had started shipping samples of its B3 "Barcelona" quad-core Opterons to customers, and that production shipments were nigh. As it turns out, AMD has apparently been shipping B3 Phenom samples, as well, because the folks at AnandTech got their hands on one and ran some tests.

If you haven't been paying attention to AMD's woes lately, the translation lookaside buffer (TLB) erratum caused the company to stop shipments of quad-core "Barcelona" Opterons last year. Phenoms affected by the erratum continued to ship together with a BIOS fix, but we later found that fix seriously hampered performance in some tasks. The B3 revision lacks the erratum, and it should theoretically deliver the same level of performance that B2 chips do when the fix disabled.

AnandTech put this expectation to the test by running a quick WinRAR benchmark, first on a B2 Phenom 9600, then on the same chip with the erratum fix disabled, and finally on a B3 Phenom engineering sample clocked at the same speed. The results show the B3 Phenom actually performing slightly better than the B2 chip with the erratum disabled—1357KB/s versus 1348KB/s. By contrast, the B2 chip with the fix enabled scored a measily 365KB/s—an extreme case of the TLB-induced performance hit, AnandTech says.

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