During its fourth-quarter financial results conference call in January, AMD executives stated that they expected samples of B3 quad-core Opterons to ship in late January or early February, with production chips to follow in the late first quarter or early second quarter. News.com now reports that B3 samples have finally started rolling out, and that AMD's partners are gearing up for the launch of their Barcelona servers.
The B3 revision of AMD's quad-core "Barcelona" Opteron CPU will do away with the infamous translation lookaside buffer (TLB) erratum, the BIOS fix for which induces severe performance hits. AMD officially launched B2 quad-core Opterons with the TLB erratum in September, but we later heard that it issued a "stop ship" order and suspended shipments to server vendors and the distribution channel because of the erratum. So far, News.com says, AMD has been selling B2 chips only to high-performance computing customers. Server makers like Dell, HP, and IBM have been waiting until the B3 revision to release quad-core Opteron servers.
With B3 chips now sampling and production chips due out soon, an HP spokesman told News.com, "We expect to start shipping systems in early Q2." Quad-core Opterons will likely be headed to HP's ProLiant DL585 server, as documents (PDF) on HP's website suggest. News.com also got confirmation from Dell that it, too, plans to ship "Barcelona" servers in the second quarter of this year. A spokesman for Dell added, "Look for us to expand our portfolio (of systems) too."