B3 Opterons shipping now, higher clock speeds coming

— 11:04 AM on March 28, 2008

In the wake of the release of its revision-B3 Phenom processors, we decided to check with AMD about the status of the Phenom's server-and-workstation oriented sibling, the quad-core Opteron. As you'll recall, AMD stopped shipping quad-core Opterons to most customers when the infamous TLB erratum came to light, and B3 is the new silicon revision that incorporates a proper fix for the problem. AMD spokesman Phil Hughes tells us rev-B3 Opterons are already leaving the fab, with broader availability to come soon:

B3 Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors are in production today and we are shipping to fulfill some specific deals. As per our previous guidance, you should begin to see systems shipping from OEMs and system builders in April.

For the Phenom, AMD decided to increment model numbers by 50 to denote the new silicion rev. For example, the Phenom 9500 is replaced by the 9550. Hughes told us AMD doesn't plan to modify the Opteron naming scheme similarly: "Since we did not ship B2 Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors in volume, there are no plans to differentiate B2 and B3 silicon model numbers." So we should see Opteron 2300 series processors return more or less as we reviewed them back in September, sans the erratum.

The Opteron 2300 lineup, however, tops out at 2.0GHz, while the new Phenoms reach as high as 2.5GHz. Given the apparent increase in clock frequency headroom with B3 chips, we wondered whether we'd see higher speed and/or lower power models joining the Opteron 2300 series.  Hughes said "initial frequencies" of B3 Opterons will range up to 2.3GHz.  Those parts should fit within the same 75W power envelope (ACP, not TDP) of the original Opteron 2300 models. 


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