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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  • Arbie - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    So it won't be anytime soon, and it won't matter. But it finds a place in your lineup? Anandtech usually does better than this. Let's not make news where there isn't any.
  • aegisofrime - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    People attacked Anandtech for being Intel-biased, and now that they are giving AMD some space they are ripped on as well. Jeez there's really no pleasing people is there?
  • SlyNine - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    Thats because people worry about stupid crap. Like Anandtech posting a blog about something THEY deem not worthy.

    Well Arbie, if you deem it not worthy, wth are you wasteing your time reading it, and then waste more time posting it. The story was certianly more worthy then your comment. Just my 2 cents.
  • SilthDraeth - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    I posted something similar to this, in a daily tech article, about how people get so mad that they read a post that wasn't important to them.
  • Arbie - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    That's exactly what I wanted to know after I read it: Why did I waste my time reading this? Well, because it was put up as something worthy of our time. But it isn't.

    I took additional time to say so, because that's how sites get (or stay) better - by user feedback.
  • JonnyDough - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    Why did any of us waste our team after reading your initial comment? Thanks for that. Unhelpful user feedback is an annoyance. If you didn't think it was news worthy, why click on the headline which obviously wasn't going to tell you much? You're a troll. You should be deleted.
  • Arbie - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    I read it precisely *because* of the headline. After the poor showing of Bulldozer at launch, any intimation that they might have an ace up their sleeve - most likely via a new stepping - is automatically interesting. That's probably why most people read this nothingness. Only to find that there isn't any news after all. Hence my comment.
  • Alexvrb - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    We don't know if this is important or not. I still like to hear the news, especially after the disappointing first showing. Looking at the architecture on paper, I think it has a lot of potential, but not in its current form and especially on current software.

    Anyway, a stepping is usually no big deal, but it depends on the stepping. Most of the time they're just minor tweaks. But remember the Thoroughbred "A" vs "B"? The early Athlon XP ran out of steam at 1.8Ghz. The revision out of Dresden scaled a whole hell of a lot better, which allowed them to keep pumping out faster K7s until K8 showed up.

    Don't get me wrong, I certainly don't expect anything like that from BD B3 stepping! But a future iteration might bring better clockspeeds, to make up for low per-core performance, hopefully before Piledriver even shows up.
  • Jeff7181 - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    Back in the day people attacked AnandTech for being AMD-biased. I think AnandTech is just biased towards quality products.
  • A5 - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link


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