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CPU shown as engineering sample?

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January 5, 2011 8:33:11 PM

Hi all,
I'm running an Athlon X3 445 Rana unlocked to a 4 core Athlon (showed an a Phemon B45 IIRC) and it has been running fine with no problems. I open system properties and suddenly find it says it's an engineering sample. So I check CPU-Z and that says the same thing, it's a 1.6ghz sample again. I haven't tried rebooting yet and my motherboard is an M3A790GXH.
Any explanation for this strangeness?
Thanks
P.s here is an image
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January 5, 2011 8:42:25 PM

Where did you buy the cpu ?

That will help answer some unknowns.
January 5, 2011 8:50:40 PM

The CPU was bought in november from ebuyer.com. It was working fine until it did that. It happened after I'd pushed it to 100% which I haven't really done until now.
Related resources
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January 5, 2011 9:02:38 PM

thefrenchie said:
The CPU was bought in november from ebuyer.com. It was working fine until it did that. It happened after I'd pushed it to 100% which I haven't really done until now.


Are you saying that the cpu used to report something different in software ?
January 5, 2011 9:06:02 PM

I doubt it was a glitch because it was stably encoding video at 1.58v and the chip normally runs at 1.4v. Maybe I got lucky and maybe it means I could really push this chip hard with a major overclock. However, it could always be my funky motherboard, they are notoriously unusual as a whole. People have had a lot of problems with them.
January 5, 2011 9:07:51 PM

It used to report itself as a Phenom X4 B45 after I unlocked it, before that it was a Rana X3. It's odd.
January 6, 2011 2:44:33 AM

An engineering sample or ES can be a pretty big deal to places like AMD or Intel. They almost always have traceable serial numbers, as they are loaned out under very strict terms of use.

In the past Intel have been known to offer nice exchanges for the return of any ES. You may like to try contacting AMD to see if they can verify exactly what it is. If they confirm it IS indeed an ES, they will likely want it back, and id assume offer you any AMD chip of your choice in return.

As for Intel CPU's, they usually had 'ES' or 'Engineering sample' on the heat spreader... which kinda gives it away.
January 6, 2011 5:38:16 AM

Hmmmmm, I think I will email them later, however I just want to ask. Would a normal chip run stably at 1.58 volts without freezing or locking up? Because if not, then this chip must have made it's way to retail from a bin somehow.
I've just rebooted the PC now and it's gone back to the X3 445 that it is, the 4th core has relocked itself.
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January 6, 2011 8:11:20 AM

*gasp* The mystery of the strange bi-polar CPU continues...
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January 6, 2011 1:53:45 PM

mrmez said:
An engineering sample or ES can be a pretty big deal to places like AMD or Intel. They almost always have traceable serial numbers, as they are loaned out under very strict terms of use.

In the past Intel have been known to offer nice exchanges for the return of any ES. You may like to try contacting AMD to see if they can verify exactly what it is. If they confirm it IS indeed an ES, they will likely want it back, and id assume offer you any AMD chip of your choice in return.

As for Intel CPU's, they usually had 'ES' or 'Engineering sample' on the heat spreader... which kinda gives it away.



Nah, this is urban legend stuff. Intel and AMD give out lots of ES parts and they dont track them once they are shipped out. We are talking thousands for every stepping they produce. They are marked as ES so they do not get sold or returned for warranty replacement.

They are given to the press, to PC and server manufacturers, and to any company they have a relationship with. The CPUs are marked with an ES on top which Toms will usually show in pictures - and reported with CPUz. ES parts may be for a stepping that is never released to the public because it has flaws, so its part of why you dont want to pay for them - but if the price is right - go for it.

In this case the modification seems to be confusing CPUz
January 6, 2011 3:11:21 PM

Hmmmm that's strange because I bought the part from a legit site and it looked retail when I built the PC. I'm emailing AMD now to see what they have to say about it.
Also, I just noticed that it says it's a TWKR. Is it worth seeing if I can sell it? I'm sure people would pay.
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January 6, 2011 3:15:12 PM

thefrenchie said:
I doubt it was a glitch because it was stably encoding video at 1.58v and the chip normally runs at 1.4v. Maybe I got lucky and maybe it means I could really push this chip hard with a major overclock. However, it could always be my funky motherboard, they are notoriously unusual as a whole. People have had a lot of problems with them.

You don't want it to run over 1.5V. Have you set the voltage in the bios?
January 6, 2011 3:30:19 PM

It automatically set itself to 1.58v, now I rebooted again and it has gone back to a Phenom X4 B45 at 1.4v. It'll probably go back to an Engineering Sample after a reboot. It was an Engineering Sample the last 3 times I booted it. However, the B45 has gone from the name.
I've never tried overclocking it past 3.4ghz but it ran stably then at 1.425v.
I'm waiting on a reply from AMD too, if they want it back, I'll see if I can get it replaced with a real Phenom X4 or even an X6.
January 6, 2011 3:46:19 PM

Well it clocks down to 1.6ghz with a max multiplier of x8 instead of x15.5 so it becomes noticeably slower than my ULV notebook.
I'd try doing it but I can never be sure what it'll reboot as. I'm leaving it running for now because this time it booted as a real Phenom.
January 11, 2011 7:51:46 PM

UPDATE: I had to check the BIOS anyway and I saw a mindblowing multiplier setting for my CPU. 6300mhz is the limit apparently. Sorry for the poor quality but I only had my phone's camera.

This really seems to be an ex TWKR CPU.
Any thoughts?
January 11, 2011 8:09:08 PM

How far should I try and push it on the stock heatsink? It keeps around 35 under load on stock settings.
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January 11, 2011 8:29:57 PM

Well, interestingly enough if it is a ES I wonder how AMD does it. I know one guy contacted Intel (this was back in 2007) about a QX6700 ES he got and Intel sent him a unreleased Core 2 Quad QX6850 for reporting it. Not sure if AMD would do the same since ES chips are meant to be with testers, not consumers.

As for the maximum frequency, thats only with the multiplier at 200MHz. If you can increase the BCLK, then it can go higher. so say 250MHz BCLK at 31x yould be 7750MHz. But you wont be able to hit that unless its cooled with LN2. I would say on air you can probably hit about 4-4.5GHz on air. Then if you do water cooling, you can probably hit 5GHz+.
January 12, 2011 6:32:19 AM

Well I emailed AMD and they didn't want to know so I think it may well be worth giving them a ring and speaking to a real human being. It may be an ES that they assumed would be OK going out as an X3.
I tried overclocking to around 3.8ghz and it worked fine at just over stock voltage for the X3 which is 1.4v, I haven't tried it at 1.55v which the CPU states is the max when it's an ES.
Unfortunately, the CPU has a mind of it's own. It's hit or miss what it will boot as. I will try fiddling with ACC to see if there is a specific combination which works more reliably to have it boot as the ES.
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January 14, 2011 12:59:55 PM

I'd say give them a ring. They might give you an actual TWKR 42.
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January 14, 2011 1:21:25 PM

"Stock' voltage is around 1.325v --- 1.4v is the specified 'Max' voltage.

1.58v is too much (unless you are under DIce or LN2).

When you 'unlock' an AMD processor you bork the system readings, sensors and ID. AMD sold the CPU as an X3 445 and you have claimed:

Quote:
... I tried overclocking to around 3.8ghz and it worked fine at just over stock voltage for the X3


So what's the issue here, again?
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January 14, 2011 5:58:07 PM

I've got a Phenom X4 9850 that I bought just after the launch of the Phenom II 920/940, got it retail from newegg. It's paired with a Biostar 790GX based board(not sure exact model number and I'm not on the computer to check). It occasionally reads as an engineering sample, but when it does a simple reboot makes it show Phenom X4 9850 again. I attribute it to some sort of software glitch within my BIOS or something else unknown.
January 14, 2011 8:29:31 PM

Lots of engineering samples "escape" over the course of the development and sampling to our partners.

The fact that you bought it from a vendor would be of interest to AMD as those parts are supposed to be legally sold.

Someone having an engineering sample is not a real concern (it happens often) but somebody buying one is a big concern.
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January 14, 2011 11:26:06 PM

^I would imagine that's the one case. Someone given one wouldn't seem to be a problem. But them selling it is where it gets flaky.

I would love to know how AMD handles it
January 14, 2011 11:49:41 PM

I have had to deal with this before. Generally I'm willing to give someone the real thing, but only if they are only going to work with our investigations department.

If you tell me you want a new processor but don't want to get involved, it's not going to go to far.
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January 15, 2011 6:34:09 AM

Gee, imma make a bet that engineering samples must sell for heaps!

I mean like how cool is it to have an ES chip?

January 15, 2011 6:39:55 AM

jf-amd said:
I have had to deal with this before. Generally I'm willing to give someone the real thing, but only if they are only going to work with our investigations department.

If you tell me you want a new processor but don't want to get involved, it's not going to go to far.



Working together?

Pffft

Your never going to win over the intel / nivida fanbois like this.
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January 15, 2011 7:11:23 AM

Randomacts said:
Working together?

Pffft

Your never going to win over the intel / nivida fanbois like this.


Then again, you can't win over fanbois.

They'll support whatever they want.

January 15, 2011 9:18:15 AM

jf-amd said:
I have had to deal with this before. Generally I'm willing to give someone the real thing, but only if they are only going to work with our investigations department.

If you tell me you want a new processor but don't want to get involved, it's not going to go to far.


If I'm honest, I'd rather have something that's a bit more reliable because it keeps resetting itself. I know the multi is unlocked so it isn't just a glitch but the CPU flits between saying it's an ES then saying it isn't.
I bought the CPU from a legit site, namely ebuyer.com who are a big company in the UK.
Seeing as you work for AMD, what would be the best way to get someone to look into the problem?
January 15, 2011 4:58:29 PM

Engineering samples are potentially older steppings that could have issues in them - which might be why the processor is resetting itself.

Shoot me a PM with your name, address, phone and email along with the OPN (product part number) and the serial number.

I will get that over to investigations and they will contact you.

I can't say for sure (because I only deal with server parts) but generally if you provide us with all of the relevant info (including the receipt) we will replace it with the same part, but a final production part that won't have that problem.
January 15, 2011 4:59:57 PM

amdfangirl said:
Gee, imma make a bet that engineering samples must sell for heaps!

I mean like how cool is it to have an ES chip?


well, if it has bugs in it that were fixed with spins of the silicon it would be worth little
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January 15, 2011 6:35:14 PM

Well, through manufacturing, most products go through development cycles.

Take Firefox for example, 4.0 is currently in beta. One of the reasons they release the beta is so extension developers can write code for the next-gen browser, allowing for extensions on launch day. Obviously, these aren't considered to be stable for cilent/consumer use, but good enough for testing/coding purposes.

In a similar way, AMD sends samples of CPUs to companies so they can integrate them into systems, try them out or to write optimised code for their next-generation processors. However, like Mozilla's Firefox, all the kinks of the new product haven't been worked out.

You see processor revisions from time to time, much in the same way Mozilla patches Firefox (abeit with lesser frequency). Newer AMD CPU steppings in the Phenom I fixed the infamous TLB (albeit with performance deficit) as well as the C3 stepping for the Phenom II and advancements on the 45nm node allowed them to make a Phenom that originally ran with a 125W TDP with the previous C2 revision at 95W with the C3.

With the ES chip, often they use steppings from before production, so in the Phenom II's case it might have been the precursor to C2.

ES chips are valueable because AMD, unlike Mozilla tends not to give out ES/beta products out to customers. They're unique and hard to find. Kinda like a trophy.

JF-AMD correct me if I'm wrong... I probably am.
January 15, 2011 6:54:46 PM

So, here's the "birds and the bees" of how silicon is born.

There is a first rev, that is referred to as "early silicon." That is internal only and typically only a few dozen parts. These never leave our labs. The expectation is that there will only be a few functional cores per die, some of the cache won't work, and the clock speed is really low. This basically lets you test the functionality of the design.

The next rev is called "proto" because these are the prototype parts. Protos should be fully functional (but sometimes might not) and these go through our labs and then get handed out to a few select (ie. big) OEMs who happen to have really good programs for crunching silicon (sometimes a second and third set of eyes helps you find things.)

The next spin of silicon is EVT for early validation testing. This is now several hundred parts. These go through a few weeks of test and then after we have a certain amount of coverage and feel good about the health, they go out to all of our major OEM partners, board partners, etc.

The next release is DVT for design verification testing. DVTs are in the thousands and are generally considered "production quality." DVT should be exactly like final silicon. If there is any change that happens, it is typically only a few gates and definitely only a single layer at that point. A multi-layer change would require another round of DVT parts.

Then, after all of the tests are completed and the silicon passes, it is declared production silicon and we are able to sell it. We cannot sell any pre-production silicon, so there is a marking on the lid.

Between each round there could be a layer change (respin).

Most products don't change between EVT and DVT; Istanbul basically nailed the design on the first round of silicon, which is why it launched much earlier than expected.

So, getting DVT silicon is like getting a final production product. But getting EVT silicon is generally bad because there could be something that caused another silicon respin.

Software partners generally get DVT parts. Compiler partners typically get EVT and DVT parts, but the procedure will vary with some products, so it is not a hard rule.
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January 15, 2011 7:08:46 PM

How are steppings made?

This is awfully fascinating stuff.
January 15, 2011 7:09:56 PM

I'm learning a lot. I never really realised what went into making a CPU.
January 15, 2011 9:27:36 PM

There are between 8 and 12 layers on most chips. A stepping is when the circuits change. A minor stepping is generally a single layer changing. A major stepping is multiple layers changing.
January 15, 2011 10:10:47 PM

Everything I said is public. Please do not imply that I am sharing inside information.
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January 16, 2011 3:49:19 AM

Quote:
i understand a I didn't mean anything to imply illegal activity... :ange: 
just being grateful for the info you have shared and stated in a jokingly manner, or so I thought.
my apologies..


He's trying to tell you that you're awesome, JF.
January 16, 2011 1:08:33 PM

Quote:
Amd is it true that there's about 60 percent of working dies on a single wafer?


We never talk about yields.
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January 16, 2011 1:59:29 PM

Is that something to do with speculators and stock investors?
January 16, 2011 2:49:45 PM

There is a list of things that I can't comment on. Obviously anything confidential. But you have to add to that anything about anyone at the company, any company rules/policies/internal info, financial info (even public financial info), market share, partners' relationships/prodducts, etc.

When the fabs were part of AMD it fell under company info and now that they are part of GlobalFoundries is is part of partner info.

Yields would allow the market to make determinations about both profit and inventory, and those are two areas I would rather not have people associating my name with statements.
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January 16, 2011 7:16:40 PM

^Smart man. Its always best to leave the people choosen to take the heat such as CEOs to that.

Either way yields would be interesting info but not one I would talk about if I worked at AMD or Intel either.
March 26, 2011 12:21:55 PM

I just turned on my PC and low and behold the New Hardware Wizard in Windows 7 has popped up trying to figure out some new hardware that has been attached to the PC. I know that there is nothing new so I am perplexed. The title of the hardware device was 'AMD Engineering Sample'. Given 5 minutes with Google I end up on this thread.


I used to have an AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus and now System Properties says: "AMD Engineering Sample 3.00 GHz".


I fired up trusty old CPU-Z (v1.56) and it says "AMD Phenom II 00 TWKR".

(Disclaimer: AMD Cool 'n' Quiet was enabled, hence the low core clock)


(Above was taken after a reboot and I disabled Cool 'n' Quiet)

Do I have one of these: http://www.tomshardware.com/picturestory/510-amd-phenom... ??? Or is something totally else going on here?

Background info: I purchased this CPU on October 25 2010 from NewEgg.ca and strangly enough when I received the package with the CPU, the tiny green AMD box that the CPU came in was already open. The AMD sticker was intact but the other side of the top flap had been cut.
March 27, 2011 11:59:37 AM

My guess is that if it ia a twkr that somehow the tools don't know how to read the CPUID.

If you think you received a problem CPU, PM me and I can put you in touch with our corporate investigations.

We will need all the data including OPN and serial # (on the top of the CPU, not the box) and some other data including where you got it from.

March 29, 2011 6:35:49 PM

jf-amd said:
My guess is that if it ia a twkr that somehow the tools don't know how to read the CPUID.

If you think you received a problem CPU, PM me and I can put you in touch with our corporate investigations.

We will need all the data including OPN and serial # (on the top of the CPU, not the box) and some other data including where you got it from.


Thank you for responding JF. I am considering taking my PC apart to facilitate this but it does mean downtime for me. My aftermarket heatsink can only be removed from the back of the motherboard and I do not have a cutout in my motherboard tray. It would only take a few hours but finding the time can be tough.

I don't believe in any way that the CPU I have is or will be a problem CPU. It operates as I expect it to and the temperatures are fine (40c under load).

I will let you know what my intentions are shortly.
April 14, 2011 9:33:38 PM

Funny thing this has also happened to me this evening My once x2 ghz cpu is now a AMD Engineering sample 1.6ghz.....had the same win 7 update trying to figure out the cpu.....mine was also bought from Ebuyer......dam thing also seems to have go on a go slow.....

April 14, 2011 9:42:37 PM

mrmez said:
An engineering sample or ES can be a pretty big deal to places like AMD or Intel. They almost always have traceable serial numbers, as they are loaned out under very strict terms of use.

In the past Intel have been known to offer nice exchanges for the return of any ES. You may like to try contacting AMD to see if they can verify exactly what it is. If they confirm it IS indeed an ES, they will likely want it back, and id assume offer you any AMD chip of your choice in return.

As for Intel CPU's, they usually had 'ES' or 'Engineering sample' on the heat spreader... which kinda gives it away.



i have 2 P4 engi samples and they both say "INTEL CLASSIFIED" on them
October 7, 2012 7:44:55 PM

i just had this happen to me today. I have an athlon X3 455 Rana that i've had unlocked for over 6 months as an phenom x4 B55. It's never had any issues until today. I bought the processor from newegg and the bax was sealed and showed as a 455rana. When i started teh computer today the drivers "updated" to show "AMD Engineering sample" just like c2roth's example above. Has anyone determined the cause of this and what the solution might be?
!