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Phenom Caught A Processor Bug - Remembering The Pentium 60

Phenom 9700, AMD's 1st Quad-Core CPU
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A statement about the Phenom 9700

Somehow, we couldn't help but think back to the P60 as Dave Everitt informed the audience that a processor bug had found its way into the early Phenom processor samples. The bug causes the system to freeze when a certain combination of instructions coincides with extraordinarily high traffic.

This bug can only be reproduced in the lab but does not occur under normal, real-world conditions. It is still present in the 2.20 GHz and 2.30 GHz versions of the Phenom (9500 and 9600).

As a result of this bug, the 2.4 GHz version of the Phenom with the model number 9700 has been pushed back to January of 2008. When it comes out, that version will not contain the bug.

This turn of events caught both the press and AMD's employees completely by surprise as this fact was completely unknown before the launch event. Currently, many online stores still list the Phenom 9700, but any attempt to order it should end in a cancellation by the retailer.

Still listed - Phenom 9700

We did not encounter any crashes or instabilities with the CPU we received for testing.

We should mention that bugs like these are nothing extraordinary and are a comparatively commonplace occurrence. The processor makers list these bugs in so called Errata that detail the specifics of each bug. In most cases, the error is fixed in the next stepping of the CPU without the user ever knowing it existed in the first place. Intel, for example, details how the errata on each of its processors can be provoked to cause an exception or error. In other words, the fact that the first batch of Phenom processors has a bug shouldn't be dwelled on all that much.

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