Stepping (CPU)?

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i'm looking at the AMD website, at their Athlon 64 (Socket 939) product
range. There's this specification called "Stepping", and under the
3000+ model, there's actually a choice between CG, D0, E3 and E6.

Actually, what's stepping? And what do CG, D0, E3 and E6 stand for?

Also, i looked at the MSI website, and under the K8N Neo2-F, it says
that it supports AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (D0). I suppose the "D0" refers to
the stepping? In that case, wow, it only support one of the four
stepping choices. How would i know which "stepping" model of CPU i
would be getting?

Thanks and Regards,

Re: Stepping (CPU)?


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After a CPU is designed, there are further refinements in
the manufacturing or design- not enough to consider it a
different CPU, relatively minor things but nevertheless
could be significant for various reasons such as
overclocking potential, bug tracking, microcode updates, or
even things they'll never tell you about.  They will make a
determination of what kind or extent of change(s) warrant a
different letter, and within that letter, incremental
numbers.  In other words, the higher the letter (and number
after it within the same letter), the newer the CPU design
is.  Often (usually?) the newer it is, the better.  

However, better may be irrelevant, as a motherboard with
bios having updated microcode and a user who isn't
overclocking, should not have any particular need to choose
a newer stepping, as they are all guaranteed to work equally
well as per their model/name/spec/etc suggest.

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They can only guarantee whatever stepping they had access to
at the time of testing.  That doesn't necessarily mean it
won't work with a newer one, but it does generally mean it
includes all older steppings than D0, too, everything up
until that point unless stated otherwise.  A bios update
would potentially update the CPU microcode if that were
necessary, but in these cases the system will (always,
AFAIK) run long enough to flash that bios with the newer CPU
in it.  I suppose there is some outside chance that a bug
would interfere with the bios update itself, but it is so
remote and I"ve never heard of it happening, let alone
anyone even mentioning it as something that might happen.

Re: Stepping (CPU)?

On Wed, 09 Nov 2005 11:30:28 GMT, no@spam.invalid (digisol)

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Stepping is not really related to batch, there are other
codes on the CPU that are used to signify the manufacturing
period.  Stepping relates to the design, not when it was

Re: Stepping (CPU)?

Can mean what batch of chip it is and when it was made, also can show
specs) as to what performance the particular batch may be.

Certain batches are
made and say could be locked at say 3000, but when
unlocked it may have a
performance level of 3500 with no fuss, the
company will use whatever chip cores
that are available or that they
have an excess of to make up to a certain locked
cpu that when
unlocked had a high performance level before being locked.

cpu's are good overclockers and others are dogs, it depends on
the unlocked
performance level (the stepping) while still unlocked,
they then lock the core
at a certain speed for sale as required.

IE; you may buy say a 2500 (locked)
but the core was previously
performance tested in the factory and it reached
well over 3000+ mhz
while unlocked, then you may buy a 2500 that was taken from
different batch (stepping) which was tested unlocked and went to
maybe only
2600 in it's unlocked state, it would then be a total dog
of an overclocker.

Those in the know, (there are lists) can then choose certain steppings
that is
known to be a good overclocking cpu when unlocked.

As long as the performance
level is higher while unlocked whatever
it's locked at will make the cpu will
work fine at it's stock speed
but a dog of an overlocker, or a very good one
depending on the
stepping (batch).

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