AMD Phenom 9600 Black Edition – A New Hope?

B2 Stepping – TLB Bug is Still Around

In November of last year, AMD introduced the Phenom CPU its first quad-core processor. However, the chipmaker had to cancel the 2.4 GHz model, which was meant to launch as the flagship, at the very last minute due to a bug in the Translation Lookaside Buffer (TLB).

Due to this error, there is an increased chance that the Phenom may crash the system under very rare and unusual circumstances. This may occur when lines of code are transformed into physical addresses in the L3 cache while there is simultaneously a large amount of data traffic. To put your mind at ease, let us say at this point that this is a scenario that does not occur with normal desktop applications. Also, we didn’t encounter this phenomenon during any of our tests. Nonetheless, AMD decided to play it safe and not sell any Phenom processors running faster than 2.30 GHz.

The Phenom 9600 Black Edition continues to use this faulty B2 stepping. We can’t really understand why AMD sells this CPU specifically as an overclocker part regardless. Currently, there are three Phenom models, all of which use the B2 stepping.


Overview of Phenom Models
Phenom 9900 B3 June 2008
Phenom 9700 B3 April 2008
Phenom 9600 BE B2 now
Phenom 9600 B2 now
Phenom 9500 B2 now


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  • mi1ez
    Oh dear...
    This has certainly done them no more favours...
  • Therlian
    This is an embarrassment for AMD. It's actually worse that they released the Black Edition of this processor because it shows that even with all the tricks, AMD is currently not even posing as competition for Intel. I don't know what AMD will be able to do to keep going; it seems like no matter what they try they are still way behind Intel.

    At least when Intel was beating AMD in performance in the early days of the P2, at least AMD was still a viable option because of their price/performance ratio.

    I hope they come up with something though; I don't want Intel to be the only product and raise their prices.
  • darthpoik
    Poor AMD. I liked you a lot but Intel are truly kicking your butts. Hopefully this is just a Rocky feint and they will be back with a vengence soon