Athlon II X2s Get Micro-code Update

A quick call with AMD has revealed that the company will soon be releasing a micro-code update for the fresh-out-of-the-gate Athlon II X2 series processor.

The processors, while sharing the microarchitecture of the Phenom II, have slightly altered dies which drop the L3 cache in favor of a bigger 1MB per core L2 cache – which AMD hints somewhat lowered the thermals and allowed them to market the faster processor. There was also an assurance from AMD – in not so many words – that other speed grades are to come (upwards,we’re guessing, as downwards wouldn’t be a feat of any greatness). 

The current batch of Athlon II X2 250 processors are all affected by a bug, however.

The bug has been widely reported by tech sites worldwide and it affects how the processor clocks up after being in a C’n’Q power-saving mode.The Cool’n’Quiet feature won’t clock up the core that gets addressed with a new process (at least not immediately), resulting in some considerable performance impact. The solution until now has been keeping the C’n’Q feature turned off.

The bug doesn’t extend to the Phenom II family, and is in no way hardwired into the CPU, “it’s one of those things that just happen” said Antal Tungler, AMD Technical PR Manager in EMEA.

The micro-code update will be applied through partners' motherboard BIOS updates, as is the usual case, and will correct the situation without delay (everyone and their mother will be running benchmarks to attest to the difference).

Presented with the opportunity to weed out some additional info from AMD, we questioned Mr. Tungler about the so-called micro-code core-locking update that some sites have been reporting. He replied “there is no such thing” and that AMD’s official position on core-unlocking is: “there is no official position”.