Issues With AMD's Barcelona
It seems that we are learning a little more about AMD’s upcoming Barcelona cores week after week as the launch date nears. A couple of days ago we learned that Barcelona will be launched on September 10. Today we learned that Barcelona’s full power-saving features will not function unless users get a new BIOS update and a supported motherboard. It might mean buying a whole new mobo for those who want to take full advantage of Barcelona’s features.
“It seems the CPU itself is capable of engaging in CoolCore operations, but not Dual Dynamic Power Management (formerly “Split Plane,” which allowed each core to operate independently with different voltages and clock speeds). It won’t be able to handle these power saving and performance enhancing aspects of operations from the core alone. The motherboard must be brought into the mix in an active way to help reduce power consumption and save energy when the many cores are not in high use.”
Of course the Barcelona CPUs will still run fine in motherboards of the right socket type. Without the power savings features, the CPUs will not only consume more power (obviously), but will also run relatively hotter. One other kink with Barcelona is that the “128-bit floating point support will require a recompile to be used. This means no existing software will see any advantage whatsoever from AMD’s powerful floating point engine.” With about a month before launch AMD’s Barcelona is still somewhat of a mystery. For instance, benchmark figures are still not available. Hopefully, for AMD's sake, its silence will lead to a big and pleasant surprise.