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Old May 16, 2010, 09:13 AM
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Could someone please explain, in layman's terms, stepping processors.
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Old May 16, 2010, 09:34 AM
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Not too sure about your question. If you're asking what "stepping" means...

The stepping, it's like a batch revision. The first processors coming from the production line with be assigned a stepping designation (like stepping number 1, for exemple). Like in my sig, my Intel core2quad Q9550 is a C1 stepping. C1 was the first stepping of the Q9550 I assume. AFTER, Intel came up with a REVISED chip, that actually overclocked a little better, it was called the E0...don't ask me what is the logic behind the names I don't know. The E0 could reach 4.0GHz to 4.2Ghz max, the older C1 would cap at 3.8GHz (but would reach 3.8GHz REALLY easily).

If you are shopping for a processor, and you're intent is to overclock the chip to it's maximum, then you might be interested in finding which stepping is better (if there is more that one stepping for said CPU).

also, some hardcore overclockers tend to try to buy a CPU coming from a specific batch/week...
If you don't plan to overclock, or if you want to reach a good overclock but not extreme, you might not need to bother with stepping.

That is not to be confused with a CPU that steps up and down according to the load, which is a different thing altogether.
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Old May 16, 2010, 09:48 AM
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There are steppings in AMD's offerings as well. I can't recall off my head but i think the latest stepping for Phenom II Quads are C3's.
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Old May 16, 2010, 11:03 AM
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In general, steppings tend to represent refinements to the manufacturing process. The item may be sold as the same product on the store shelf, but behind the scenes there are usually small improvements and tweaks happening. Pretty much any processor these days has a list of bugs and errata longer than your arm (although it's rare that they actually become an issue), and future steppings will often address those. Or the company may have found a better way to implement the processor logic, that either improves power efficiency or perhaps improves manufacturing yields. And while I have my doubts that it's a primary concern for Intel/AMD, it's not uncommon for newer steppings to give better overclocking results, or stay cooler under load.
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Old May 16, 2010, 03:06 PM
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Thanks guys. I thought it might be that, just wasn't sure. Delavan, you hit the nail on the head, I wasn't sure how to ask that question to begin with. At least without further confusing myself, hahaha. Is there a site where this info is available? Which batches are best,...
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Old May 16, 2010, 09:46 PM
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Just hunt around. As an example, searching for i7 D0 stepping comes up with a plethora of hits.
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