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Sandy Bridge-E VT-d Broken In C1 Stepping, Fixed In C2 Stepping, Shortly After Launch

Discussion in 'News' started by qubit, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    PC enthusiast customers and companies running corporate datacentres looking to buy into the new Sandy Bridge-E platform may want to wait a little while before handing over their hard-earned money to Intel. The initial batch of C1 revision Sandy Bridge-E processors have a bug – “errata” in Intel terminology – in them with VT-d, which means that hardware accelerated virtualization doesn’t work properly with them (software only mode is unaffected). The feature when working properly, allows all hardware acceleration to work on the hosted operating system (virtual machine). This would allow things such as hard drive controllers to work, plus applications such as high-powered 3D games, typically First Person Shooters, to run at nearly full speed and the full Windows Aero desktop to be displayed on the hosted OS, as the hardware features of the graphics card can be used. Therefore, working VT-d is a critical feature for these kinds of applications.

    [​IMG]

    Production of the C1 stepping should have already started, or is about to start. However, the C2 stepping isn’t expected until next year, as the qualification process isn’t expected to be complete until the end of this year.

    Intel will only certify the Waimea Bay platform for PCI Express 2.0 at launch, since there aren’t enough third party cards to test with. Some PCI Express 3.0 devices are still likely to work, but Intel doesn’t guarantee compatibility. This doesn’t bode well for the current 6-series motherboard with gen 3 switches actually working properly once cards and especially, Ivy Bridge processors arrive. Waiting for full qualification before purchasing is therefore advised, or an expensive motherboard replacement may be required in the not too distant future.

    There is some good news however. For those wanting to continue using Windows XP, the Waimea Bay platform will be compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the operating system. However, Intel won’t be providing Rapid Storage drivers for 32-bit XP, which means that the basic Windows drivers will be handling drive access, which may not be optimal. Unsurprisingly, the upcoming Waimea Bay platform will also be supporting the upcoming Windows 8, when released.

    It’s not so good on the chipset front, either. Intel has increased the price of the X79 chipset by 20% compared to the X58 chipset, putting the X79 chipset somewhere in the region of $70. This is the list price, so the discounted or “street” price should be a lot lower. However, we are looking at a chipset that offers no new features over X58 and it’s the same size as the 6-series chipsets – it should be cheaper to manufacture than the X58 chipset which only consists of the I/O Hub and the ICH10R. We wish AMD well with their new processors and chipsets, as competition can only be a good thing here and is clearly needed.

    It's one thing for "errata" to be discovered some time after a product has been released and then to manufacture a revised processor, but it doesn’t seem right for Intel to release processors with a known major feature fault like this, especially as most buyers are unlikely to know about it and Intel is even less likely to shout about it. Therefore, buyers would be wise to wait for the bug-fixed C2 version before upgrading, unless they are absolutely sure they won’t need this virtualization feature. After all, are Intel going to offer a free replacement to the fixed version for customers of the initial C1 versions? Only this gesture can make releasing such an obviously flawed product right. Intel have offered such a free replacement recently with the faulty SATA controller, so there's hope yet they'll do the right thing. And just as importantly, it's worth keeping a close watch on what significant errata C2 might harbour, before upgrading.

    Source: vr-zone.com
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2011
  2. TRWOV

    TRWOV

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    *sniff* *sniff* Barcelona? ;)
     
    Crunching for Team TPU
  3. the54thvoid

    the54thvoid

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    I'll sit on my x58 until ivybridge i think. Just spent >£200 on W/C kit to play with my old i7 920. No upgrades for me this year. :)
     
  4. Ferrum Master

    Ferrum Master

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    Yeah... mine 920 is also more than enough...

    But seriously... this is a huge problem... it renders them pointless for server market...

    Till X79 mates? :D
     
  5. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    I'm still happy with my 4GHz Lynnfield.:laugh:

    At least Intel caught it and let people know before the processors were released.
     
    Crunching for Team TPU 50 Million points folded for TPU
  6. [H]@RD5TUFF

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    Believe it when I see it.
     
  7. qwerty_lesh

    qwerty_lesh

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    written with a strong degree if bias :banghead:

    The express chipset may not contain a vast amount of feature differences over Tylersburg, but the platform on the whole is significantly better, sharing such praise wouldnt be beneficial to your hating tho wouldn't it? :slap:
     
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  8. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    There's been no bias and no hate.

    If you want to buy a new system with these significant bugs in it, go right ahead, Intel is preparing to sell it to you. Everyone else will have been glad to have been informed of such a problem so that they can avoid getting stung by it. :rolleyes:
     
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  9. crazyeyesreaper

    crazyeyesreaper Chief Broken Rig

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    correct ive actually starting using virtual machines and the like to test out some what ifs and potential problems also good for getting some older apps to work , so the fact Sandybridge E C1 silicon has a bug that makes that worthless im glad to know i didnt plan to use SB E but its still good to know about said problem.

    but i would guess qwerty you love Intel so much any ill will or article must be biased right?

    its a tech problem it was reported thats how this works, its also mentioned a fix is in place it just wont be ready for a short while. so dont get your panties in a bunch.
     
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  10. D4S4

    D4S4

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    it would be nice if they sold them at lower prices because of this.
     
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  11. seronx

    seronx

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    NETBURST!! BARCELONA!!! AWFUL CPU!!!!

    :p

    Oh, well
     
  12. v12dock

    v12dock

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    ESXi, Xen, Hyper-V all extremely popular hypervisors lets hope they get this issue fixed as soon as possible
     
  13. bear jesus

    bear jesus New Member

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    Damn :( part of why i am so interested in something with 6c/12t or 8c is the virtualization possibility's, i do agree though, it is very nice this info has come out before launch but i can't help but be unhappy that if sandy bridge E is my choice i would not get an upgrade this year.
     
  14. NC37

    NC37

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    Just goes to show that just like the original Phenom was bugged, Intel is just as open to bugs as AMD.
     
  15. devguy

    devguy

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    I'd have to guess that Intel will throw the majority of these C1 chips to OEMs, and tell them to not have an option to enable hardware VT-d in their BIOS/UEFI.

    While I do agree that it is nice Intel is informing people before launch about this issue, it isn't so much like the "Barcelona" debacle you all reference. In that case, AMD helped motherboard manufacturers issue out a bios to fix the problem (albeit with about a 20% performance hit), and it really didn't affect any home consumer users. Intel motherboards cannot receive a BIOS update to fix this (most likely), nor the SATA issue on early 6 series chipsets.
     
  16. LAN_deRf_HA

    LAN_deRf_HA

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    This platform is looking more pointless everyday. It has no IPC benefit over 1155 despite twice the memory bandwidth. No pcie 3.0, and now no virtualization. It has 2 extra cores. That's it. Big whoop. You can fit two extra cores on 1155 with 22nm just fine. I get why they didn't learn their lesson with 1156 and 1366. 1366 came out first, people got attached to it and what not. This time though it's reversed. 1155 has a massive market saturation advantage, and so far 2011 isn't offering squat over it's cheaper already available cousin. If 2011 sells like shit just maybe Intel will go back to a singular consumer platform.

    Unfortunately because 2011 is planned to have a very long life even if it didn't sell a single unit in the first year there's plenty of time for it to do well enough for Intel to consider it a success. Hell even if it was total flop I'm wondering if they still wouldn't try this divided platform crap again and again.
     
  17. Inceptor

    Inceptor

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    They'll do it again and again. The 'enthusiast' high end socket has other customers, namely corporate and government customers looking for low-end workstations. It's useful to pull that aggregated segment out of the 'normal' low-end and mid-end segments. At least useful enough for a large corporation like Intel to make it financially viable, in some way.
     
  18. SteelSix

    SteelSix

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    Well that's crappy news. I was waiting for X79. Plan B involves Z68 and 2500K; looks like that may have to do for a couple months.
     
  19. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    Yeah, it's not good news, is it? The release of a proper, bug-fixed CPU is now so far away, that if someone wants to build a system now, they might as well just go ahead. Possibly waiting a short while to see what Bulldozer is like is the only thing worth waiting for. That's being released soon, but I can't remember the date, now.
     
  20. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    I think there's a fair bit of exaggeration going on. Intel would not release a server-class processor without VT-d functionality (equivilent of shooting one self in the foot). It has a bug, but I highly doubt it is completely dysfunctional.
     
    Crunching for Team TPU
  21. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    Yes, I've been wondering exactly how broken this is too. IMHO it's pretty bad for them to respin the chip.
     
  22. claylomax

    claylomax

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    Remember that AMD said Bulldozer would be released 90 days aproximately after the motherboards, so it's just around the corner.
     
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  23. the54thvoid

    the54thvoid

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    I think for anyone thinking of x79 for gaming rigs should really just wave it by. A 2600k and a top end gfx card will reap virtually the same benefits. So sure, you can go uber multi gfx but whether the cards run at x16 or x8 doesn't make a lot of real world diff (http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/pci-express-scaling-p67-chipset-gaming-performance,review-32164-9.html).

    With Ivybridge coming in Spring (and AMD's reputed tweaks for BD) there will be more 'polished' tech available. PCI-e 3 will be more mature with perhaps some gfx vendors using it and you'll get tri-gate tech on IB.

    Really, Intel screwed up by making SB so good. I bought X58 and SB cpu is better. You buy x79 now and in 6 months, IB will probably be better.

    Nah, x79 seems like a waste to anyone other than those that really need it's functionality yet from all the web reports so far, it seems very hamstrung.
     
  24. DrPepper

    DrPepper The Doctor is in the house

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    Only problem is "hardware accelerated" VM's. The cpu's are fine for everyday stuff, no idea why some people think the thing might not work at all.
     
  25. Jizzler

    Jizzler

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    Well, that makes the decision easier. It was one thing to lose SAS support - future motherboards would have it and I could just swap it out. But with the importance of VT-d (VM's are my everyday stuff ;)), no reason to get SB-E now. I'll just have to wait for C2 along with SAS-equiped motherboards.

    Hopefully they hold back SB-E Xeons. It is vitally important there, or the bug is overblown as Ford theorizes.


    Come on AMD! I have nothing until 2012!
     

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