Intel Sandy Bridge-E C2 stepping spotted

January 31, 2012 // 11:09 a.m.

Tags: #errata #intel #sandy-bridge-e #vt-d

The first Sandy Bridge-E chips based around the C2 revision have begun to appear in Japan, suggesting that the fixed silicon will be hitting shelves worldwide shortly.

While it doesn't add any new functionality to Intel's latest high-end processors, the C2 stepping does fix an error in the design which led to Intel's VT-d virtualisation extensions failing to operate correctly. The result: a major hit to the performance of virtualised operating systems running on a Sandy Bridge-E processor.

Spotted by Japanese enthusiast site PC Watch, the new stepping promises to fix that flaw. So far, the C2 revision has been spotted on Core i7-3960X and Core i7-3930K processors.

Sadly, that still leaves Intel's high-end chips with a pretty long list of errata (PDF) yet to be fixed. Thankfully, however, few are as serious as the VT-d error.

The revised processors with the C2 stepping can be distinguished from their brethren by their S-Spec code: SR0KF and SR0KY. Thus far, there's no indication what effect - if any - the revision has on the chips' overclocking capabilities.

With Intel's Sandy Bridge-E series proving a popular, if expensive, upgrade for performance enthusiasts, it's good to see Intel release incremental fixes. What would be nicer, however, is to see the prices coming down.

With PC Watch quoting ¥83,970 and ¥48,980 for the two C2 processors (around £700 and £408 before tax respectively,) that's something we could be waiting a while to see.

Will you be splashing out on a Sandy Bridge-E chip, or is price - rather than VT-d compatibility - the key for you? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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