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I ran SiSoftware's Sandra on my new PC, and for my CPU it reports:

Generation :        G8 / T29
Name :              TN0 (Trinity) FX/Opteron 32nm (ES)
Revision/Stepping : 0 : 10 / 1
Stepping Mask :     TN-A1
Microcode :         MU6F10010F

The (ES) is a well-known code in product development, meaning "Engineering Sample". Those are beta versions of the CPU, which still may contain some bugs, or even have features switches off. I contacted both the PC's manufacturer Medion as well as AMD about this.

I had to downvote the Medion helpdesk here. The person I talked to boldly said Sandra was wrong (without knowing how Sandra got this information; he didn't even know the software), and used the word "impossible". His conclusion was "We’re not taking this in consideration for service”. Right. So, if you like Medion for their good prices, but like good support even better, you may consider buying your PC elsewhere.

AMD was more helpful, but wanted to be sure before replacing the part (which I find reasonable). They suggested that I dismount the cooler from the CPU to check what was printed on it to be sure. I'm a bit reluctant here: I would have to wipe the thermal paste from the CPU, and won't know for sure my cooling will still be OK afterwards.

Questions

  1. Has anybody actually found a confirmed ES CPU in her PC?
  2. Is anybody aware of Sandra erroneously reporting CPUs as Engineering Samples?
  3. How can you tell an ES, apart from the print on the package? Shouldn't Stepping Mask identify the CPU uniquely?
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I wonder if we could double check this with another tool, maybe pc wizard or wmic? Is this a desktop or a laptop? –  Journeyman Geek Oct 18 '12 at 10:53
    
The way AMD suggested is probably the most safe. Sandra can report a wrong value for anything and I've seen similar things happen before. Re-applying thermal paste is very easy; a routine proccess that you can easily learn online. Be careful not to spill any on other parts and check your temperatures when you're done. –  zmode Oct 18 '12 at 10:54
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The only way to know for sure is to look at the physical device. Until you do this we cannot help you. –  Ramhound Oct 18 '12 at 11:19

1 Answer 1

I'd contact SiSoftware and ask them how Sandra determines the 'ES', and whether there's any chance it could be fooled somehow. I think the most likely scenario is that Sandra is incorrect somehow, but unless they already know of a bug, you'll still have to pop the cooler to confirm the issue and report it.

Do be careful when removing the cooler, and make sure you wipe the paste well. Also, take a good picture of the CPU while you've got the paste off - that way you won't have to pull the cooler again in the future. You want to make sure the lettering is very clear in the picture, so you can compare it to proper lettering later, and you'll want to see if there's any evidence of tampering of the lettering.

You'll need paste on hand to re-apply when you re-assemble. Also, you might want to look into what sort of cooler is on the system - the last Intel CPU I bought came with a cooler that didn't use paste at all, and I have no idea what AMD is shipping these days - it might be easier than you think.

There's been a lot of supply-chain shenanigans in recent years with a lot of vendors. It's completely unreasonable of Medion to claim 'impossible' that you've got an ES part. Unlikely, yes, but hardly impossible - I don't believe for one minute that they examine each and every CPU that comes in the door. Someone up the chain could have accidentally sent them the wrong boxes of parts, or intentionally subbed in the ES units in pursuit of extra profit (AMD likely scrapped out the ES units when they did the final release. Scrapped parts don't always end up destroyed like they are supposed to be, and some less-than-honest folk sometimes sell them as if they were the real deal).

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The stock cooler that Intel ships is more of a pad of thermal paste, it still paste, just been applied in a different way. They do this to both save money ( less paste is wasted by applying it for you ) and package costs ( otherwise they would have to ship out a little packege of thermal paste with each CPU ). –  Ramhound Oct 18 '12 at 11:48
    
@Ramhound - do you mean that the pad is just a pre-formed blob of paste, or is it one of the polymer pads (I know 3M makes some materials that can work in this situation). The advantage to the pads is that you don't need to worry about them when re-applying the cooler, they should squish right back down and keep working, if I'm not mistaken. –  Michael Kohne Oct 18 '12 at 13:03

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