Intel Prepping New 9th Gen CPU Stepping

/ 5 years ago
Intel CPU Shortages Expected to Continue Through Q2 2019

In the heyday of CPUs, new steppings were quite common as process nodes and designs were constantly changed. Generally speaking, a new stepping makes changes to either the process, architecture or other feature of the CPU. For the recently launched 9th generation processors, Intel is releasing a new stepping. The new stepping requires a motherboard BIOS update for support. Both ASUS and Gigabyte are providing updates to their 300 series motherboards.

A stepping traditionally meant a change in one of the masks involved in patterning the circuits. In the past, this has meant hardware changes such as bug fixes, cache sizes or other relatively minor features. Sometimes, it has also changed clock speeds and TDP. This time around, Intel has not revealed what the new stepping brings. Both Gigabyte and ASUS, the first with BIOS updates, have also not revealed what the new stepping brings.

New RP Stepping Replaces P0

The new chips should launch in the coming weeks, with ASUS indicating a Q2 2019 release. Hopefully, we will get more information then. Gigabyte in their notes, indicated that the new stepping is R0, compared to the current P0 stepping. As the 14nm++ node is already quite mature, it is unlikely a tweak to the process node. More likely, it is a change to the specifics of the CPUs.

With a timed release in Q2, one cannot wonder if it is related to AMD’s upcoming Ryzen 3000 series processors. With a revamped architecture and process, AMD stands to gain ground on the current 9th gen CPUs. A tweak to reduce TDP and/or boost clocks and cache in a minor way would be interesting. However, a new chip lineup would make more sense. More likely, it may just be a hardware fix to some bugs yet unknown.

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