The tragic comedy that is Bulldozer

Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2011 - 12:07 PM |
Tagged: bulldozer, amd

It is hard to know exactly what to say about Bulldozer.  It is not a complete fail for in multithreaded applications it sits in between the performance of the i5-2500 and i7-2600, which it was intended to.  Power consumption at idle has been improved but not at load which hurts, but not as much as the poor single threaded performance which is far worse than we had hoped.  SemiAccurate traced the long 5+ year history of the Bulldozer to see where AMD went astray from the dream that was.  The length of the story is certainly a part of it, 5 years is too long for silicon to languish especially when part of the delay was due to problems with the 45nm process.  Read on to hear about the struggles AMD underwent to get this chip to market as well as what corners were cut, or at least rounded, to get the chip on shelves.

SA_Bulldozer_Excavator1.jpg

"The story of Bulldozer and why it does what it does, both good and bad, can be summed up as death by 1000 cuts. There isn’t really any high point to the architecture, nor are there any really low points. To make matters worse, there isn’t any obvious smoking gun as to why things ended up so, well, meh. What you can get now, what you should have been able to get, and what you will be able to get from this new architecture is a long and complex story. Lets get started."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: SemiAccurate

AMD May Release 28nm 7000 HD Series GPU In December

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 15, 2011 - 12:34 PM |
Tagged: amd, gpu, graphics card, southern islands, HD 7000

Tom’s Hardware reports that a source within AMD has indicated that the company may release their upcoming Southern Islands GPU earlier than expected.  Previous rumors suggested that AMD would have their performance desktop graphics cards out in the first quarter of 2012 with the lower clocked and mobile processors coming out a bit sooner than that.

amd-logo1.jpg

If this new information turns out to be true, we may be seeing the high performance desktop graphics cards released in limited quantities of 7000 to 10,000 units in December with a full rollout of the company’s 28nm graphics card lineup in the months following.  Specifically, the first cards may be available as soon as December 6th, 2011.  It remains to be seen whether or not the lower power cards will still be released before the high performance desktop cards.

Personally, I'm interested to see how AMD's approach with their Southern Islands GPU will match up against Nvidia's current and future (more) general purpose computing design.  Are you excited for Southern Islands?

Podcast #174 - AMD FX Processor launch, New products from Corsair, Viewer Questions and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 14, 2011 - 12:02 AM |
Tagged: podcast, Intel, FX, corsair, bulldozer, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #174 - 10/13/2011

Join us this week as we talk about the AMD FX Processor launch, New products from Corsair, Viewer Questions and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 57:42

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:40 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:02:04 AMD FX-8150 Processor Review - Can Bulldozer Unearth an AMD Victory?
    1. Bulldozer Impressions: That was... interesting
  6.  0:29:19 Video Perspective: AVADirect $1000 Gaming System Review
  7.  0:30:00 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  8. 0:31:15 Corsair Releases High Capacity Force GT and Force 3 SSDs
  9. 0:33:00 Corsair Launches New H40 and H70 CORE Sealed Loop Water Coolers
  10. 0:35:23 Corsair Announces Availability of $139 Gaming PC Case
  11. 0:37:55 Samsung and Micron Developing Hybrid Memory Cube Technology
  12. 0:41:35 A quick and easy way to duplicate your drives
  13. 0:45:32 Email from Jeff about SSD slow down
  14. Email from Kent about SSD reviews
  15. 0:50:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Novatel Mifi Verizon 4G LTE
    2. Jeremy: MDK2HD!
    3. Josh: Sup Com and SC: FA on Steam now!  Cheeeap.  http://store.steampowered.com/sub/11732/
    4. Allyn: Sysinternals tools (namely Process Explorer)
  16. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  17. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  18. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  19. Closing

Video coming soon!

Source:

Can't hide the Bulldozer

Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2011 - 05:52 PM |
Tagged: bulldozer, amd, fx series, fx-8150

Not to imply that looking at more Bulldozer reviews is like rubbernecking as you pass an accident ... but there are some similarities.  While it might not be as great a performer as we were hoping, the chance to finally see AMD's new architecture is still a great thing.  A totally new way of looking at a CPU Core, a brand new style of overclocking and a processor that seems almost ahead of its time when you examine its multitasking capabilities is interesting even if it does not deliver the processing power that we hoped for.  Check out The Tech Report's indepth report to see what they thought of its performance

TR_bulldozer-overlay.jpg

"AMD's "Bulldozer" processors are here, and we have a full and extensive review."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Bulldozer Impressions: That was... interesting

Subject: Editorial | October 12, 2011 - 08:45 AM |
Tagged: GLOBALFOUNDRIES, fx-8150, bulldozer, am3+, amd, 32 nm

Huh. 

I am pretty sure I am not the only person who has read these Bulldozer reviews (including Ryan's here at PC Perspective) and had that particular reaction.  Bulldozer was supposed to bulldoze the competition.  It turns out it barely outpaces its own predecessor, the Phenom II X6 1100T.  In fact, in terms of IPC, the older Thuban architecture gives it a sound thrashing when both are clocked at 3.3 GHz.  So why should I be impressed with this processor?

mb3.jpg

I guess the answer is… you shouldn’t.  At least not yet.  I distinctly remember back in November of 2007 being invited to Lake Tahoe to test and report about the first Phenom samples that were available for limited testing.  We were not allowed to take the samples home with their new AM2+ based motherboards.  When going over the results of the tests with Ryan (I was not part of PCPer at the time) we quickly saw that the 2.6 GHz Phenom was unable to keep up with the Core 2 Q6600 from Intel.  This was a little surprising, as we expected the original Phenom to clean house due to its very forward looking architecture (HT, IMC, beefier FP/SIMD units, etc.).  The original Phenom had its fair share of problems, to say the least.  TDPs were very high, there was the revision B2 bug that was solved in B3, and due to the 65 nm process it did not nearly have as much cache as was needed to make it a more efficient product.

Click to read the rest of this post.

Source: AMD

The early bird gets the Bulldozer

Subject: Processors | October 12, 2011 - 12:44 AM |
Tagged: fx-8150, FX, cpu, bulldozer, amd, 990fx

You've been waiting through years of rumour and innuendo but the day has finally arrive, AMD's brand new Bulldozer architecture is here.  It is like nothing we've seen before in any chip based off of the venerable Athlon line, which has served dutifully for over a decade.  Bulldozer takes AMD's vision of a dual core processor not as two cores sewn together, but more as Siamese twins which share vital resources and are so closely conjoined that you cannot truly say where one ends and the other begins.  The Bulldozer core is exactly that, while only four Bulldozer cores exist they can handle eight integer execution units, and four shared 2 x 128 bit floating point/SIMD which is interpreted by your OS as 8 cores.

Implementing a new technology is not without its drawbacks.  The Athlon/Phenom architecture has been perfected by AMD thanks to its long life, while the Bulldozer is brand new and they've already started polishing it into Piledriver which will we see in the not too distant future (especially compared to the wait for Bulldozer).  That immaturity is shown in Ryan's review where he compares it clock for clock to a Phenom II.  It gets worse when compared against SandyBridge as the Bulldozer can at most occaisonally equal the performance of an i7-2600K.  The only saving grace is price when you look at heavily multi-threaded applications and there are not many out there. 

 However one benchmark cannot tell the whole story, which is why [H]ard|OCP released two reviews on Bulldozer which focus on different aspects of the chips performance.  Start off with their look at the performance which will give you an idea of how the chip performs under normal circumstances with its power saving features enabled and overclocked with those features disabled.  Then they head onto what most people are interested in, the gaming benchmarks.  Theoretical and productivity software benchmarks are one thing but we've all got to have fun sometimes and for those moments the new FX chips don't look too bad at all ... unless you are a Civ V fan.  

dieshot.jpg

"Computer hardware enthusiasts have literally waited for years for AMD's Bulldozer architecture to come to market and we finally see this today in its desktop form, code named Zambezi, brand named AMD FX. In this article we share with you our analysis of Bulldozer's performance in synthetic benchmarks and desktop applications."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Bulldozer Architecture

Introduction

Bulldozer.  Since its initial unveiling and placement on the roadmap many have called the Bulldozer architecture the savior of AMD, the processor that would finally turn the tide back against Intel and its dominance in the performance desktop market.  After quite literally YEARS of waiting we have finally gotten our hands on the Bulldozer processors, now called the AMD FX series of CPUs, and can report on our performance and benchmarking of the platform.

With all of the leaks surrounding the FX processor launch you might be surprised by quite a bit of our findings - both on the positive and the negative side of things.  With all of the news in the past weeks about Bulldozer, now we can finally give you the REAL information.

Before we dive right into the performance part of our story I think it is important to revisit the Bulldozer architecture and describe what makes it different than the Phenom II architecutre as well as Intel's Sandy Bridge design.  Josh wrote up a great look at the architecture earlier in the year with information that is still 100% pertinent and we recount much of that writing here.  If you are comfortable with the architeture design points, then feel free to skip ahead to the sections you are more interested in - but I recommend highly you give the data below a look first. 

The below text was taken from Bulldozer at ISSCC 2011 - The Future of AMD Processors.

Bulldozer Architecture Revisited

Bulldozer brings very little from the previous generation of CPUs, except perhaps the experience of the engineers working on these designs.  Since the original Athlon, the basic floor plan of the CPU architecture AMD has used is relatively unchanged.  Certainly there were significant changes throughout the years to keep up in performance, but the 10,000 foot view of the actual decode, integer, and floating point units were very similar throughout the years.  TLB’s increasing in size, more instructions in flight, etc. were all tweaked and improved upon.  Aspects such as larger L2 caches, integrated memory controllers, and the addition of a shared L3 cache have all brought improvements to the architecture.  But the overall data flow is very similar to that of the original Athlon introduced 14 years ago.

As covered in our previous article about Bulldozer, it is a modular design which will come in several flavors depending on the market it is addressing.  The basic building block of the Bulldozer core is a 213 million transistor unit which features 2 MB of L2 cache.  This block contains the fetch and decode unit, two integer execution units, a shared 2 x 128 bit floating point/SIMD unit, L1 data and instruction caches, and a large shared L2 unit.  All of this is manufactured on GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ 32nm, 11 metal layer SOI process.  This entire unit, plus 2 MB of L2 cache, is contained in approximately 30.9 mm squared of die space.

arch00.jpg

Continue reading our review of the AMD FX Processor (codenamed Bulldozer)!!

A tale of two tiny Llano motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | October 11, 2011 - 04:47 PM |
Tagged: mITX, llano, amd, asus, F1A75-I Deluxe, zotac, A75-ITX WiFi

If you are planning a microITX Llano build, it will be well worth your time to drop by The Tech Report as they are comparing two different mITX A75 boards.  The ASUS F1A75-I Deluxe and Zotac A75-ITX WiFi boards have many similarities, a pair of DDR3 slots, a single PCIe 16x slot, 4 SATA 6Gbps slots, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort video outputs with audio from the Realtek ALC892.  The differences lie in the outputs, where ASUS only has a pair of USB 3.0 ports, Zotac managed to squeeze a half dozen in at the cost of lowering the USB 2.0 port count.  To find out if there are any performance differences, you will have to read the full article.

TR_money.jpg

"The tight integration of AMD's Llano platform is perfectly suited to Mini-ITX motherboards. We test two of 'em from Asus and Zotac to see what's what."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Ukrainian Retailer "Fixer" Leaks Bulldozer FX-8120 CPU

Subject: Processors | October 7, 2011 - 06:44 AM |
Tagged: zambezi, gpu, cpu, bulldozer, amd, 9 core

It is less than a week before Bulldozer’s official launch (October 12th), and it would seem that a Ukrainian retailer was not able to wait as it leaked AMD’s FX-8120 Bulldozer processor in a price list. The 32nm chip is stated to have eight cores running at 3.1 GHz, 8 MB L2 cache, and 8MB of L3 cache. Further, the core stepping is said to be B2 and is comprised of Zambezi processing cores. The FX-8120 has a 95W TDP and is compatible with motherboards from the AM3+ series and newer.

BulldozerPriceLeak.png

The processor is listed as model number FD8120FRGUBOX, and carries a price of $221 USD or 1,791 UAH. The website is currently listing October 10th; however, it is not clear if customers will be able to purchase the processor that day by the pricing page alone. If the leaked benchmarks turn out to be close to the truth, would you consider the FX-8120 a good value?

Source: Fixer

Podcast #173 - Battlefield 3 System Build Guide, RAGE Performance Testing and Issues, Bulldozer updates and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 6, 2011 - 02:22 PM |
Tagged: rage, podcast, nvidia, kepler, Intel, bulldozer, bf3, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #173 - 10/06/2011

Join us this week as we talk about our Battlefield 3 System Build Guide, RAGE Performance Testing and Issues, Bulldozer updates and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 58:56

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:39 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:01:53 MSI X370 Review: Fusion Hardware, Ultraportable Chassis
  6. 0:03:05 Battlefield 3 (BF3) System Build Guide - What you need to succeed
    1. Battlefield 3 Beta: Caspian Border Performance and Screenshots
    2. Battlefield 3 (BF3) Beta Performance: Quality Preset and SLI Scaling
  7. 0:16:10 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  8. 0:17:12 RAGE Performance and Image Quality Evaluation - Day 1
    1. PC Gamers Rage Over Numerous RAGE Issues
  9. 0:31:30 Panel Self Refresh; a new way to save power
  10. 0:36:11 AMD Bulldozer FX CPUs dated: October 12th. Shhh.
  11. 0:37:01 AMD Bulldozer FX Processor Benchmarks Leaked
  12. 0:41:15 More confirmation, NVIDIA is leading the 600 series with mobile chips 
  13. 0:44:05 Just Delivered: Asus HD 6770 DirectCU Silent
  14. 0:47:38 OCZ Technology Acquires UK Design Team from PLX Technology
  15. 0:49:15 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Join me at GeForce LAN in Oakland!!
    2. Jeremy: Buy RIM, please!
    3. Josh: I have one, and I like it:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835209049
    4. Allyn: power-over-esata to (22 pin) sata cables, cheap: here
  16. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  17. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  18. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  19. Closing

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