The early bird gets the Bulldozer

Subject: Processors | October 11, 2011 - 09:44 PM |
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 - 01:47 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 - 03:44 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 - 11:22 AM |
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

Source:

A look at the 65W AMD A8-3800

Subject: General Tech | October 6, 2011 - 09:57 AM |
Tagged: amd, A8-3800, llano, APU, Turbo Core

When the A8-3850 hit the streets we were so accustomed to high powered CPUs that we barely blinked at the 100W power envelope it and the A6-3650 required.  That is a big change from just a few years ago when hitting or passing 100W tended to bring a lot of negative comments from reviewers.  AMD since released the lower powered A8-3800 and A6-3600, both of which have slightly lower CPU frequencies but the exact same graphics specifications.  The Tech Report took the A8-3800 out for a spin to examine not only the power draw but to see how well the Turbo Core feature works.  See how it turned out for AMD's newest Llano chips in the full review.

TR_chip-socket.jpg

"We weren't terribly impressed with AMD's A8-3850 APU when we first reviewed it, in part because its 100W power envelope seemed rather large for a chip whose integrated graphics are a major selling point. Happily, the new A8-3800 slides into a cool 65W power envelope and adds Turbo Core clock frequency scaling. Can it win our approval? Keep reading to find out."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

AMD Demonstrates Next Generation 28nm Graphics Processor at Fusion 2011

Subject: General Tech | October 5, 2011 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: amd, fusion conference

TAIPEI, Taiwan – October 5, 2011 – At Fusion 2011, AMD (NYSE:AMD) today demonstrated its next generation graphics processor, based on the cutting-edge 28 nm process technology. The demonstration was delivered by Corporate Vice President and General Manager of AMD’s Graphics Division, Matt Skynner, as part of his keynote titled, “Enabling the Best Visual Experience.” Skynner demonstrated a notebook-based version of AMD’s 28 nm next-generation graphics processor delivering a smooth, high-resolution game experience while playing Bioware’s popular role-playing title, Dragon Age 2.

If AMD provided a picture it would be here

“AMD strives to be at the forefront of every key inflection point in graphics technology, as demonstrated by our leadership in everything from process node transitions, to adoption of the latest graphics memory,” said Skynner. “Our pace-setting transition to the 28nm process node, coupled with new innovations in our underlying graphics architecture, is already generating excitement among the ODM community here in Taipei this week.”

Source: Fusion 12
Author:
Manufacturer: id Software

RAGE Peforms...well

RAGE is not as dependant on your graphics hardware as it is on your CPU and storage system (which may be an industry first); the reason for which we will discover when talking about the texture pop-up issue on the next page.

Introduction

The first id Software designed game since the release of Doom 3 in August of 2004, RAGE has a lot riding on it.  Not only is this the introduction of the idTech 5 game engine but also culminates more than 4 years of development and the first new IP from the developer since the creation of Quake.  And since the first discussions and demonstrations of Carmack's new MegaTexture technology, gamers have been expecting a lot as well. 

02-screen.jpg

Would this game be impressive enough on the visuals to warrant all the delays we have seen?  Would it push today's GPUs in a way that few games are capable of?  It looks like we have answers to both of those questions and you might be a bit disappointed.  

Performance Characteristics

First, let's get to the heart of the performance question: will your hardware play RAGE?  Chances are, very much so.  I ran through some tests of RAGE on a variety of hardware including the GeForce GTX 580, 560 Ti, 460 1GB and the Radeon HD 6970, HD 6950, HD 6870 and HD 5850.  The test bed included an Intel Core i7-965 Nehalem CPU, 6GB of DDR3-1333 memory running off of a 600GB VelociRaptor hard drive.  Here are the results from our performance tests running at 1920x1080 resolution with 4x AA enabled in the game options:

Continue reading our initial look at RAGE performance and image quality!!

Just Delivered: Asus HD 6770 DirectCU Silent

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 4, 2011 - 09:49 PM |
Tagged: silent, Passive, HD 6770, cooling, asus, amd

Something nice was dropped off at the house today, and I thought I would share.

hd6770_01.jpg

Passive, eh?  HD 6770?  Sure enough...

How long has it been since I last saw a passive midrange video card?  Well, I would guess it would be in 2007 with the Gigabyte 8600 GTS Silent Pipe.

gvfront.jpg

Don't worry, I have permission from the owner of that site to use this picture.

Read more about this delivery here.

Source: Asus
Author:
Manufacturer: PC Perspective

The Basics

Introduction

If you have been visiting PC Perspective at all over the last week there is no doubt you have seen a lot of discussion about the currently running Battlefield 3 beta.  We posted an article looking at performance of several different GPUs in the game and then followed it up with a look at older cards like the GeForce 9800 GT.  We did a live stream of some PC Perspective staff playing BF3 with readers and fans, showed off and tested the locked Caspian Border map and even looked at multi-GPU scaling performance.  It was a lot of testing and a lot of time, but now that we have completed it, we are ready to summarize our findings in a piece that many have been clamoring for - a Battlefield 3 system build guide.

05.jpg

The purpose of this article is simple: gather our many hours or testing and research and present the results in a way that simply says "here is the hardware we recommend."  It is a the exact same philosophy that makes our PC Perspective Hardware Leaderboard so successful as it gives the reader all the information they need, all in one place.

Continue reading our guide for building a system for Battlefield 3!!