January 11, 2012 - 03:21 PM | Scott Michaud
Let us take a little break from the CES news with a load of bull -- a download of Bulldozer. If you have an eerie sense of being in this situation before then you may in fact have a bad memory as it did in fact happen and it was only about a month ago. Microsoft released an update in mid-December to optimize their operating systems for AMD Bulldozer technology; that patch disappeared without any listed reason. As of today, we have access to both the patch as well as most of the reason for the delay in the first place.
You know: part of me wants to see a Bulldozer go 100MPH, and another part of me fears greatly.
The first order of business is to explain to those who have an AMD FX series, Opteron 4200 series, and/or an Opteron 6200 series processor how to increase their potential performance: KB 2646060 and KB 2645594 each contain a patch which will optimize Windows to the Bulldozer architecture for most users when both are applied.
It turns out that Microsoft pulled the Bulldozer update last month when discussions with AMD revealed that the patch would not provide the promised performance increases for most users. The problem specifically centers on the Core Parking feature within Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2: after the hotfix in December was applied, Core Parking would still interfere with Bulldozer’s design by attempting to save power and sleep cores that were unused without understanding that Bulldozer cores are not typical cores. With Core Parking disabled for Bulldozer-based CPUs either through this hotfix or by changing your performance profiles to “High Performance” from the often default “Balanced” you would allow Bulldozer to run as it actually desires to run. According to how these bulletins are worded, should you have been on “High Performance” profile back in December before the hotfix was pulled you would have experienced what should only have been available starting today.
These performance increases are not for every application, however. AMD has stated that applications which are more sparsely multithreaded would benefit most from the update.
Workloads that are moderately threaded have the potential for uplift. This could include virtualization, database, or transactional environments that are “bursty” – a mixture of light and heavy transactions, or legacy applications that are by nature not very threaded. The more heavily threaded the application, the less the likely the uplift.
My intuition knowing this as well as the Core Parking issue is that once Windows finally wakes the Bulldozer core, your experience is maximal with the December patch; applications which only temporarily become multithreaded either do not wake the proper portions of the processor or wake the processor in time to be of maximum benefit.
It appears as if the removal of the hotfix last month was simply because AMD believed that while the patch was effective, it would not be correctly applied to the vast majority of customers without a second hotfix and thus give the appearance of little to no real benefits.
December 16, 2011 - 09:41 AM | Scott Michaud
Intel was far from demolished when AMD's Bulldozer came to town. Users still clung to hope that Microsoft's Windows 7 was not optimized to take advantage of Bulldozer's multi-core environment. Vindication came sweetly with a knowledge base article and a patch from Microsoft confirming the issue and offering a solution. While they can still feel comfortable knowing they were right, the solution has been pulled from Microsoft's website without any announced reason. Who should we feel sorry for: those who didn't download it yet, or those who did?
To be entirely fair, Microsoft's knowledge base article was quite clear in its instruction to users regarding this hotfix.
A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing the problem described in this article. This hotfix might receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next software update that contains this hotfix.
Still, AMD users have another reason to be upset as if they needed one. The hotfix will come, and will come in completely stable form; it just looks like today is not that day. If you already received this update and have experienced technical difficulties, the comment form awaits.
December 15, 2011 - 10:56 PM | Tim Verry
When AMD’s Bulldozer processors arrived, they were unable to best Intel’s fastest at most tasks. A number of users held out hope for Bulldozer; however, as it was discovered that Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system was not optimized to take advantage of the multi-threaded execution scheduling engine. While MS has implemented this optimization in the Windows 8 kernel, the current stable release has been without a fix until recently. The fix in question is available for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and can be downloaded here. It should be noted that service pack 1 is a pre-requisite to this hot-fix.
Conservatively, previous indications suggested such a fix would add a 5 % to 10 % performance boost in multi-threaded applications. That number is based on the estimates from around the web from people comparing benchmarks between Windows 7 and Windows 8 Developer Preview. If you are running a Bulldozer processor in your machine, be sure to apply this update and let us know how performance improves.
Subject: Memory | December 6, 2011 - 08:35 AM | Josh Walrath
So they are giving us as much, and as fast, as we could possibly handle. GSkill has announced their latest Ripjaw-Z kits specifically aimed at the latest Intel Socket 2011 chips on the X79 platform. These kits range from 4 x 8GB @ 2100 speeds with 1.5 v up to 8 x 8GB at 2400 speeds at 1.65 v. For those wishing to push clock speeds up higher, they offer a 4 x 4GB kit at 2500 speeds at 1.65v as well.
Red is the new black. This is what 32 GB of memory looks like now.
The past few months I have been using a few sets of GSkill memory with the latest Llano based chips from AMD. These are 4 x 4 GB 1866 products that run at 1.5v, and they have been pretty phenomenal for me. Now that we are moving into new CPU architectures from both manufacturers, memory speeds have become important again. For quite some time people could easily get by with DDR-3 1333 modules and not experience any kind of performance bottleneck. The reasons for this were due to CPU designs (quad core CPUs rarely required more than 12 GB/sec of bandwidth in most applications) as well as the non-integrated nature of graphics for the most part.
November 23, 2011 - 10:47 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
AMD's Cool'n'Quiet feature, which lowers your CPU core frequencies when they are not under heavy usage has been around for a while, but Phoronix though it was time to revisit the Linux support for this feature and Turbo Core as we have a brand new architecture to test. They fired up the FX-8150 again, running under Ubuntu 11.10 with the Linux 3.1 kernel and started benchmarking. Their results show that AMD's power saving features are still working well under Linux, better when using single threaded applications than with multi-threaded but still worth enabling for those who want lower heat production and energy consumption. It is hard to say how much you will save on power though, as the software Phoronix used to measure, fam15h_power, never budged from the 125W mark even when the system was pulling less power from the wall.
"For those wondering about the impact that AMD's Cool 'n' Quiet and Turbo Core technologies have under Linux for the latest-generation Bulldozer processors, here are some tests illustrating the changes in performance, power consumption, and operating temperature."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Bulldozer for Servers: Testing AMD's "Interlagos" Opteron 6200 Series @ AnandTech
- AMD's Bulldozer server benchmarks are here, and they're a catastrophe @ Ars Technica
- How-To: 8 GHz on Bulldozer @ Overclockers.com
- AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer Overclocking On Ubuntu Linux @ Phoronix
- Desktop CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Intel HiZ Is Finally Ready For Sandy Bridge @ Phoronix
- Intel Core i7 3930K @ Tweaktown
- Intel Core i7-3930K, Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition Processors for LGA 2011 @ X-bit Labs
- Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition CPU @ Benchmark Reviews
Subject: General Tech | November 16, 2011 - 09:36 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
As you would expect, no sooner does AMD release news on its new line of Bulldozer era Opterons, Intel follows suit with news on their next generation of server chips. AMD hit the news and the server room first thanks to interest shown by Dell, HP and Acer. These vendors have based a series of 2U servers on AMD's new chip as well as a family of blade servers. Dell's Poweredge C6145 was probably the most ambitious, with 4 sockets you can have 128 cores and 1TB of DDR3 in a 2U rack mount server and FusionIO was suggesting the inclusion of their 1.2TB Iodrive Duo card to ensure your storage media can keep up.
Intel also spoke with The Inquirer and other news sites about their new Xeon E5 processor family as well as providing more information about Knights Bridge. Intel has reached out to a different set of clients for the new Xeon, focusing on NVIDIA's latest target market of High Performance Computing (that HPC acronym you see hanging around Fermi). They tout over 10,000 chips sold, some of which are sitting pretty in the TOP500. Also on display was their Knights Ferry accelerator board, again targeted for the HPC crowd that NVIDIA has been courting.
So this processor generation we have Intel and NVIDIA fighting it out for HPC customers, while AMD seems to be without major competition in high density computing, although ARM has certainly been making inroads into that market.
"AMD's partners have shown a small but impressive array of Bulldozer Opteron kit. Dell's 2U eight socket beast was arguably the most impressive of the lot on show in Munich, but AMD will know it needs more than just one vendor in its fight against Intel. Thankfully it has the might of HP also showing that its traditional rackmount and blade servers can make use of AMD's Bulldozer silicon."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD kills Wichita and Krishna @ SemiAccurate
- Canada CRTC Rules Against Usage Based Billing @ Slashdot
- CarrierIQ: Most Phones Ship With "Rootkit" @ Slashdot
- Google will ignore your Wi-Fi router ... if you rename it @ The Register
- Making aerogel at home @ Hack a Day
- HP unveils business ultrabook @ DigiTimes
- Microsoft moving embedded systems to Windows 8 @ The Register
- Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS Review @ TechReviewSource
- Griffin Helo TC RC Helicopter Review @ TechwareLabs
- TechSpot Holiday Gift Guide 2011
- The Antec Giveaways: Part 1 @ AnandTech
- Real World Labs And Cooler Master Joint Contest
November 14, 2011 - 09:50 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
SemiAccurate has a picture of a nice looking serverboard for the new Opteron 4200 series of processors from AMD. The new server chips are designed for use in multiples of either two or four and as they have up to 16 cores each that gives you a very respectable amount of processing power for your server, which could be the only home for the Bulldozer. Plenty of new power saving options are available, from two different ways of implementing Turbo Core to a BIOS setting which allows you to set the maximum power draw from the server, which it will stick to by downclocking or turning off unused cores.
"AMD (NYSE:AMD) has again leapfrogged Intel when it comes to the number of cores in a single server processor. The latest Opteron 6200 series has versions available with up to 16 cores and supports 4 sockets per board, whereas the 4200 series supports a maximum of two sockets with 8 cores each."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The TR Podcast 100: The big 1-0-0
- It’s the 40th anniversary of the Intel 4004 tomorrow @ The Inquirer
- 2011 Holiday Tech Gift Guide @ TechReviewSource
- Valve admits forum hack exposed gamers' private @ The Register
- Israeli Firm Claims Technological Breakthrough in PC Security @ NGOHQ
- New competition @ HardwareLOOK
900 Series: Bulldozer Ready
The rumor on the street is that Asus makes a few motherboards. They may or may not be the world’s leading motherboard manufacturer. Asus may also have a pretty good reputation for quality and innovation in their products. It is tongue in cheek hour at PC Perspective. All joking aside, Asus anymore is the gold standard for quality manufacturing and design in motherboards.
Some months ago AMD released their AM3+ capable chipsets, though the release was not nearly as exciting as we had hoped. The AMD 900 series of chipsets are essentially the same silicon as those that power the non-integrated AMD 800 series. There are three SKUs that are currently available for the 900 series that Asus makes motherboards around.
November 9, 2011 - 01:05 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
In a good mood? If so, do not read this [H]ard|OCP article on Bulldozer's gaming performance when coupled with two and three GTX580s. By using an SLI setup you can see just how powerful a CPU is as it tries to keep up with the GPUs and as you might expect the Bulldozer is not up to the task. In most tests [H] saw a 70% performance difference between the FX 8150 and the Core-i5 2500K, with both processors clocked at 4.8GHz. In a very few tests the results were a little closer but this is bad news for AMD, especially when you consider it is the more expensive of the two chips.
"We are taking the new AMD FX-8150 and giving it the power of Dual and Triple-SLI GeForce GTX 580 video cards. We are going to take the new CPU up to large NV Surround resolutions and see how performance stacks up when it comes to high-end gaming scenarios."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- NVIDIA's Tegra 3 Launched: Architecture Revealed @ AnandTech
- HTC adopts Nvidia Tegra 3 processors @ DigiTimes
- NVIDIA's Tegra 3 (Kal-El) Quad-Core Mobile Superchip Detailed @ Tweaktown
- AMD FX-4100 Quad Core 3.6GHz Bulldozer Processor Review @ Legit Reviews
- AMD vs Intel: Bulldozer vs Sandy Bridge @ HCW
- AMD Bulldozer Cache Aliasing Issue Fix @ Phoronix
- Open64 Compiler Tuning On AMD Bulldozer FX-8150 @ Phoronix
- AMD FX 8150 Revisited @ Madshrimps
November 7, 2011 - 09:17 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
When the Bulldozer process first started to hit the review bench one of the most commented on facts was that AMD had plans to release a watercooler with some models of the FX-8150. The basic design will be familiar to anyone who has seen a self contained watercooler, with a waterblock directly attached to a radiator. In this case you can use two 120mm fans to move air over the radiator, which might be a good thing considering the small diameter tubing and questionable finish on the waterblock. Neoseeker shows of the monitoring software and the cooling prowess of this bundled watercooler in their latest review.
"In our review of the AMD FX-8150 last month, we noted that AMD would at some point begin bundling the new Bulldozer CPU with a stock water cooler with the promise of opening the doors to even better overclocking performance for enthusiasts. We've at last got our hands on the model which will come included with the FX-8150 in the near future, and we put it to the test in our updated coverage for the FX-8150 CPU. Find out just how large the additional overclocking headroom becomes with the upcoming stock water cooler."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Corsair Hydro Series: H60, H80 and H100 @ AnandTech
- Evercool Transformer 3 CPU Cooler @ Tweaktown
- SilenX EFZ-92HA3 CPU Cooler @ Bjorn3D
- Thermalright True Spirit 120 CPU Cooler Review @ Hardware Secrets
- NZXT HAVIK 140 CPU Cooler @ Real World Labs
- Gelid GX-7 CPU cooler @ Guru of 3D
- Antec SOLO II Chassis Review @ Kitguru
- Antec SOLO II Mid Tower Case Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Lian Li PC-6 @ Computing on Demand
- Fractal Design Core 3000 Case Review @ Hardware Secrets
- CM Storm Trooper @ techPowerUp
- Lian Li PC6 Case Review @ Ninjalane
- BitFenix Outlaw Mid Tower @ Tweaktown
- LEPA LPC302 Series Case Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Corsair 500R @ OC3D
- Thermaltake Overseer RX-I Review @ HardwareLOOK
- Silverstone RV03 Raven 3 Case Review @ Ninjalane
- NZXT Tempest 410 Elite Mid Tower Case Review @ ThinkComputers