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:

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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)!!

You can see the layout of the Bulldozer but you can't see it in the flesh yet

Subject: General Tech | October 11, 2011 - 12:16 PM |
Tagged: bulldozer, 32nm

At SemiAccurate is a brief look at the architecture of Bulldozer, the long awaited successor to the Phenom II chip.  We are still languishing under several NDA's which cover the actual performance of the chip, so you can only see the floor plans ... for now.  Even that is enough to raise some questions about what AMD has done and what a CPU core is now.  At each corner of the chip you can see a Bulldozer Core which adds to four, only half of what we were lead to expect on Bulldozer.  That is because each Bulldozer Core is comprised of two CPU cores, so thoroughly fused that they are essentially one core and this will lead to great confusion as to what a CPU core actually is now.  Thankfully this is not an APU so we do not have to include integrated graphics in the count of cores on the die.  Read the full article to learn more about what has been done to the fetch and predict branches as well as the FP scheduler.

SA_Bulldoser_floor_plan.jpg

"During the always excellent Hot Chips conference this year, AMD’s Sean White gave a talk about the architecture, and only the architecture, of the new CPU. To say it is different is understating things, it is really a bold step into places where few have gone, and no one has tried on a consumer product. The closest thing to AMD’s new Bulldozer architecture out there is Sun’s Niagara, and no one would accuse those designers of following the pack."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: SemiAccurate

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

Source:

AMD Bulldozer FX Processor Benchmarks Leaked

Subject: Processors | October 3, 2011 - 12:29 AM |
Tagged: sandy bridge, Intel, i7 2600k, FX 8150, FX, cpu, bulldozer, amd

Intel has held the performance lead for several processor generations now, and while AMD is still technically in the game for home theater PC and budget builds, many enthusiasts have moved to Intel for gaming and high performance computers. Many of those people have also held hope that the chip manufacturer would eventually come back strong and maintain some level of competition in the industry. As we move closer to AMD's Bulldozer launch (which seems to have been confirmed for October 12th), enthusiasts and reviewers alike are clamoring to answer a long awaited question: "will Bulldozer give Intel a run for its money?"

According to website Donanim Haber, enthusiasts’ high hopes may finally be realized. The site has posted several benchmarks results that indicate Bulldozer is not only cheaper than Sandy Bridge, but performs on par with Intel’s top end Sandy Bridge chips. In many tests, the AMD FX 8150 CPU’s eight core performance matches the multi-threaded (8 threads, 4 cores) performance of Intel’s high end Core i7 2600k processor.

116a.jpg

In the benchmarks that the site performed, the AMD FX 8150 was tested against the Intel Core i7 980X for 1080p gaming and the Core i7 2500k and 2600k for multi-threaded performance. In the graph shown above, the AMD Bulldozer CPU was roughly on par with the i7 980X, trading wins in some games and providing a similar level of performance in others. The AMD processor won in the Metro 2033 and Lost Planet benchmarks, but was slightly slower in Civilization V and F1 2010. In AVP and Batman (among others), the two competing processors saw equal results.

116c.jpg

They also ran several benchmarks using highly multi-threaded programs to take advantage of the many-core designs of the AMD and Intel processors, including WinRar 4, Handbrake, 7zip, and wPrime 32M. The eight core AMD FX 8150 Bulldozer processor was tested against both an Intel Core i5 2500k and a Core i7 2600k. The AMD CPU came out ahead in 7zip, wPrime 32M, and Bibble 5.0. It was slower than the Core i7 2600k in the WinRar 4 tests and slower than both the 2500k and 2600k in the ABBYY OCR10 benchmarks. In the other tests, the AMD processor kept pace with or was only slightly behind the top end Intel 2600k CPU.

From the leaked benchmarks (which you can read here), AMD’s new Bulldozer CPUs have made an admirable showing. Should these benchmarks hold true, Intel will have some serious competition on its hands, something that the company has not had to deal with in a long time. Whether Bulldozer will result in price cuts or ramped up production on the Intel side remains to be seen; however, the results are not going to be easy for Intel to ignore.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more Bulldozer news in the coming weeks.

Source: Donanimhaber

AMD Bulldozer FX CPUs dated: October 12th. Shhh.

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Processors | October 1, 2011 - 01:55 AM |
Tagged: FX, bulldozer, amd, am3+

AMD has not been too well received in the upper end of CPUs for quite some time now. Once Intel started pushing for performance with their Conroe core, AMD was forced to stay competitive in the mainstream market to survive and that is pretty much where we have been for the last 5 years. Also returning after a nearly 5-year hiatus is the FX moniker for AMD’s flagship products. According to leak(s) from Microcenter that floated past our desks we should see a resurgence of at least one of those two on October 12th, 2011:

"AMD is launching their new AM3+ FX series processors on 10/12/11. We currently have a number of AM3+ compatible motherboards in stock. These motherboards will support the new AM3+ FX processors as well as legacy AM3 processors."

AMD-FX-2.jpg

Personally, I would shy away from the words "Bull" and "Dozer" in my product line.

Also from the memo we learned that the new AM3+ FX SKUs that will launch includes: FX-6100, FX-8120, and the FX-8150. The 6000-series parts constitute 6-core processors where the 8000-series parts constitute 8-core parts. To support those processors we shall see three Gigabyte motherboards, four ASUS motherboards, and four ASRock motherboards. Update Oct 1 @ 2pm: There may be more motherboards at launch but since this is a Microcenter leak it only considers their stock.

Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3
Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD7
ASUS Sabertooth 990FX
ASUS M5A88-V EVO
ASUS M5A99X EVO
ASUS M5A97 EVO
ASRock 990FX Extreme4
ASRock 890FX Deluxe 5
ASRock 880G PRO 3*
ASRock 890GX PRO 3*

 

Each of these motherboards will require a BIOS update to be serviceable though the leak suggests that the update would be performed by Microcenter themselves. If for some reason you have the board on your own you will need an older AM3 processor to perform the update. Also, the last two ASRock motherboards (asterixed) do not yet have a BIOS update for AM3+. AMD is expected to post an official blog about the topic on October 3rd at AMD.com.

Podcast #170 - AMD Bulldozer developments, the Windows 8 Developer Preview, News from IDF and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 15, 2011 - 07:23 PM |
Tagged: sandy bridge, podcast, Ivy Bridge, idf 2011, idf, gpu, cpu, bulldozer, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #170 - 9/15/2011

Join us this week as we discuss AMD Bulldozer developments, the Windows 8 Developer Preview, News from IDF 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!

Sorry about audio problems due to Skype and Ryan having little bandwidth on the road

Program length: 45:26

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. Stay Tuned for a contest!!
  6. 0:01:30 ECS HDC-I Fusion Mini ITX Motherboard Review
  7. 0:02:36 Bulldozer First Release and the State of 32nm AMD Parts
  8. 0:10:15 AMD Bulldozer Processor hits 8.429 GHz - New World Record!
  9. 0:13:50 Oh joy the BIOS level trojan is finally here
  10. 0:17:50 Windows 8 Developer Preview Build Sees Public Release At BUILD Conference
  11. 0:23:45 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  12. 0:24:37 IDF 2011: Intel Haswell Architecture Offers 20x Lower Standby Power
  13. 0:27:08 IDF 2011: Intels Shows a PC Running on Solar Power
  14. 0:30:10 IDF 2011: New Ivy Bridge Details from Mooly Eden Keynote
  15. 0:35:27 SSD Update: 710 series
  16. 0:38:31 IDF 2011: ASUS UX21 Ultrabook Still Sexy, I Still Want It
  17. 0:39:34 Win a Free Drobo Storage Device at PC Perspective!!
  18. 0:40:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Ultrabooks - I wants them
    2. Jeremy: Stop ruining many of the fond memories I have of my teenage years!
    3. Josh: gettin closer to that $1 per GB:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227552
    4. Allyn: mumble
  19. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  20. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  21. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  22. Closing
Source:

Look at the AMD overclocking results, not the Intel Developers Forum

Subject: Processors | September 13, 2011 - 02:14 PM |
Tagged: overclocking, amd fx, bulldozer

Although the record was set a few weeks ago, we didn't have a chance to see it until today.  A group of overclockers pushed a new AMD FX 8150 Bulldozer chip up to 8.429GHz which breaks the old record for highest CPU frequency set with a Celeron 352.  You need liquid helium to manage this so do not expect to see that kind of result with air cooling.  If you check out [H]ard|OCP 's video coverage you will see the performance of water, phase change and LN2 with the FX8150, though you probably know about it already since you have watched Ryan's coverage.

H_bulldozer.jpg

"If you are wondering how well the new AMD FX CPU will overclock, you are not alone. AMD let us have some behind-the-scenes access a couple of weeks ago and is now allowing us to show off the results. We shot a lot of video and show you AMD FX overclocking on water, phase change, and liquid nitrogen."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

AMD Bulldozer Processor hits 8.429 GHz - New World Record!

Subject: Processors | September 13, 2011 - 09:03 AM |
Tagged: video, overclocking, FX, bulldozer, amd

There is a sub-culture in the computing world that is more or less analogous to the world of NHRA drag racing: liquid nitrogen overclocking.  And if you are really serious, liquid helium.  During a press event in Austin, TX in August to discuss the upcoming Bulldozer processor, a team of overclockers pushed the new architecture to frequencies well beyond safety and well beyond where they should be.  Without giving away the whole story yet, AMD was able to set a new frequency world record...

amdoc1.png

Sami Mäkinen and his team hit 8.429GHz on liquid nitrogen and liquid helium with a near-production FX processor sample.  This bests the reigning record of 8.308 GHz that was hit on a Celeron processor with LN2. 

amdoc2.png

You can read AMD's take on the accomplishment by hitting up the AMD Blogs website or looking up Simon Solotko's directly.

On August 31, an AMD FX processor achieved a frequency of 8.429GHz, a stunning result for a modern, multi-core processor. The record was achieved with several days of preparation and an amazing and inspired run in front of world renowned technology press in Austin, Texas. This frequency bests the prior record of 8.309GHz, and completely blows away any modern desktop processor. Based on our overclocking tests, the AMD FX CPU is a clock eating monster, temporarily able to withstand extreme conditions to achieve amazing speed. Even with more conservative methods, the AMD FX processors, with multiplier unlocked throughout the range, appear to scale with cold.  We achieved clock frequencies well above 5GHz using only air or sub-$100 water cooling solutions.

I was in attendance for the event and have to say that group put on a spectacular show and anytime you can play with liquid helium running at near absolute zero temperature, it's worth paying attention!  In fact, I put together a video of the event that you can see below and if you haven't participated or seen something of this nature, it is worth checking out!!

Now I need to temper some dreams right now - the chances of you or I reaching these types of clock speeds on the Bulldozer CPUs upon release are pretty close to nil.  What was more interesting was the casual overclocking we saw pushing upwards of 4.8+ GHz without breaking a sweat and that is what we will be investigating with our review of the processor later this year.

Update: Here is the screenshot from the official HWBot frequency rankings as well as a different video created by AMD themselves summarizing the event.  

amdoc4.png

Source: AMD