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.  

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"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.

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

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.

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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

Intel Core i7 2700K Overclocked to 5GHz On Air

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 7, 2011 - 05:49 AM |
Tagged: cpu, Intel, core i7, 2700K, cooling

An aspiring overclocker and Coolaler forum go-er "u48802109" got his/her hands on an engineering sample and set out to see just how far he could push the upcoming Intel Core i7 2700K processor using air cooling.  In an exciting result, the overclocker was able to achieve a stable 5 GHz overclock on the 2700K with a 100 MHz bus speed and 50x multiplier.  Even more amazing are the voltage and temperature results (keeping in mind that we don't know the particular HSF being used) of the overclock.  Specifically, they were able to hit 5 GHz with 1.384 V and hit a maximum temperature of 65 C.  

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A zoomed in look at the CPU-Z readout.

While air cooling may not be able to support going to much higher frequencies, water cooling could certainly open up even more headroom in the chip.  Also, keeping in mind that these are engineering samples, it will be interesting to see where the Core i7 2700K falls once it starts rolling out to consumers.  If these results hold out, it does seem like it may just be worth it to pay a few extra bucks and eschew the 2600K for new builds.  What are your thoughts, are these results encouraging to you?  You can see the full overclocking results here.

Source: Coolaler

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.

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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.

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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

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:

Intel Unveils 16 New 32nm Processors

Subject: Processors | September 5, 2011 - 09:52 PM |
Tagged: sandy bridge, pentium, Intel, cpu, Core, celeron, 32nm

Intel today released a price list which included 16 new 32nm processors. The new additions fill in gaps in the Celeron, Pentium, and Core product lines. The new additions are then further broken down into the desktop and mobile camps. On the desktop front, there are four Celeron models ranging from $47 to $52, three Pentium models ranging from $70 to $86, and four new Core i series processors ranging from $127 to $177. Within that range, there are three hyper-threaded dual core Core i3 part and one quad core Core i5 processor.

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The mobile additions include one low end and four high end models. On the low end is the dual core Celeron B840 at 1.9GHz with 2 MB L3 cache and 35W TDP. On the high end are four Core i7 chips. The Core i7 2640M is a $346 part and is a hyper-threaded dual core chip at 2.8 GHz, 4 MB L3 cache, and 35W TDP. The Core i7 2760QM is a hyper-threaded quad core part at 2.4 GHz, 6 MB L3 cache, and a 45W TDP. As another 45W TDP part, the Core i7 2860 QM is also a hyper-threaded quad core at 2.5 GHz with 8 MB L3 cache. The highest end mobile chip addition is the Core i7 2960XM, which is a hyper-threaded quad core at 2.7 GHz, a 55W TDP, and 8 MB of L3 cache.

As you can see, there are quite a few new additions filling out the product lineup at various price points and performance segments. See the chart below for the full list and specs.

  Processor Clockspeed Cores/Threads L3 Cache TDP Price
Desktop            
  Core i5-2320 3.0 GHz 4/4 6MB 95W $177
  Core i3-2130 3.4 GHz 2/4 3MB 65W $138
  Core i3-2125 3.3 GHz 2/4 3MB 65W $134
  Core i3-2120T 2.6 GHz 2/4 3MB 35W $127
             
  Pentium G860 3.0 GHz 2/2 3MB 65W $86
  Pentium G630 2.7 GHz 2/2 3MB 65W $75
  Pentium G630T 2.3 GHz 2/2 3MB 35W $70
             
  Celeron G540 2.5 GHz 2/2 2MB 65W $52
  Celeron G530T 2.0 GHz 2/2 2MB 35W $47
  Celeron G530 2.4 GHz 2/2 2MB 65W $42
  Celeron G440 1.6 GHz 1/1 1MB 35W $37
Mobile            
   Core i7-2960XM  2.7 GHz  4/8  8MB  55W  $1,096
   Core i7-2860QM  2.5 GHz  4/8  8MB  45W  $568
   Core i7-2760QM  2.4 GHz  4/8  6MB  45W  $378
   Core i7-2640M  2.8 GHz  2/4  4MB  35W  $346
             
   Celeron B840  1.9 GHz  2/2  2MB  35W  $86

 

Source: Tech Connect

Intel Will Drop Prices On Sandy Bridge CPUs in Q3 2011

Subject: Processors | August 17, 2011 - 02:13 PM |
Tagged: Intel, sandy bridge, cpu

Intel plans to refresh its entry level and mid-range Sandy Bridge desktop processor lineup with seven new models and accompanying price drops. The new models include the Pentium G630, G630T, and G860 on the low end, and the Core i5 2320 on the high end. Making up the middle ground are the Core i3 2120T, i3 2125, and i3 2130 processors.

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CPU-World reports that September and October will both see price reductions in certain Sandy Bridge processor SKUs. September will see price reductions in all mid and low power Core i5 and i7 processors. Specifically, the Core i5 processors will be reduced by as much as $11, while the Core i7-2600S will see a price cut of $12. October will bring price cuts for the low end Pentium and Core i3 processors. The Pentium CPUs will see a price cut of $11 and the Core i3 2120 will be cut by $21.

CPU World has a detailed chart of the individual chip prices which you can check out here.  Will these price reductions be enough to entice you to buy into Sandy Bridge, or are you holding off upgrading until Ivy Bridge?

Source: CPU World

SteelSeries' Sensei Gets Smart With 32-bit ARM Processor

Subject: General Tech | August 15, 2011 - 07:25 AM |
Tagged: steelseries, Sensei, gaming mouse, cpu, arm

Bit-Tech reports that popular gaming peripheral maker SteelSeries will be unveiling a new mouse at GamesCon next week. The new gaming mouse, dubbed the Sensei is a dark, ambidextrous affair with LED powered logo, wheel, and sensitivity indicator in addition to an LCD screen on the bottom of the mouse to configure features.

The Sensei mouse has a large SteelSeries logo towards the back of the palm rest. The lighting of the logo supports up to 16.8 million colors. The body is comprised of metal with a non-slip grip coating, and features eight buttons. Bruce Hawver, SteelSeries’ CEO stated “The Sensei is really the culmination of thousands of hours of research and testing with competitive players.”  In keeping with the competitive gamer theme, SteelSeries has endowed the Sensei with advanced macro capabilities, including the ability to record timed and layered macros with keystrokes.

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On the sensor front, the Sensei features a sensitivity range of 1 to 5,700 counts per inch (SteelSeries’ DPI-like system of measurement). Further, thanks to a “Double CPI” feature, the gaming mouse is able to ratchet up the sensitivity to an impressive 11,400 CPI, which makes navigating a six screen Eyefinity setup a breeze. Using SteelSeries ExactTech tracking customization technologies (ExactSens, ExactAccel, and ExactAim), Sensei’s laser sensor features a 10.8 megapixel image correlation at up to 12,000 frames per second (FPS), enabling it to track movements up to 150 inches per second.

All this tracking, macro support, and laser sensor horsepower demands a relatively beefy processor. While these instructions could be passed to the CPU for processing, having a dedicated chip on the mouse to process the sensor data and pass the coordinate data to the system can lower lag (or at least that’s SteelSeries’ goal). That requirement for computing time is where the 32-bit ARM processor comes into play. Specifically, the company states that the processor enables advanced SteelSeries ExactTech calculations to be done on the mouse itself and configuration via the mouse’s LCD screen.

 

The Sensei is slated for launch in September with a price of $90. The numbers and hardware are certainly impressive; however, whether that hardware will make a noticeable improvement in gaming and daily usage over the competition remains to be seen.  More photos and information on the new Sensei gaming mouse can be found here.

What do you think about the Sensei’s inclusion of ARM processor and LCD screen? Personally, while I am rather partial to (blue) LEDs, I can’t see myself using the LCD screen or other gamer-oriented features.

Source: Bit-Tech

Intel Sandy Bridge-E Processors Just In Time For Christmas But With Some Features Removed

Subject: Processors | July 16, 2011 - 12:54 AM |
Tagged: sandy bridge-e, processor, Intel, cpu

It seems as though intl is running into a slew of snags as they attempt to push out their Sandy Bridge-E processors and their accompanying X79 chipset motherboards. While it was previously thought that the Sandy Bridge-E processors would not be available until at least Janruary 2012, VR-Zone is reporting that the CPUs may actually be out in time for Christmas this year; however, they will have a reduced feature set. The X79 chipset that powers the Sandy Bridge-E processors will also be released with a reduced feature set. While Intel may reintroduce the removed features in later iterations of the silicon, the first run components will have PCI-Express 3.0 and four SATA/SAS 6Gbps ports removed.  Further, Intel is waiting an extra CPU revision until it begins shipping the procesors out to board partners for their testing; the C-1 stepping instead of the C-0.

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In the case of PCI-E 3.0 support, Intel has had trouble testing their engineering silicon with PCI-E 3.0 cards and is not confident enough to integrate it into their production chips at this time. due to the lack of widely available PCI-E 3.0 add-in cards, support for the standard is not that large of a loss in the short twrm but will certainly affect the component's future proofing value. The removal of the SATA ports is due to issues with storage that have yet to be detailed.

While new technology is always welcome, one cant help but feel that delaying the new processors and motherboards until the silicon is ready (and containing the planned features) may be better for consumers. The board and investors likely do not agree, however. In any case, Sandy Bridge-E and X79 are coming, it is just a question of how they come.

Source: VR-Zone