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.
- Bulldozer First Release and the State of 32nm AMD Parts
- AMD Bulldozer Processor hits 8.429 GHz - New World Record!
- AMD Bulldozer FX Processor Benchmarks Leaked
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.
Subject: Motherboards | October 11, 2011 - 04:47 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- AMD A75 3-way Motherboard Shootout @ Techspot
- Gigabyte GA-A55M-DS2 Motherboard Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Zotac A75-ITX WiFi Motherboard Review @ t-break
- Asus Crosshair V Formula Motherboard Review @ Niinjalane
- GIGABYTE A55M-S2V (AMD A55) mATX @ Tweaktown
- BIOS Option Of The Week - PEG/Onchip VGA Control @ TechARP
- ASRock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3 @ Tweaktown
- Gigabyte Z68XP-UD5 LGA 1155 Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
- GIGABYTE H61N-USB3 (Intel H61) Mini-ITX @ Tweaktown
- Gigabyte G1.Sniper 2: Military-Style Gaming LGA1155 Mainboard @ X-bit Labs
- Asus Maximus IV Extreme: LGA1155 Mainboard for Three Graphics Cards @ X-bit Labs
Subject: Processors | October 7, 2011 - 06:44 AM | Tim Verry
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.
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?
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 | Ken Addison
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!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano
This Podcast is brought to you by
- 0:00:39 Introduction
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 0:01:53 MSI X370 Review: Fusion Hardware, Ultraportable Chassis
- 0:03:05 Battlefield 3 (BF3) System Build Guide - What you need to succeed
- 0:16:10 This Podcast is brought to you by
, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
- 0:17:12 RAGE Performance and Image Quality Evaluation - Day 1
- 0:31:30 Panel Self Refresh; a new way to save power
- 0:36:11 AMD Bulldozer FX CPUs dated: October 12th. Shhh.
- 0:37:01 AMD Bulldozer FX Processor Benchmarks Leaked
- 0:41:15 More confirmation, NVIDIA is leading the 600 series with mobile chips
- 0:44:05 Just Delivered: Asus HD 6770 DirectCU Silent
- 0:47:38 OCZ Technology Acquires UK Design Team from PLX Technology
- 0:49:15 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- Ryan: Join me at GeForce LAN in Oakland!!
- Jeremy: Buy RIM, please!
- Josh: I have one, and I like it: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835209049
- Allyn: power-over-esata to (22 pin) sata cables, cheap: here
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Subject: General Tech | October 6, 2011 - 12:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- All Phenom Models @ Hardware Secrets
- CPU Performance Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Mobile CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Desktop CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Intel Core i3 2120 Review @ OCC
Subject: General Tech | October 5, 2011 - 04:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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:
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 5, 2011 - 12:49 AM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: silent, Passive, HD 6770, cooling, asus, amd
Something nice was dropped off at the house today, and I thought I would share.
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.
Don't worry, I have permission from the owner of that site to use this picture.
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.
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.
Subject: General Tech | October 3, 2011 - 12:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: llano, APU, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, 28nm, 32nm, trinity, amd
Woe is AMD, as it becomes ever more obvious that Llano is not giving good yields at GLOBALFOUNDRIES. Back in July the market noticed that while the new Llano chips were great at providing good enough graphics for a great price, they were very hard to find. As a consumer you might be able to find a notebook to purchase for yourself but as a reseller who needs to buy processors in the thousands before considering that chip as a part of the new product line up you have been out of luck. According to DigiTimes this will change in 2012 with the arrival of Trinity which will still use GLOBALFOUNDRIES 32nm process, turning to TSMC for the 28nm graphical portion. The previous hope that the supply problems would be solved in September were obviously a little too optimistic.
"Supply of AMD's Llano APUs, affected by Globalfoundries's lower-than-expected 32nm yield rates, has been significantly limited and is unlikely to recover until the company's upcoming Trinity arrives in 2012, according to sources from motherboard players. When asked about the company's upcoming Trinity schedule, AMD Taiwan declined to comment on unannounced products.
AMD started suffering from Llano APU supply shortages in July due to the yield issues and the company originally expected the supply status to return to normal in September. However, judging from the current situation, the sources believe the company's supply volume is unlikely to meet client demand through the end of 2011.
The sources estimated that the yield rate issue should be resolved in 2012, when Trinity launches."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Fanless PCs with 95W CPUs shown off @ SemiAccurate
- Vulnerability in HTC smartphones exposes user data @ The Inquirer
- Mozilla releases Rescuefox prototype @ The Inquirer
- Pandemonium as Microsoft AV nukes Chrome browser @ The Register
- Btrfs File-System For Old Computers? @ Phoronix
- Virtual showdown: Parallels Desktop 7 and VMware Fusion 4 @ Ars Technica
- A Beginner’s Guide to Video Encoding @ t-break
- Real World Labs And Enermax Joint Contest