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AMD 'Bulldozer' FX CPU Reviews Arrive

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the new-and-shiny dept.

AMD 271

I.M.O.G. writes "Today AMD lifted the embargo on their most recent desktop AMD FX architecture, code named Bulldozer, whose CPU frequency record Slashdot recently covered. The fruition of 6 years of AMD R&D, this new chip architecture is the most significant news out of AMD since the Phenom II made its debut. The chips are available now in all major retail outlets, and top tier hardware sites have published the first Bulldozer reviews already." Here are reviews from a few different sites — pick your favorite: Tom's Hardware, PC Perspective, Hot Hardware, [H]ardOCP, or TechSpot. They don't agree on everything, but the consensus seems to be that the new chips aren't blowing anyone's socks off, and that they struggle to compete with Intel's comparable offerings. The architecture shows promise, but performance gains will take time to materialize, making it difficult to leapfrog Intel to any significant degree.

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I skimmed a few... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688774)

And the comparisons seemed pretty much benchmarked performance based, with a side of price comparison. Fair enough, as these are pitched as 'enthusiast' parts; but left me wondering about one thing:

Of late, intel's somewhat confusing set of model numbers has been distinguished, in addition to differences in speed, by various features being lasered off of certain parts, but not others, mostly virtualization-related stuff. AMD generally left those on at all times and distinguished primarily by speed.

Does anybody have an idea how the price/performance comparisons change(if in fact they do) from the pure-benchmark ones given in TFAs, if the buyer requires that all the relevant virtualization features be enabled?

Re:I skimmed a few... (4, Informative)

pankkake (877909) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688844)

All AMD CPUs allow ECC for instance, so if you require ECC memory it's much cheaper to go with AMD.

Re:I skimmed a few... (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688930)

This is partially the motherboard makers' fault, since they can generally scuttle such features in the BIOS even if enabled on die(laptop makers, in particular, seem to revel in doing this); but Intel's "VT-x", for various values of x, is a pit of confusion, and some of those VT-x's make a significant difference for VM workloads.

It's of interest to me because my next build/config to order is likely to be primarily for VM hosting, with routine desktop/workstation tasks taken care of by the fact that modern CPUs are fast as hell. Unfortunately, a lot of the enthusiast benchmarks generally focus on running Medal Of Warfare fast and cheap, and the virtualization benchmarks generally start from the assumption that you are looking to buy a palletload of 1Us...

Re:I skimmed a few... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690076)

IIRC this is not true for the llano line for example.

But yes, I choose AMD again and again for this very feature. Though I have never had a documented ECC error outside testing, it's good to be reasonably sure of that fact. Real men value their data, and therefore use ECC.

Re:I skimmed a few... (1)

magamiako1 (1026318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688904)

As a whole you only see these features turned off if you use the lower end CPUs.

The i7 2600K has all of the bells and whistles enabled. Except maybe ECC memory...

Re:I skimmed a few... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37688962)

And the i5 2500K has pretty much the same feature set, and it's more powerful, cheaper, and more energy efficient than the best of this new line of AMD chips. You do lose ECC, but does anyone actually need ECC on a desktop? Yea, maybe in a true workstation, but none of these chips really belong in a workstation to begin with. Have to say, I'd been looking forward to these chips, and so far they look like a pretty big disappointment.

Re:I skimmed a few... (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688986)

The i7 2600K has all of the bells and whistles enabled. Except maybe ECC memory...

No, it doesn't have VT-d or TXT enabled, the 2600 - not the K - does though. It less for a fraction less, has slightly worse integrated graphics and is multiplier locked, it's basically the business version of the 2600K. And like you say, if you want ECC you must get Xeons.

Re:I skimmed a few... (0)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689208)

Luckily though, the Xeon E3-1235 is very nicely priced, so much so it's better for most people than the i7 2600 if they want to do a lot of multithreading.

I don't quite get who this mythical person who wants ECC but isn't buying server chips is though... There's pretty much no task that actually wants it.

Re:I skimmed a few... (3, Interesting)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689618)

Plenty of people do work where a silent, undetected error could cost more than the extra couple of hundred bucks it costs to go ECC. Google's study found over 8% of DIMMs had memory errors each year. A hefty workstation with more RAM than a Google server (which are individually quite modest) could expect a proportionally higher rate of errors than a Google server.

Re:I skimmed a few... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37689464)

i5-2500 and i7-2600 multiplier isn't completely locked. It's OC-able by +4 during turbo (up to 41x and 42x -- 4.2ghz). Compared to 57x maximum multiplier of k-series.

Re:I skimmed a few... (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689498)

The i7 2600 is a $300 CPU. I thought it was really cool you could get a Sandy Bridge cpu for as low as $57 (G530), and on the newegg page it does have "Virtualization Technology Support." VMWare Workstation would still run fine with 1 or 2 guests without VT-d, wouldn't it? Lower speed for a lower price makes sense, but "you cannot run application X on this CPU" is more troubling.

Re:I skimmed a few... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689608)

VMWare Workstation would still run fine with 1 or 2 guests without VT-d, wouldn't it?

Depends on what you're doing, VT-d is virtualized IO. Both have VT-x so CPU-intensive clients should run just fine with or without it, but disk access will be slower without it. But in my experience running virtualization without it, it's not that slow anyway.

Re:I skimmed a few... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688952)

Does anybody have an idea how the price/performance comparisons change(if in fact they do) from the pure-benchmark ones given in TFAs, if the buyer requires that all the relevant virtualization features be enabled?

If I were to set up a business to do this, to cut thru the incredibly frustrating marketing from both chip manufacturers in exchange for a small cut of the price, would I currently have any competition?

The point of a confuse-opoly like CPUs or american cellphone contracts is to screw over the buyer by confusing them. Aside from screwing over the buyers, it also creates a business opportunity for someone to intermediate themselves while un-screw-up-ing the marketplace.

The general class of idea is something like a CPU buyers expert system. One UI idea is something like a graph titled "Intel-based Virtualization CPUs" with price as Y axis and performance as X axis and click on the datapoint to order a CPU.

I'm envisioning my price mark up to be about equivalent to buying me a beer at the bar (plenty of people would answer your question for free, if you'd buy me a beer at the next computer conference / bar / whatever, but my magic web site is 24x7 and accessible everywhere)

As with many businesses, it seems too obvious, that there must be multiple competitors. But apparently their marketing sucks so bad I've never heard of them.

Re:I skimmed a few... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689166)

I generally don't find CPUs too confusing as they don't change toooo often, but graphics cards I just stopped trying to keep up with years ago.

When I bought a card recently I just googled "x-card vs y-card", hwcompare.com [hwcompare.com] was generally the top result. It has lots of automatically generated pages which compare benchmarks of one card vs another. If you made a site similar to that for comparing CPUs/mobos within certain categories or price ranges then you might make some money from advertising revenue, especially since those people are out to buy new hardware anyway.

Re:I skimmed a few... (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689224)

Re:I skimmed a few... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689486)

I was thinking more choose a category and get a table or chart comparing something like 5-10 processors at a time. Basically just like the roundups that these sites do from time to time, but automatically generated and user customisable what price range or other features they want to filter by. Useful page though.

Re:I skimmed a few... (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689526)

Just select stuff from the left hand pair of menus:

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/CPU/342 [anandtech.com]

Re:I skimmed a few... (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689836)

Too lazy... I just generally grep http://www.cpubenchmark.net/ [cpubenchmark.net] and/or http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/index.php [videocardbenchmark.net] to see where things fall... roughly.

Plus, the old stuff I'm comparing to is often too old to be listed on any of the more modern benchmarks listed review sites. But I'm a cheapskate like that ;-D

Re:I skimmed a few... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689794)

Doesn't mention features at all. Doesn't even filter by socket type much less manufacturer. I am trying to burn thru the marketing and figure out the fastest CPU to buy that supports virtualization for $X on my motherboard of choice.

I'm thinking an expert system where I tell it "Intel, Socket B, virtualization mandatory, gimme the performance vs price table, and if you must narrow it down, narrow it down to sub-$300 please".

I can probably do this by hand in at most a couple hours of work, which is worth a couple bucks for a website to do it for me.

Specifically I Really Wanna Run KVM or Xen, so if some obscure model simply won't work with the linux/KVM then I'm totally uninterested. For example, I know only certain MBs support USB passthru, so I'm exclusively interested in the CPUs supported by those MBs, furthermore I have to make sure that the virtualization features have not been lasered off.

Don't much care if there exists a chunk of silicon that is faster yet completely unusable for me. Just don't care. Much like my first criteria for a mythtv FE card is "does it work with vdpau" and I have zero interest in a "better" card that does not support vdpau. Marketing wants to "help" me by having the name of the card include the word "sniper", or by placing a picture of a girl in a chainmail bikini on the box, so they're useless (marketing, not the chainmail girl)

Its almost as much of a pain in the ass as buying a car...

Re:I skimmed a few... (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688982)

The part most benchmarks are concentrating on is the 8150, which costs $250 to retailers – i.e. it costs about the same as an i7 2600 when it gets to your wallet. Unfortunately, it seems to perform worse than an i5 2400, so... fail.

Re:I skimmed a few... (2)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689628)

i've only seen the 8150, no other chips out there yet.

My main comparison point is the x6, since i'm looking at upgrading from a x4 940, so far it looks like the 8150 has serious trouble beating the x6 1100T in anything but the heaviest threading and a few x264 encoding benches. So it looks like i'll pick a 1090T for 100 bucks less then the 8150.

Bulldozer might be interesting from an architectural standpoint, but to me it looks like they gimped the execution hardware and tried to make up for that with rather massive L2 caches and subsequently Global foundries fumbled the ball on the production, meaning Bulldozer isnt hitting the clock speeds needed for being competitive.

I'm sort of hoping for AMDs sakes that this will turn out like the original phenom, it was inovative and all, but failed to hit clockspeeds and ran hot, then AMD did a major refactor of that chip and shrunk it to 45nm and suddenly Phenom II turned out quite well.

If you are an AMD fan.... (4, Interesting)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688790)

buy a 6 core Phenom II, overclock it, and pray that AMD can stay around long enough to fix this mess.

Go check the techreport review and look at the price/performance chart: The 2500K has slightly higher performance, lower price, and *much* better energy efficiency.

Go look at the LKML where you'll see Linus & Ingo Molnar calling out AMD for design flaws in Bulldozer's cache that AMD wants to paper-over with kludgy software workarounds in the kernel: http://us.generation-nt.com/answer/patch-x86-amd-correct-f15h-ic-aliasing-issue-help-204200361.html [generation-nt.com]

I feel bad for AMD's engineers. I *don't* feel bad for the marketing hype machine that has been relying on "geek-cred" from sites like Slashdot and the usual David vs. Goliath myth to get unearned praise. If Intel had come out with Bulldozer instead of AMD, we'd be calling this Prescott version 2.0.

Re:If you are an AMD fan.... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688836)

You might want to buy some sort of AMD processor, if only to decorate the shelf, even if you prefer Intel... Consider it an investment.

The...optimism... of Intel's pricing guys can get a touch out of hand when their competitors get weak.

Re:If you are an AMD fan.... (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688880)

The prices of the Intel ten core stuff is insane on the level of if you have to ask you can't afford it as an example in server space. Meanwhile there are slightly slower AMD 12 core CPUs for under $1000.

Re:If you are an AMD fan.... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689190)

The prices of the Intel ten core stuff is insane on the level of if you have to ask you can't afford it as an example in server space. Meanwhile there are slightly slower AMD 12 core CPUs for under $1000.

Intel's most expensive chip is $4616, AMDs is $2649. True you get AMD chips to under $1000, but then it's no longer very fair to compare them to Intel's most expensive ones either. The 10-cores are more like the Extreme Edition chips, which despite having two cores less perform much higher than the fastest Opteron...

Re:If you are an AMD fan.... (4, Informative)

SQL Error (16383) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689528)

We've benchmarked the 10-core 2.0GHz E7 Xeons against the 8-core 2.0GHz Opteron 6128. The Opteron CPUs deliver about 70% of the performance on our workload for about 12% of the price.

The AMD motherboards are much cheaper too.

Bulldozer is underwhelming on the desktop, but it could still deliver great price/performance in the server market. We'll soon see.

Re:If you are an AMD fan.... (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690036)

which despite having two cores less perform much higher than the fastest Opteron.

Only for single threaded applications which are now less relevant than they used to be. Of course you only look at 12 cores (or ten) if you are going to use all of them most of the time.

Re:If you are an AMD fan.... (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689252)

I just bought a dual 12 core server from Dell. The difference (all other specs being equal) between the R810 with two 10-core Xeon's, and the R815 with two 12-core AMD's is about $8k (we also have 256GB of ram in them. The Intel ram was more expensive for some reason, even though the speed was the same). That difference in price is going towards a Fusion IO card, which will be a nice little benefit to our IO performance on our database.

Re:If you are an AMD fan.... (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689750)

When you drop $60k on a server and another $20k of licensing fees, one really doesn't care about shaving $2-3k from the price through a slower processor, causing you to order more servers. Give me the fastest CPU.

Re:If you are an AMD fan.... (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690110)

When you drop $60k on a server ...then you're doing it wrong. You can get a fully tricked out 2.5GHzx48 6100 with 512GB RAM from SuperMicro for about GBP 16,000. If you want to throw in a 2U case wil loads of disks you might go up to 25,000. But 60k for a server? You're obviously doing something exotic.

another $20k of licensing fees, one really doesn't care about shaving $2-3k

That's per processor, by the way, of which there are 4. That's a saving of $8k to $12k, which is beginning to get significant, especially as it's beginning to approach the price of a maxed-out server.

Give me the fastest CPU.

In terms of flops/U, the quad 6100s match up very well to the best of what intel has to offer. They're also comparable in terms of flops / W, and stomp all over intel in terms of flops / $. The single threaded performance is lower, but if you're running 48 cores, you probably have a well parallelized task.

Re:If you are an AMD fan.... (2)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688860)

AMD had a real good run in the early 2000's AMD actually was selling more PC's with its chips then Intel. Then Intel Core 2 Duo processors came out and AMD had to go back to catch up mode again.

But I have stopped watching the processor market as closely as I did before. Then I wanted to build myself a PC... I was like Dag-Nabit! They seem to name all the chips with a code name and a number... Now I would expect the larger number next to the code name would mean it is a better chip then the previous code name. However when you change code names around then you start over. I miss 80x86

Re:If you are an AMD fan.... (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688908)

AMD had a real good run in the early 2000's AMD actually was selling more PC's with its chips then Intel. Then Intel Core 2 Duo processors came out and AMD had to go back to catch up mode again.

I'm pretty sure they didn't and it was just a majority of the retail sales outside the big OEMs. I don't ever think AMD ever had the fab capacity to supply over 50% of the total market.

Re:If you are an AMD fan.... (1)

epine (68316) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689042)

That's a pretty constructive dialog. Is that the norm on LKML these days? Linus, I feel your pain.

Argh. This is a small disaster, you know that, right? Suddenly we have user-visible allocation changes depending on which CPU you are running on. I just hope that the address-space randomization has caught all the code that depended on specific layouts.

But honestly, it's not like the transition to AMD64 was all that smooth, either. We're all members of the breakage-of-the-month club. Others should be careful what they drool over.

If Intel had come out with Bulldozer instead of AMD, we'd be calling this Prescott version 2.0.

That's an awfully rash statement. Fanboi, meet anti-Fanboi. You'll get along famously.

Prescott was designed as it was for bad engineering reasons. They were trying to glue an extra pair of legs onto the frequency horse, with no concern for hay consumption; it didn't end well. We don't yet know that AMD made bad engineering decisions. So far it's not a giant killer. They're a much smaller company than Intel, and it's a tremendous challenge to synchronize their processor design with their fabrication technology without getting a bad case of roadmap rash.

On paper, the rationale looks fine: treat the thermal envelope as your rate limiting resource. Duplicate as much as possible within that constraint, share resources that burn too hot. Prescott is not a generic synonym for disappointment and slander. It was a very specific recipe for humble pie.

Intel's P6 was a killer foundation for many years, yet its initial reception was cold by the lovers of Windows 95 (how do you spell loser, let me count the ways). Intel's Pentium was greeted with ridicule in the smoking hot 60Mhz incarnation (15 watts, can you believe that?) It went on to great success after a die shrink.

There's still hope for Bulldozer yet. Prescott is far from the leading analogy of suck. I suppose you picked it as the only one that's prominent in fanboi lingo.

Re:If you are an AMD fan.... (1)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689098)

I don't think BD is a failure because it can't beat Sandy Bridge in every benchmark. I think it's a failure because it is a *massive* (2 BILLION transistor) chip with very large (315 mm^2) die and a LARGE power envelope that still doesn't beat a 2600K even with higher clockspeeds and at using highly multithreaded code where BD is supposed to be superior.

If AMD had come out with a chip that had the same performance as BD but was much smaller and more power efficient (basically the chip that AMD promised rather than the one they delivered) then I'd be calling this a big success.

As it stands, AMD is not even *price* competitive with BD unless they slash prices even further. They are trying to sell the cut-down 6 core BD for the exact same price as the 6 core Phenom II that we have already seen beats the 8 core FX in a decent number of benchmarks! The 8 core FX is more expensive than a 2500K, but the 2500K wins in most benchmarks that people really care about in this price range (games) *and* uses a whole lot less power to boot.

Re:If you are an AMD fan.... (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689382)

Look at the transistor count for the i7 - it certainly pushing 2G just like the AMD designs. The big difference is the direction AMD is taking the thing.

What I suspect is that in another couple of generations is when we'll start seeing the real benefit of AMD's design.

Some points to think about

  1. APU = FPU
  2. GPU != FPU
  3. Power Consumption

I suspect AMD is moving back towards the slot based board designs (Slot A) and putting the entire computer onto a card. The only thing a mobo will need to provide are things like the ancillary connections such as memory/sata/usb/firewire and the back plane such as HDMI/DP/Thunderbird all else is going to be almost a SoC design as we're already seeing with HDMI audio in the latest Radeon Drivers. Hell most cards have an HDMI port that includes audio for connection to your HD TV. That means fewer back plane/mobo connections.

Re:If you are an AMD fan.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37689784)

I suspect AMD is moving back towards the slot based board designs (Slot A) and putting the entire computer onto a card.

Based on what, pray tell? Guesswork? Wishful thinking?

Pics or it didn't happen.

Re:If you are an AMD fan.... (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689824)

APU != FPU.. not directly anyway

The APU works just like a GPU, the only real difference is the 1-2 magnitudes lower communications latency(shared L3 does that), which allows for smaller matrices of data to effectively be computed.

APU = super low latency, but mediocre throughput GPU

huge potential, but still has the basic limitations of a GPU for the type of work, but not the amount of work.

Re:If you are an AMD fan.... (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689584)

Intel's Pentium was greeted with ridicule in the smoking hot 60Mhz incarnation (15 watts, can you believe that?) It went on to great success after a die shrink.

I talked to the head of the Pentium Pro to Pentium 4 projects (after he left Intel), and he said that their first power wakeup call came with that chip, when they were told by a company in New York that they couldn't upgrade their desktops because their building's power supply wouldn't be able to cope with the increased load. Sadly, it wasn't until after the Pentium 4 that they really learned this lesson to any degree.

Re:If you are an AMD fan.... (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689588)

Prescott was designed as it was for bad engineering reasons. They were trying to glue an extra pair of legs onto the frequency horse, with no concern for hay consumption; it didn't end well.

Well, wait a minute. Obviously it turned out to be a misstep, but what reason do you have for thinking they knew that going in and were just being disingenuous?

Re:If you are an AMD fan.... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689870)

But honestly, it's not like the transition to AMD64 was all that smooth, either. We're all members of the breakage-of-the-month club. Others should be careful what they drool over.

The 64 bit AMD chips, when considered in conjunction with relevant chipsets and when compared to the intel offerings of the day with their relevant chipsets, were astounding examples of efficiency and performance, and while there were real compatibility issues, they were at least fairly scarce.

Intel's Pentium was greeted with ridicule in the smoking hot 60Mhz incarnation (15 watts, can you believe that?) It went on to great success after a die shrink.

This is the time when AMD actually failed, with the K6 and its ever so slightly incompatible FPU implementation. Lucky for them, the Pentium had 0.99999999997 or two FPU problems of its own.

I'm always concerned for it (well, if I care) when a new architecture comes out and it's not the fastest thing around. But there IS a massive price break, so perhaps scientific computing can keep AMD around until they get the speed up. Not only am I worried about what happens if they go away, but I like AMD processors. I have a Phenom II X3 720 now and I'm happy enough with it, although I still want a six-core. Maybe this holiday season I can get one for a bill.

Re:If you are an AMD fan.... (1)

Shinobi (19308) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690044)

The problem for AMD is, over the lifespan of a cluster/supercomputer/data center, the major costs aren't manpower, it's floorspace, power and cooling. These Bulldozer cores use drastically more power and run MUCH hotter than the 10 months older Intel parts. Also, not all workloads(even in science) are easily parallellized, so overall balance of performance advantage leans over towards Intel.

Using the same memory, SSD's, GPU and such, the FX-8150 gurgles down 79 watts more under heavy load than the i7-2600k.

Bulldozer=SUV of CPU's....

Trinity and beyond (2)

epine (68316) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688796)

You have to hope that whatever sacrifice AMD made in this design was made to better enable the CPU and GPU to be fabricated on the same process in Trinity and beyond.

It's a disaster (0)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688812)

Sorry, but even though the reviews try not to kill the underdog this chip is huge, hot, performs crap in anything but extremely well threaded applications and even there it barely competes with Intel's 2500K/2600K. Anandtech passed 300W trying to overclock this beast. It's like AMD implemented every bad idea Intel had with the PIV.

Re:It's a disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37689316)

A pity... it seems better to wait for the next iteration of Bulldozer if you want to support the underdog. Unless they really screwed up there's no reason they couldn't improve the power usage to at least comparable levels with the Phenom and fix the worst performance issues (like the cache bug mentioned by CajunArson above).

Re:It's a disaster (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689700)

i'm pretty sure the 300W figure there is for the full test rig, not the chip itself, just to somewhat blunt that shock.

I agree though, bulldozer isnt pretty and the analogy of the P3-P4 intel phase is striking.

Anandtech! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37688814)

Anand has always done a better job than Tom IMHO
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4955/the-bulldozer-review-amd-fx8150-tested

obviously why SB-e not arriving until Q1 2012 (2)

scalarscience (961494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688822)

Well now I know for sure why SB-E (sandybridge-e) is not arriving until Q1 2012... Intel is just going to continue to milk SB parts for the time being. Sad because I really wanted to get an Ivy Xeon rig to replace my current dual proc mobo, but I'm not sure I can wait until 2013!

Re:obviously why SB-e not arriving until Q1 2012 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37688988)

Intel is *big* into the 'tic-toc' thing. I would say they are probably having issues with their next chip/fab process.

For every process shrink they get *MORE* chips out of the same wafer. So for the same approximate material/labor cost they get 20-30% more product to sell. Never mind the fixed up front cost of replacing all of their fab equipment. They are also switching substrate architectures to be more 3d. The CEO has been saying it will be on all of their chips by the end of 2012. My guess is they are having problems with that. As this part of the tic/toc is fab.

I doubt they are sitting around watching every move AMD does... But AMD coming out with a new chip at comparable performance should speed them up a bit... It means AMD is about 1 gen behind Intel. All it takes is one misstep from Intel and AMD will be back on top...

AMD isn't about performance anymore (2)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688834)

I buy AMD, mostly when I build myself and when I'm on a budget. Not because I like weak chips. I love CPU speed, but I also love to keep my wallet as full as possible. This is what AMD offers: "bang for your buck". AMD is interesting for anyone who wants to balance between spending money and reasonable performance. Want pure performance and it doesn't matter what it costs? Go Intel... No questions asked. (This wasn't so in the Athlon XP/64 days)

Also keep in mind that we are now really on a computing-power plateau. At least from the point of view of the average user. I've got a frigging Atom D525 as my primary desktop, which isn't exactly a powerhouse. It has some quirks, notably because Firefox sometimes seems to slow down (Installing the 64-bit Linux flash player made the situation better, for some odd reason... It still is not really ok though) Most of the time it works just perfectly fine. I'd wager that adding 50% more power to that chip would nullify my troubles.

I can't say much about these new Bulldozer machines, but I just ordered an AMD A6-3560 + Gigabyte motherboard + 16GB RAM for less than 250€. That's a lot of power for not much money. (Moms computer died, building a new one for her... She doesn't need much, this should be more than overkill) I'm very keen on trying it out.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37688868)

So basically AMD is good because you're a stinking peasant so impoverished or fully greedy that you cant even be bothered to invest in a 2500 which is faster than your antiquated junk? Oh but now that we have the trash of the century let's not forget 16GB of RAM because 8GB isn't good enough for the lowest form of peasant such as myself. Seriously, how do you live with yourself?

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37688928)

fuck off troll

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688960)

The i5 2500 alone cost as much as the motherboard plus the A6-3560. Sure it doesn't perform as well, but see if I care.

16GB RAM? Sure, that was not needed, but at 16.50€/4GB, why skimp?

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689176)

But the i5 2500 is massively faster than the A6 3560 –even a Pentium G840 is faster than the A6, and it costs less.

Your argument is akin to "but, an FX3150 is way more expensive than a Pentium G840, therefore AMD is sucky value"

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689578)

"There are people so addicted to exaggeration that they can't tell the truth without lying." -- Josh Billings

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689390)

So basically AMD is good because you're a stinking peasant so impoverished or fully greedy that you cant even be bothered to invest in a 2500 which is faster than your antiquated junk? Oh but now that we have the trash of the century let's not forget 16GB of RAM because 8GB isn't good enough for the lowest form of peasant such as myself. Seriously, how do you live with yourself?

So, do you drive a Ferrari, always fly first class, and have a home IMAX? If not, is driving an affordable car being a stinking peasent?

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37688870)

You missed the part where FX-8150 both costs more and performs worse than i5 2500? For now it seems that both AMDs older chips and especially Intels offerings give much better "bang for buck". Even more so if you factor in power consumption. If the Bulldozers were $50 cheaper, it might have a fighting chance, but currently they are way overpriced.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688968)

Nah, I simply didn't read the article... I'd say "that sucks" and AMD should fix their pricing then.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37689340)

But Bulldozer cores have also 2x more transistors than Sandy Bridge cores, so AMD is probably not able to compete with price if they actually want to make profit. So basically what AMD has is chip that's expensive to make, performs poorly, and has many years of R&D to recoup. Not exactly an easy position to be in.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (2)

Just Brew It! (636086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688878)

I love CPU speed, but I also love to keep my wallet as full as possible. This is what AMD offers: "bang for your buck". AMD is interesting for anyone who wants to balance between spending money and reasonable performance.

Which is why this chip is not a good buy until they drop the price. Right now it is not a good "bang for your buck". Looks like I will be putting Phenom II X6 chips in my existing systems and sitting tight for a year or two.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688926)

/ME crosses fingers behind his back....

I swear I'll read the article next time.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37689222)

If you don't know for a fact that you have workload that scales up to 6 cores, you're better off with X4 chips. Most desktop and gaming gains more from high singlethreaded performance than extra cores.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

Just Brew It! (636086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689466)

I do run some multithreaded workloads and VMs, but I also realize 6 cores wouldn't be fully utilized most of the time. It is really more of a future-proofing move, so that I can wait out the 1st gen Bulldozer chips.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689298)

If you want bang-for-buck and you are reaching for a Phenom II x6 then you aren't paying attention..

The AMD A-series APU's are by far the best value around. The AMD A6-3650 ($120) and the AMD A8-3850 ($135) are on par in performance with the Phenom II 1055T ($150) and the Phenom II 1075T ($160) respectively. If you need the (very) marginal performance boost of the Phenom II 1090T ($170) or the Phenom II 1100T ($190) then you should probably be buying the Intel i5-2400 ($188)

They perform as well as the x6's, cost significantly less, have a competent GPU which itself may save you even more, and they even use less power. Nothing on the market comes close.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

Just Brew It! (636086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689424)

Note the part where I said "existing systems". If any of my existing systems already had Socket FM1 motherboards, I'd already have APUs in them. ;-)

There's also the minor detail of the APUs not supporting ECC RAM. I generally use ECC RAM for any box that acts as a server (prefer it for desktops too, actually... but it is less of a "must have" and more of a "nice to have" for desktops).

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689776)

What? i'd like to know how a A8 3850 (which is basically a 2.9 GHz athlon II X2, better known as a l3-less PII) can keep up with a 1075T.

Sure, for general browsing/wordprocessing the A8 is more then sufficient, but once you get into stuff you would actually need a quad-core for, the PII chips are superior.

Yes, if you are building a new surfer-box for mom, by all means get a A6/A8, but if you do any gaming/encoding stuff, the few extra tenners for a PII x4/x6 pay off. I agree with the intel i5 2400 recommendation, but i'm looking at this from the perspective of having a fully functional AM2+ mobo with 8 GB of ram which i might want to plop a new cpu into, currently the 1090T looks like the winner.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (0)

magamiako1 (1026318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688932)

16GB of RAM? Are you stupid or something?

4GB of RAM is more than enough for "mom". Hell, even 2GB is more than enough for "mom".

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37688978)

16GB of RAM? Are you stupid or something?

4GB of RAM is more than enough for "mom". Hell, even 2GB is more than enough for "mom".

Maybe mom is running Windows...

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

FreonTrip (694097) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689080)

And when 8 gigs of DDR3 will set you back somewhere in the neighborhood of $45, slapping in 16 gigs isn't really a bank-breaker.

*suddenly experiences the memory, now an abomination, of spending $100 in 1996 for 16 megs of EDO DRAM*

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689192)

You should have been there in the late eighties and try to buy 1MB of RAM. *sigh*

Our first computer, an IBM PS/2, had the insane amount of 1MB RAM... I remember people reacting the same way as they do now with the 16GB for mom.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37689106)

Maybe "mom" is inadvertently running a server VM host and paying the power bills?

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689130)

Mom runs Ubuntu Linux 10.04LTS. She could do with 1GB, I guess... Consider this (prices from my local vendor):
  • 1GB DDR3-1333: 9.69€ => 9,69€/GB
  • 2GB DDR3-1333: 10.99€ => 5,495€/GB
  • 4GB DDR3-1333: 16.99€ => 4,2475€/GB
  • 8GB DDR3-1333: 229,90€ => 28,7375€/GB [*]

What's the best deal? Given it's a dual channel machine, you go for module pairs.. So, the logical option is to go 2x4GB. That would have been the cheapest too. For that insanely low price, I just decided to go full 16GB.

I don't understand why people scoff at giving my mom a 16GB machine. Sure, it's overkill, but it's affordable and no big deal.

[*] Obviously this is not in the same league as the other offerings, but it's the only 8GB sticks I could find in their shop.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (2)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689938)

Quite clearly the cheapest would have been a single 1 GiB stick at 9.69€. The logical option would have been 2 x 2 GiB at 21.98€ because 4 GiB is more than enough and the additional cost over 2 x 1 GiB is negligible. 4 GiB is enough for me to play the Battlefield 3 beta so it's more than enough for your mom to do the same, let alone do stereotypical mom things like emailing you amusing pictures of cats.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37689372)

16GB of RAM? Are you stupid or something?

4GB of RAM is more than enough for "mom". Hell, even 2GB is more than enough for "mom".

Maybe mom is running Windows...

Maybe mom does large scale computational fluid dynamics...

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37689388)

Hurrr

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689024)

At the current price for get RAM, you simply just cram any machine your build with all the RAM you can afford. It can cache the whole operating system for all I care.

Compare the prices for a 2GB sick versus a 4GB stick? What's a better deal? Now, since the machine is dual channel, you need two sticks anyway. So, that's 2x4GB = 8GB, which is the cheapest GB/price option. Since the motherboard had four slots and the RAM is so cheap I simply added another two 4GB modules. It's not for that 33€, I would have saved, that I would have gotten a significantly better CPU.

So, yes, I should have gone for 8GB and save those 33€.. Stupid me, I guess.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689280)

Why do you "need" two sticks? Is that an actual requirement? Genuinely interested, not trying to be awkward. If you're referring to the timing boost you get by using two sticks, isn't that negated on most mobos when you put in 4 RAM sticks because of the extra overhead (either in power or just address space, I can't remember..).

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689406)

Back in the day it was required. Might have changed. Never tried.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689704)

You want 2 or 4 sticks if its a dual-channel motherboard and CPU, 3 or 6 sticks if its a triple-channel motherboard and CPU, and 4 or 8 sticks if its a quad-channel motherboard and CPU.

The idea is that memory is interleaved between the memory chips, so that the memory chips work in parallel to load and unload data from the CPU's caches. That 64-bit bus effectively becomes 128-bit, 192-bit, or 256-bit.

It is this reason that the old i7's (triple-channel memory) beat up the newer sandy bridge chips (double-channel memory) in some scenarios, but not others.

You will only see servers supporting quad-channel memory, and thats nearly universal there.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689808)

Two sticks isnt a requirement for modern cpu's, and as far as i know, there are no timing boosts to be had (but then again, i've been out of the game for a few years). The benefit is that with a dual channel setup, you get twice as much memory bandwidth, and in modern systems under certain use cases that is a genuine bottleneck. Some benchmarks show 10% performance increase going from ddr 1333 to 1600, now imagine the impact of not adding 25%, but 100% bandwidth.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689940)

And one more point, it can actually be true that the price of the memory can go UP when it gets scarce later, but these days your computer might conceivably provide enough computing power for you for years, and if you make an OS upgrade you will want more RAM; why not buy it now when you know you can get it cheaply?

Last time I went looking for ordinary DDR it was priced higher than what I paid for it the first time I got some, while DDR2 was way cheaper. OTOH, I just got some RDRAM for a free machine I picked up (which now has four identical P/N modules in it, whee) for ten bucks. And I think we all remember how much that ECC RDRAM with the heat spreaders on it cost back in the day.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689076)

Right now, yes. But moms tend to keep PCs for 6-8 years. 16GB is not overkill for that

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37689092)

Actually, his D525 would be more than enough for "mom". The A6 can be OP's new desktop.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689162)

Nah, I've got an i7 laptop. I just need time to set it up. I bought the Atom as a toy, but it ended up being my desktop. Go figure.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689160)

Pentium G840 + decent H61 mobo with 4 RAM slots + 4*4GB of RAM == $215, and beats your A6 system in every respect except GPU performance, and quite frankly, if you're able to cope with a 6530, then you're not looking for a big graphics card, and the HD2000 on the pentium is almost certainly enough.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689432)

Point taken. Thing is, I tend to stay way from anything named Celeron or Pentium these days. Those names have negative connotations to me. That might not be warranted any more, but habits die hard.

Re:AMD isn't about performance anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37689952)

That's just not fair. The 6530 is very much more capable than the HD2000. The 6530 will run all games, the HD200 will definitely crap out at the more demanding ones and give mediocre performance at best. Also the Atis have better support for nongame GPU-accelerated software, which are more and more common (his mothers browser will thank you for the AMD). I'd take the ~$30 extra is absolutly money wisely spent.

Do these contain DRM? (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 2 years ago | (#37688846)

Similar to Intel Insider? In 2007 there was talk of disallowing users access to the framebuffer, did any of this ever materialise?

This is what is keeping me away from buying core i5 cpus, even if the AMD ones might be a bit slower

Re:Do these contain DRM? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690060)

ntel intends doing that, admittedly, and even they want to charge for overclocking.

Rings a bell (1)

arisvega (1414195) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689064)

The architecture shows promise, but performance gains will take time to materialize, making it difficult to leapfrog Intel to any significant degree.

Hasn't that been the case for 20 years now?

Re:Rings a bell (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689774)

Nope. Compare the original Althlon to the comparable Intel chips at the time. It was both faster and cheaper, making it an obvious win. The K6-2 was about the price of a Pentium, but performance was comparable to a Pentium 2 or 3. My K6-2 350MHz cost about as much as a 266MHz Pentium 2 - much less if you included motherboard costs in both cases. The K6-2 and K6-3 were a bit slower than fast Intel chips, but it was very close. The Athlon was faster than the Pentium 3 and than the early Pentium 4s. The Opteron was the only serious game in town for server chips for a while. The Core 2 was the first chip that Intel released for a while that was really competitive and none of the AMD offering since then have really been that exciting.

There are still some niches where AMD is better. I just finished building a NAS box, and if you want a low power CPU that supports virtualisation extensions, then AMD is the only game in town.

Re:Rings a bell (1)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689996)

The outstanding "integrated" graphics performance of the laptop and desktop Llano APUs (ugh, marketing) greatly expands the number of niches where AMD is the better choice. That now includes nearly home user on the planet.

I wouldn't worry much about AMD even if this Bulldozer launch is underwhelming.

You F]ail It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37689068)

If they ship it with IOMMU (1)

FithisUX (855293) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689330)

uKernel and Virtualization folks will buy. I really don't care about performance. I care about documentation and standards compliance. My next PC will be AMD.

amd has better MB choice at lower price points (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689392)

Intel has limited pci-e in the i3 i5 and low end i7 boards that makes USB 3.0 and other on board stuff eat in to the X16 for video.

With amd you can get a board with lot's of pci-e lanes with out the need for the high end cpu and or get a high end cpu and not need to buy a super high end MB.

Linux Kernel Compilation Benchmark? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37689484)

In the available reviews i found no benchmark about compilation. Is it unusual these days to compile the linux kernel? The FX-8150 could show here if it indeed is capable of decent real-world multi-threading performance and i guess many slashdotters compile software on a regular basis. So please post a link to such a benchmark if you have one.

Re:Linux Kernel Compilation Benchmark? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37689846)

I've found a compilation benchmark on Anandtechs site:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4955/the-bulldozer-review-amd-fx8150-tested/7

Sadly, it's a disgrace...

Dwarf fortress fail (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689604)

It seems this new generation of AMD will run Dwarf Fortress more slowly than Phenom II :(
When new computers are slower, there's something seriously wrong!

A lot of stuff in this story ... (4, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690040)

- First, there is the huge delay intel caused by engaging in fraud by paying pc makers to not use amd chips, right at the time amd was at an advantage.

- Then there is the fact that these synthetic benchmarks use intel's proprietary libraries, which were proven to work ineffectively when 'non genuine intel' architecture was detected.

- Then there is the fact that this is a new platform, and its just out, and the main deal with this is being easily increasable in cores. so amd will just add more cores without any research being needed. expect 32 core cpus in a year or so. 16 cores already out.

- As you can understand these cpus are geared more for server environment, and will take that environment over.

- Amd is moving to trinity in one year or so. Trinity is the APU format that all amd cpus will take from then on. Llano apus have been quite successful in gaming fro example 50-80 fps in starcraft 2 (crossfired and not) -> you dont need to buy an external card anymore, and if you do you can crossfire it with the cpu contained one. http://www.anandtech.com/show/4476/amd-a83850-review/6 [anandtech.com] http://techreport.com/articles.x/21730/8 [techreport.com] intel is worlds behind in this one.

and then there is the ultimate question of what the fuck i am going to do if i grab a powerful processor. really. i bought an overclockable board, and an unlocked cpu. and when i played games, i found out that it was mostly the video card i added that did most of the thing. the cpu i had was way, way over any potential requirements and needs of these games. i didnt need to buy a powerful one at all.

i went about hardware/software forums asking what i could do with a powerful computer. answers have been 'video encoding', 'benchmark', 'seti'. as it seems, any daily usage for cpus are WAY behind the power of modern cpus. to utilize your cpu power at all, you need to do unorthodox, unnecessary shit, or be in a profession that works on these.

so i think all this performance talk is bullshit. there is no way in hell you will use that performance, even in hardcore gaming with an eyefinity 3 monitor setup in 5000x resolution, with 2x antialiasing and full detial. (and i just have 2x 5670 cards).

future is in the heterogeneous chips i think. llano already has been a success, and its possible to save 30% on the cost of cpu + mobo + graphics card if you go the llano way over anything intel, and gaming performance is incomparable. when trinity comes, i think there will be a big change in computing. especially when amd puts out a computing platform like cuda.
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