AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer CPU Review

CPU by leeghoofd @ 2011-10-12

It has been a while since AMD has revamped their CPU lineup. New Graphics Cards are introduced on a regular basis, though mostly their silicon motherboard processor variants are not. Mostly a brand new breed of CPUs goes hand in hand with the launch of a new CPU socket. And if the end user is really unlucky the RAM and CPU cooler need a swap too. It has been over 18 months since AMD introduced their hexacore Thuban CPU. So it was about time to give an answer to Intels SandyBridge lineup. Or why not even aim for Intels high end socket 1366 Gulftown lineup. With every new CPU release, speculations rule the various forums. How the design is gonna be, performance expectations, die size, TDP,.. you name it and has been dealt with on the tech sites. On the 12th of October AMDs new born CPU core baptized Zambezi, for the desktop PCs and for the servers Interlagos and Valencia will see the daylight. Let's open the press kit.

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Technical part 1

The Zambezi CPUs are foreseen to run on AMDs 9 series chipset motheboards . This is not a brand new chipset, as it dates from early this year. 990FX was a worthy successor to the older polyvalent 8XX series. With each new CPU AMD links it to a platform name. For the Zambezi CPUs , better known to the comon people like you and me as Bulldozer, the platform is called Scorpius.





The Bulldozer CPUs will be branded as AMD FX processor. Yes it has been a while since we overclocked AMDs famous FX CPU to new heights. From AMDs press guide we read this : The AMD FX processor has been designed for enthousiasts who are looking to get the latest technologies and ultimate performance for their dollar. All FX processors are unlocked and overclockable and designed for the latest highly threaded applications. What catches me most in the previous sentences is : overclockable, unlocked and bang for the buck. Sounds too good to be true doesn't it ?




The FX CPU will be available at start in 3 models : The flagship tested today the FX-8150, a slower variant the FX-8120 and a 6core CPU the FX6100. Here's a short overview taken from the press powerpoints.



As you can see there are models to fit everybodys budget and needs. Rumour is that the lower specced 4 cores are faster in single threaded cases, but I only will vouch for this claim if I have tested it myself. AMD's target is Intels 2500K CPU. Believe it or not but the Bulldozer flagship FX-8150 will retail sub 250 euros once released.

In fact the first pages will be extractions of the presentation slides. For purists these diagrams and co are what they have been speculating about for over a year. I'm more sort of the practical guy that only needs a basic idea of how it all works. I rather use and abuse it. Anyway here we go and I promise Il'l keep it as light as possible :



AMD designed the Bulldozer to balance performance, cost and power consumption on multi threaded applications. There's that multi threaded part again. In fact the CPU name Bulldozer is not 100% correct. Bulldozer comes from the modules you see in the above Die shot. Each module sporting two cores. The architecture focuses on high frequency and resource sharing to achieve an optimal throughput and blistering speed in next generation apps. Our FX-8150 offers, according the slides up to eight power efficient cores. Based on 32Nm Global Foundries SOI (Silicon on Insulator) process.

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Comment from petervandamned @ 2011/10/12
Nice one

U did a great job bro !
Comment from Teemto @ 2011/10/12
Nice review. But still I feel FX is a dissapointment as I was hoping for it being at least on par with the 2600K.

Now the question arrizes:

What do I choose as next shrimp bench setup :

1. Keep current Asus Z68 Gene-Z with
a) better 2600K (should ask for a Tones binning day )
b) new 2700K (and hope for the best)

2. Wait for Sandy Bridge-E (most costly upgrade -> wife factor comes into play )

3. Formula V + FX-8150 (hoping that with my new cascade I can manage a stable 5.5+GHz system). It'll look nice but will it be an improvement over my current 5.3 sandy bridge? I have my doubts...
Comment from leeghoofd @ 2011/10/12
I sold your CPU btw today... so something better is on the way if you are game...

For benching sorry but this CPU is only good at CPU-Z... it's a nice game platform or encoding machine as long as the apps support it. for benching plz look elsewhere...
Comment from larkin @ 2011/10/14
Nice NB overclocking test but you should really have high speed memory in there to see a bigger difference. I'm pretty sure PC1280 is a bottleneck at that OC.
Comment from leeghoofd @ 2011/10/14
thanks ir.

Yes i just wanted to have a reference. Sin at XS has tested NB scaling with 1866Mhz Link here : ... His results were not scaling to much.

Too bad we need to go subzero to go over 2800Mhz... I hope retail silicon will be a better as steppings progress...
Comment from leeghoofd @ 2011/10/14
thanks sir.

Yes I just wanted to have a reference. Sin at XS has tested NB scaling with 1866Mhz Link here : ... His results were not scaling to much.

Too bad we need to go subzero to go over 2800Mhz... I hope retail silicon will be a better as steppings progress...