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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Let's start to raise the clocks...

In the conference call, it was mentioned more than once that this design is all about the quest for Mhz. Looking at the outcome of some tests on the previous page, only way the FX series can make up for the lacking efficiency is to up the CPU speed. Previous AMD CPUs were pretty limited in their overclock. The better ones reaching 4.2-4.3Ghz on air 24/7 stable. Let's have a look at what I deem stable for 24/7 usage. First we upped the clock speed to 4.5Ghz. Then slowly working our way up : 4.6 passed flawlessly, 4.7 next. Even 4.8 no problem, 4.9 passed with flying colours. At 5ghz I ran into issues passing the complete test suite. Adjusting voltages did not help. Maybe better cooling would have helped, though the Corsair H80 shouldn't have much issues keeping the CPU cool. ( As it's similar to what AMD will offer in some retail kits )

For 4.5Ghz with all cores enabled this review CPU required only 1.38Vcore.

4.9Ghz was rock stable in the test suite with just 1.45Vcore. Close to a 600Mhz improvement over the previous generation.


Now lets see how performance scales with the far higher clocks. The other CPUs are still running at stock clocks.



At 4.5Ghz we see a clear improvement in performance. Things are turning in advantage of the new FX CPUs. While you can say okay clock the Thuban up and see then. Correct but that architecture will not allow such high speeds for daily stability, unless you start adding chilled water or phase change cooling. At 4.9 is where the fun seems to start, the Bulldozer starts to close in on the competition, even coming very close to the mighty 6 cores of the Gulftown in WPrime 32.





The bandwith doesn't seem to scale that much with added CPU speed. Maybe the 1600mhz divider is holding these results back. In the X264HD encoding test we see that this CPU architecture is really held back by its low clock speeds. To be honest I feel that this CPU should have been released at at least 4.5Ghz and with a Turbo up to 5Ghz. This to clearly differentiate itself from previous AMD CPUs and to give the competition a run for its money. At 4.9Ghz you are well into Gulftown territory for not even a third of the cost.



I really hope the AMD boys will ever see these slides. Launching this CPU at the present clocks is a crime. If you want to make mince meat of the competition 500mhz extra is at least required. Noone will discuss about clock per clock when they know this thing can fly. Just give it some decent wings to do so. The Cinebench results scale so well with extra ram Mhz.




I think it will become to repetitive if I say how well this CPU could perform out of the box if they just would clock it up. Why AMD didn't take this decision from the start will remain a mystery to me. 3DMark01 has never ever been AMD territory, but the 06 scores are already okayish with the CPU at just 4.5Ghz.




Game performance scales too, but the extra Mhz don't allow the FX to come close to the competitors products. Take note these are only average results at 1280 x 1024 with High detail settings, no AA or such. Minimum FPS was not measured. As mentioned on the previous page a follow up will be done with newer game titles.






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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...