AMD FX 8150 Revisited

CPU by leeghoofd @ 2011-11-01

After the hectic week of testing this brand new 8 core CPU from Advanced Micro Design, it's time to go a bit deeper. In this review we are gonna retest the Bulldozer CPU versus it's main rivals. Being AMD's own Thuban 1090T, Intels 2600K and the almighty Gulftown 990X CPU. Mainly because our test suite had to be slightly updated to give the new Zambezi architecture a shot to maybe show it's true potential. But most important to show some people the real deal. I've myself read through a few articles on AMD's latest flagship. To be honest some reviews made me wonder if they were really done or just a copy paste of the marketing slides. It was also kind of funny to see some renown websites include completely GPU bottlenecked game benchmarks. Kinda hard to tell the importance of the CPU part don't you think ? Even if they call it real world scenarios, it still made my eyebrows frown as they hardly used any game tests in older reviews. Why now include them ? So without boring you too much with my frustrations, let's get it on...

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Game tests revisited

I always tend to include game tests at medium resolutions to show the potential of a new CPU and/or platform. Even if this are not the so called real world scenarios, I try to avoid as much as possible reaching the GPU bottleneck. Otherwise it wouldn't matter as the outcome would be similar amongst many CPUs. Let's restest the games at 1280 x1024 resolution with high detail settings ( iso medium in the previous review ) and 1920 x 1080 res with everything maxed out.


As there are a lot of theories of disabling clusters in the CPU (motherboard bios permiting) that should increase the Instructions per clock why not test them in a few games. So we throw the 4/4 CPU in the mix.

Pull out the guns and blast them Mafiosi away with MAFIA II :



Mafia II slightly scales with raw processing power at the lower 1280 x 1024 resolution. At 1920 x 1080 high detail preset, there's hardly any difference between all the platforms. Logical as it's the GTX480 that can't keep up. Hardly any IPC gain, if any at all when running the FX-8150 at 4/4 cores. Ready for some zombie slashing ?



Frames per second are impressively different in this older Capcom game title. Benefitting heavily of the Intel architecture and it's raw processing power. The let's call them more refined AMD CPUs, still have more than enough power for a mega fluid game experience. At the maximum detail setting, the gaps get smaller, but it's no longer a secret that this game will render more FPS on an Intel based platform. As if your eyes could care less, as they can only spot 24FPS.



Capcoms Streetfighter IV, a Mortal Kombat I can push more buttons then you in a blink of an eye action game seems to use the new modules AMD CPU in a more efficient way. At the low resolution the FX CPU is ahead of the Gulftown and the 2500K. Weirdly enough the table turns when we up the resolution and detail level. Still a nice FPS advantage over the 1090T, yet the latter still manages to pump out more FPS then your brain can actually handle.




Lost Planet 2 was one of them you either love or hate it titles. Bringing nice DirectX11 to the gamers with incredible rendered monsters and landscapes. At the lowest tested resolution very small scaling, the Sandy Bridge based CPUs taking a nice lead. Similar outcome at the highest resolution, where the bottleneck is more graphics card orientated. Let's up the speed and go nuts in a Formula One car with Ubisofts latest sim title : Formula 1 2011.




Driving around the Monte Carlo track this game adores the current Intel CPU lineup. For the above test I used the timedemo, in game benchmark. Maybe not 100% accurate reflective for true performance, yet the raw cpu power is clearly visible. The FX CPU ain't bad at all, delivering plenty of FPS. Yet there are more affordable solutions out there, that do the same at a fraction of the cost.

Now two of AMD game titles :

Luckily Battlefield 3 arrived in due time for this follow up article. We ran the Swordbreaker mission and started Fraps once we stepped out of the armoured car, till the market place was completely cleaned of terrorists. The high detail preset was used for the single GPU tests at 1920 x 1080 resolution. We directly opted to go for possible daily overclocks to enhance the FX experience.



Battlefield 3 is on the AMDs preffered game title list. Meaning it's optimalised for it's new Bulldozer architecture. At 1920 x 1080 resolution all the platforms put out similar average FPS. Though with the minimum frames there's a nice boost over the previous Thuban CPUs.



Dirt 3 was tested with a ride at the Aspen track. A decent showing by the overclocked FX again, besting the more expensive Gulftown platform. The Sandybridge at a modest 4.5Ghz OC is just a tad better. All platforms scoring pretty close, lets increase the calculating power by overclocking the CPU and then adding a 2nd GPU...



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Comment from Teemto @ 2011/11/02
Always been a fan of AMD, but Bulldozer can only be described as one thing:
Epic fail.
Comment from cesariuth @ 2011/11/02
Why you test only benchmark??
some space for test soft of the real world?
Comment from jmke @ 2011/11/02
yes why not test games or compression software or rendering performance ?

ow wait... you did
Comment from leeghoofd @ 2011/11/02
First up Cesariuth I don't have resources to real rendering software, secondly it is not my interest at all and I find it already very time consuming enough. The test suite in it's current state will highlight most of the performance issues or not from a CPU/platform.

Like said in the two conclusions, this CPU can be good with specially designed software. But in most apps, and for sure with older applications it will not be up to the task to handle even the competition in it's own ranks...

Let's hope for AMD Piledriver will get a bigger boost then the expected 20% ... Piledriver will probably be what Bulldozer should have been from the start...
Comment from Teemto @ 2011/11/02
I seriously doubt it. Optimizations can help but to bridge the gap with Intel (on Sandy Bridge - not even talking about Sandy Bridge-E) they'd have to have made serious design error in the initial design which somehow has crippled performance and which can then be fixed.

But how realistic is that?

But it's not just the performance, the power consumption of this thing is also not up to current standards.

So either they:

Scrap everything and start working on an FX2 with real cores instead of modules. But I doubt they have the funds to do it.


Try to add a GPU to it and make a higher end APU? But that would've only worked if the FX power consumption had been ok.


Stop with trying to make high end CPU's and focus entirely on their current APU products.

Maybe start looking into some ARM products?
Comment from cesariuth @ 2011/11/02
Thanks leeghoofd for your answer, but I think that BD have more performance in the real test vs SB , or benchmark don’t say much of the real performance of this chip...
Benchmark is always benchmark...but this is my opinion I don’t know if this is the opinion of all.

I hope that Pelidriver optimize more than 20% or close to this.

Comment from leeghoofd @ 2011/11/02
I know a benchmark is a benchmark, but one of the main reasons that the initial article had this follow up was due to the "rigorous" testing by some highly acclaimed websites... How to show a CPU works well : put the GPU on it's knees and see how they all score the same... that's ridiculous in my book... it was clearly in the reviewers guide shown how we should have done it it. But them proposed tests setups just looked to be more chosen to make a mainstream product look great...

Real rendering software doesn't cut my budget mate, I also have got no experience in that department. I know Flanker is doing some tests with BD at Though as always take everything with a grain of salt... I think you will find him in the AMD section
Comment from Massman @ 2011/11/03
It's funny how it's really hard to find these so-called "real-world" applications. No one is using those, but apparently only those hard-to-find apps are the only ones that are showing the "true power" of Bulldozer.

Fyi, you guys might want to read this:
Comment from Teemto @ 2011/11/03
Seems there's others which are not afraid to tell the truth
Comment from WebNavi @ 2011/11/29
After the hectic week of testing this brand new 8 core CPU from Advanced Micro Design, it's time to go a bit deeper. In this review we are gonna retest the Bulldozer CPU versus it's main rivals. Being AMD's own Thuban 1090T, Intels 2600K and the almighty Gulftown 990X CPU.