AMD Bulldozer Review: FX-8150 Gets Tested

Benchmark Results: Productivity

This OCR app’s ability to fully load processing cores is what allows the FX-8150 to take second place, in between the -2600K and -2500K.

Again, this is a best-case representation of what Zambezi can do, this time in a productivity-oriented title.

Especially on the desktop, though, parallelization isn’t ubiquitous. Poorly-threaded applications like Lame make it painfully clear that AMD lost a lot of per-cycle performance with Bulldozer. In this single-threaded test, FX-8150 is dithering at up to 4.2 GHz. And yet, it still loses to Intel’s old Core i7-920 at 2.93 GHz (that’s 2.66 GHz plus two Turbo Boost bins).

The same thing happens in WinZip 14, a completely different class of software, but also single-threaded. FX-8150 drops into last place as a result of its dismal IPC.

In sharp contrast, we know that WinRAR is threaded (albeit unable to fully tax a multi-core processor). Though AMD’s FX-8150 still winds up losing to Intel’s two Sandy Bridge-based processors, it fares much better, coming in ahead of the Core i7-920, Phenom II X6, and Phenom II X4.

7-Zip gives us an excellent third data point. Compared to WinZip (single-threaded) and WinRAR (threaded), 7-Zip pushes all cores to nearly 100% utilization, nearly letting FX-8150 catch up to Core i7-2600K and blowing Core i5-2500K out of the water. Thuban, Bloomfield, and Deneb are all outclassed as well.

At this point, we’ve seen enough benchmark results to gauge an application’s load based on how the FX-8150 finishes.

Exceptional per-cycle performance gives Intel’s Sandy Bridge architecture an insurmountable advantage in single- and lightly-threaded metrics. When we print a PowerPoint presentation to an Adobe PDF file, Zambezi falls to the rear of the pack.

Based on Zambezi’s placement in the chart above, you’d think that Visual Studio was single-threaded. Watching Windows’ task manager actually tells us that this workload spends most of its time with all cores at 100%.

Why does FX-8150 fare so poorly, then? Hard to say. The hierarchy after Intel’s Sandy Bridge-based chips would suggest that Visual Studio likes clock rate. Zambezi has plenty of that, but its IPC is bad enough to put it under Phenom II X4 and X6.

Compared to the previous page, lightly- or single-threaded apps are the Mr. Hyde in this story (intensive, heavily-threaded apps being our Dr. Jekyll). Whereas the value proposition of FX-8150 previously seemed reasonable, now AMD is asking us to accept a pretty significant performance compromise bound to make any enthusiast do a double-take.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
530 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • Homeboy2
    killerclickAs I said before, it won't come close to beating Intel in performance or price. Now let's hear the fanboys whine.


    Everyone should cry, even the Intel fanboys, this is bad news for everyone, now Intel has absolutely no incentive to lower prices or accelerate Ivy Bridge.
    55
  • jdwii
    Been so long and i'm kinda sad.
    52
  • gmcizzle
    What I learned: the 2.5 year old i7-920 is still a beast.
    48
  • Other Comments
  • btto
    yeah finaly, now i'll read it
    -25
  • ghnader hsmithot
    nOT Bad AMd!
    -35
  • jdwii
    Been so long and i'm kinda sad.
    52
  • compton
    Not many surprises but I've been waiting for a long, long time for this. I hope this is just the first step to a more competitive AMD.
    43
  • ghnader hsmithot
    At least its almost as good as Nehalem.
    29
  • gamerk316
    Dissapointing. Predicted it ages ago though. PII X6 is a better value.
    40
  • Anonymous
    As I expected - failure.
    26
  • AbdullahG
    I see the guys from the BD Rumors are here. As many others are, I'm disappointed.
    25
  • iam2thecrowe
    for the gaming community this is a FLOP.
    33
  • phump
    FX-4100 looks like a good alternative to the 955BE. Same price, higher clock, and lower power profile.
    25
  • phatbuddha79
    Why bring back the FX brand for something like this?
    40
  • gmcizzle
    What I learned: the 2.5 year old i7-920 is still a beast.
    48
  • jdwii
    This is sad, I'm still getting it as its my only option i'm getting a 8120 Toms why did you only review a 8150 when they have all of them on other sites?
    -25
  • ern88
    What I've learned is...AMD=FAIL!!!!!
    -31
  • killerclick
    As I said before, it won't come close to beating Intel in performance or price. Now let's hear the fanboys whine.

    Buh-bye AMD, buh-bye!
    -35
  • Ragnar-Kon
    Looks like solid chips, but I'll admit that the price point isn't low enough to compete in the gaming world with Intel.

    I am rather curious how the FX-4100 will stack up against the current Phenom II X4 chips.

    And even though the FX is a slight disappointment, I am rather impressed by the Windows 8 benchmarks. Having said that, by the time Windows 8 is ready for release I'm sure Intel will have an even better solution.
    25
  • Tamz_msc
    So Bulldozer is AMD's version of NetBurst?
    25
  • Homeboy2
    killerclickAs I said before, it won't come close to beating Intel in performance or price. Now let's hear the fanboys whine.


    Everyone should cry, even the Intel fanboys, this is bad news for everyone, now Intel has absolutely no incentive to lower prices or accelerate Ivy Bridge.
    55
  • killerclick
    homeboy2Everyone should cry, even the Intel fanboys, this is bad news for everyone, now Intel has absolutely no incentive to lower prices or accelerate Ivy Bridge.


    Intel shouldn't lower prices, they should raise them. I'll gladly pay more to reward competent product development and nothing would please me more than AMD going down in flames for all their flops in the past 5 years. Intel doesn't need AMD to push them forward.
    -36
  • the associate
    killerclickAs I said before, it won't come close to beating Intel in performance or price. Now let's hear the fanboys whine.


    Waaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

    Bah, well, been with AMD since my first pc like 8 years ago...Guess I'll be going intel for the first time ever especially since I can get an overkill cpu for just 300 bucks. Hell that's how much I payed for my phenom II 955...
    11