AMD Bulldozer Review: FX-8150 Gets Tested

Per-Core Performance

There’s a really good reason why, when we benchmark a processor in a real-world application, the results are often very different from other tests. Explaining why requires breaking down performance in a more understandable way. A processor’s per-core potential is defined by the number of instructions it can execute per cycle and its clock rate.

We can isolate IPC, to a certain extent, by comparing various architectures at the same clock rate using applications designed to run in a single thread. That’s exactly what I did in Intel’s Second-Gen Core CPUs: The Sandy Bridge Review to determine just how much Intel improved the IPC rate of Sandy Bridge.

With its Bulldozer architecture, AMD's architects say it was their goal to “hold the line” on IPC and create hardware that’d scale to much higher frequencies. Given what we already know about the FX-8150's specifications, significantly higher frequencies aren’t being realized today, so before we even run any benchmarks, we have to assume similar IPC throughput, fairly comparable clocks, and then cross our fingers for better scaling across multiple cores if Bulldozer has any hope at all of outperforming the 3.7 GHz Phenom II X4 980 or Turbo Core-equipped Phenom II X6 1100T.

With a Core i7-2600K (Hyper-Threading, SpeedStep, and Turbo Boost all disabled), Phenom II X6 (Cool’n’Quiet and Turbo Core disabled), and FX-8150 (Cool’n’Quiet and Turbo Core disabled) all running our single-threaded iTunes test at an even 3.3 GHz, we see that Intel gets significantly more work done per cycle than the Phenom II X6 1100T, which in turns outperforms the FX. We see the same outcome in Lame, another single-threaded test.

John Fruehe, director of product marketing for server products at AMD, says he doesn’t like the performance per core comparison on the server side because it knowingly favors Intel. I’d absolutely agree that, in the server world, John's view is correct. Performance per watt and performance per dollar are both more pressing metrics in that space. On the desktop, however, enough workloads are still single- and lightly-threaded that per-core performance matters (even more so when the results of that measurement step backward, generationally).

Early on, then, we already have an idea of where the Bulldozer architecture might trip up...

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    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?
    24
  • 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.
    -35
  • 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