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Does Windows 8 Help Improve Bulldozer's Performance?

Windows 8: Does AMD's Bulldozer Architecture Benefit?
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One of Microsoft's Windows 7 hotfixes alters the behavior of Core Parking, preventing AMD's Bulldozer modules from entering a C6 sleep state as often. Applying that patch has a quantifiable impact on power consumption, which, in turn, negatively affects the efficiency of FX-8150. In Windows 8, that efficiency conundrum is largely resolved, bringing power use back down to the level of Windows 7 with all automatic updates applied. 

But how does the performance story shake out? After all, everyone who bought a Bulldozer-based CPU (and anyone now in the market for a Piledriver-based FX) is hoping for sizable gains.

Our testing shows that the FX-8150’s performance doesn't change much at all in the shift from Windows 7 to Windows 8. 

The last time we looked at the impact of Microsoft's hotfixes was almost a year ago. In today's comparison, our baseline Windows 7 machine is loaded with a lot more patches from Windows Update, and they cumulatively seem to have a larger impact than the two manually-installed tweaks specific to AMD's Bulldozer architecture. In fact, overall performance is better without the hotfixes applied.

Installing Windows 8 does translate to slightly faster benchmark numbers, and without the power spike. But Microsoft's latest certainly cannot be expected to uncork results that many enthusiasts were hoping might have been bottled up by a poorly-optimized operating system. The onus for fixing Bulldozer was clearly on AMD, and we saw the company take a first step toward that goal with its Piledriver-based FX parts. 

AMD told us not to expect any additional performance from FX-8350 prior to our review. But now that we know Microsoft plans to roll out performance- and power-altering updates to Windows 8 right away, rather than waiting for a service pack, there's renewed hope for even a small nudge forward.

Then again, software fixes for hardware problems are only viable when software was the problem originally. I remember once telling a programmer that his computer had a bad memory module. Rather than swapping it out, he charged in with determination to create a software-based solution. Had he identified the bad memory cells and kept his system from accessing them, he might have enjoyed about as much success as AMD waiting for Windows 8.

I eventually talked the programmer into fixing the hardware problem, rather than doggedly looking for a never-quite-finished software solution. AMD, do you see where I’m going with this?

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Top Comments
  • 40 Hide
    boogien8 , October 31, 2012 5:05 AM
    LOL awesome! the last line of this review is epic!
  • 25 Hide
    Crashman , October 31, 2012 5:36 AM
    boogien8LOL awesome! the last line of this review is epic!
    That last line is the result of AMD creating unrealistic expectations for Windows 8. Things have gotten somewhat better for AMD since Piledriver launched, it's too bad that this article was written before that launch :) 
  • 23 Hide
    DjEaZy , October 31, 2012 5:08 AM
    ... gonna get me a FX 8350 anyway... it's cheep as dirt and i have the platform...
Other Comments
  • 17 Hide
    agnickolov , October 31, 2012 5:03 AM
    Of particular interest to me is that compilation with Visual Studio does slow down a bit on Windows 8. Not what the story was about, but still a valuable tidbit...
  • 40 Hide
    boogien8 , October 31, 2012 5:05 AM
    LOL awesome! the last line of this review is epic!
  • 8 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , October 31, 2012 5:07 AM
    O MY GOD ! 2% win for AMD ! I knew Win8 would be the holy grail of BD/PD.

    /s
  • 23 Hide
    DjEaZy , October 31, 2012 5:08 AM
    ... gonna get me a FX 8350 anyway... it's cheep as dirt and i have the platform...
  • 25 Hide
    Crashman , October 31, 2012 5:36 AM
    boogien8LOL awesome! the last line of this review is epic!
    That last line is the result of AMD creating unrealistic expectations for Windows 8. Things have gotten somewhat better for AMD since Piledriver launched, it's too bad that this article was written before that launch :) 
  • -6 Hide
    amuffin , October 31, 2012 5:47 AM
    !Hype!
  • 7 Hide
    silverblue , October 31, 2012 6:14 AM
    I wouldn't mind seeing if, with Windows 8 and the 8350, hardware can take full advantage of the software instead of the other way around. I was a little dubious about blaming Microsoft in the first place - this isn't quite the Vista scheduler and Phenom all over again.

    Good article. :)  It does seem that the patches create more problems than they solve, so I'd be inclined to ignore them if I had an FX on Windows 7.
  • -5 Hide
    esrever , October 31, 2012 6:42 AM
    Nice to see this finally tested, looks like the performance boost isn't significant enough to matter but at least there is a 1% increase. AMD can use all the minor performance boost they can get at this point.
  • 4 Hide
    belardo , October 31, 2012 6:45 AM
    Throw in the Intel i5-3550 and 3570K CPUs with Win7 and Win8 and see what the numbers say... wouldn't that be fair to see the difference as well?

    DjEaZy... gonna get me a FX 8350 anyway... it's cheep as dirt and i have the platform...
    Yeah, if you already have the board and memory, its mostly logical. But for someone going for a rebuild... it is not, especially if you live near a Microcenter.

    I paid $190 for my i5-3570K CPU, $90 for my Z77 gigabyte motherboard which out-does AMD 900 Series boards. Z77 have native USB 3.0, SATA 3.0, PCIe 3.0... AMD doesn't have PCIe 3.0 until 2014. And unless you get an A-Series CPU, you don't have native USB 3.0 either.

    This, an AMD boards are a bit more costly and more complicated.

    The OTHER AMD problem is that they are packaging clean CPU coolers with their CPUs... they are loud!! So add $25 for a good replacement. The extra costs for electricity doesn't help.

  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , October 31, 2012 6:48 AM
    Quote:
    Nice to see this finally tested, looks like the performance boost isn't significant enough to matter but at least there is a 1% increase. AMD can use all the minor performance boost they can get at this point.

    The Emperor's New Clothes
  • 10 Hide
    ohim , October 31, 2012 6:55 AM
    belardoThrow in the Intel i5-3550 and 3570K CPUs with Win7 and Win8 and see what the numbers say... wouldn't that be fair to see the difference as well? Yeah, if you already have the board and memory, its mostly logical. But for someone going for a rebuild... it is not, especially if you live near a Microcenter.I paid $190 for my i5-3570K CPU, $90 for my Z77 gigabyte motherboard which out-does AMD 900 Series boards. Z77 have native USB 3.0, SATA 3.0, PCIe 3.0... AMD doesn't have PCIe 3.0 until 2014. And unless you get an A-Series CPU, you don't have native USB 3.0 either.This, an AMD boards are a bit more costly and more complicated.The OTHER AMD problem is that they are packaging clean CPU coolers with their CPUs... they are loud!! So add $25 for a good replacement. The extra costs for electricity doesn't help.

    USB 3.0 might make a choice difference but for now PCIe 3.0 makes no difference.
  • 7 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , October 31, 2012 7:10 AM
    what i see shows that Windows 8 has no advantage over Windows 7 with applications, which is another reason to add to the other reasons why i'm not upgrading to Windows 8.
  • 7 Hide
    qbsinfo , October 31, 2012 7:21 AM

    :lol: 

    Is anyone going to tell AMD they need to start over?

    Any patching or hot fixes is the same as giving someone who is crippled a pair of crutches. And as the article pointed out; it is asinine to expect software to fix a hardware problem. If you think it should or can, then you are not qualified to give an opinion.

    Just calling it the way I see it.
  • 16 Hide
    vitornob , October 31, 2012 8:15 AM
    I remember AMD claiming their cpus are ahead of time. Then some W7 updates was necessary. Then more softwares need update. Then we need piledriver. Then need W8. Now need W8 power-altering updates. All that to make the cpu work properly?
    I'm really uncomfortably with that.
  • 10 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , October 31, 2012 8:47 AM
    ohimwhy did you even upgrade from windows 98 ? windows XP didn`t had any real advantage over it at start ? or from XP to 7 ? And this topic is about something else , is not call "the reasons why StellCity1981 doesn`t want to upgrade to windows 8, we really don`t care.


    Obv you cared enough to respond. lol

    Um lets see for starters nothing supports windows 98 anymore and the fact that windows 98 can't use anything beyond 512mb let alone take advantage of multiple cores, USB 3.0 DirectX 11 and pci-e. I mean that should have been a no brainer question.

    Windows XP can't take advantage of directX 11 and its 64bit support is weak at best not to mention Windows XP can't take full advantage of multiple cores and XP's support is being phased out etc..

    Does that answer all your ignorant questions?


  • -3 Hide
    refillable , October 31, 2012 8:56 AM
    Quote:
    Throw in the Intel i5-3550 and 3570K CPUs with Win7 and Win8 and see what the numbers say... wouldn't that be fair to see the difference as well?

    Yeah, if you already have the board and memory, its mostly logical. But for someone going for a rebuild... it is not, especially if you live near a Microcenter.

    I paid $190 for my i5-3570K CPU, $90 for my Z77 gigabyte motherboard which out-does AMD 900 Series boards. Z77 have native USB 3.0, SATA 3.0, PCIe 3.0... AMD doesn't have PCIe 3.0 until 2014. And unless you get an A-Series CPU, you don't have native USB 3.0 either.

    This, an AMD boards are a bit more costly and more complicated.

    The OTHER AMD problem is that they are packaging clean CPU coolers with their CPUs... they are loud!! So add $25 for a good replacement. The extra costs for electricity doesn't help.


    I disagree. Generally, yes, an i5-3570k platform is better to make a new build, Especially for a gamer who paid expensively for their electricity. But not if you want to build a workstation, has exclusively ~$200 for a CPU which can render fast and you don't really care about power and noise. I could recommend easily the PD for that user.

    Perhaps a 3570k is $190 and Z77 is $90 in microcenter. But who knows that a 8350 can be lower than that or a 970 chipset can be lower. Native USB 3.0 and SATA 3.0 is not important, a ~$100 M5A97 R2 has that with an aftermarket controller. PCI-E 3.0 isn't either, because no 3.0 card will be bottlenecked by a 2.0 slot. AMD board are not more complicated and costly, this has been proved by the M5A97 R2. Yes, they have loud coolers, they are not suitable for overclocks but intel stock are not suitable too. It doesn't matter if you don't care of noise.
  • 2 Hide
    vitornob , October 31, 2012 9:04 AM
    The_Trutherizer"I eventually talked the programmer into fixing the hardware problem, rather than doggedly looking for a never-quite-finished software solution. AMD, do you see where I’m going with this?"Then how do you explain the remarkable performance increase with OpenCL compression? Sometimes the software has to meet the hardware halfway.


    Maybe the software met the software?
    OpenCL compression might just work better in W8, using whatever cpu, intel or AMD. Can confirm only after see intel cpus comparative, W7 vs W8. If intel cpus are the same using both OS, so point to AMD. If not... well, you know...
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