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AMD's Bulldozer Architecture: Overclocking Efficiency Explored

Test System, Benchmarks, And Settings

Test System

Socket AM3 Platform
Socket AM3 PlatformAsus Crosshair V Formula (Rev. 1.0), Chipset: AMD 990FX, BIOS: 9905 (2011-10-03)
AM3+ ProcessorAMD FX-8150 (Bulldozer), 32 nm, 8C/8T, 3.6 GHz, 8 MB L2 Cache, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache, 125 W TDP, Turbo Core p-states: 3.9 and 4.2 GHz.
Common Platform Components
Dual-Channel DDR32 x 4 GB DDR3-1333, Kingston KHX1600C9D3K2/8GX
Discrete GraphicsAMD Radeon HD 6850, GPU: Cypress (775 MHz), Graphics RAM: 1024 MB GDDR5 (2000 MHz), Stream Processors: 960
System DriveSamsung PM810, 256 GB, SATA 3 Gb/s
Power SupplySeasonic X-760, SS-760KM Active PFC F3
System Software
Operating SystemWindows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
Drivers & Settings
AMD Radeon DriverATI Catalyst 11.8 Suite for Windows 7
Intel Chipset DriverChipset Installation Utility Ver. 9.2.0.1030
Intel Rapid StorageVer: 10.6.0.1002

Benchmarks and Settings

Audio Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarkDetails
iTunesVersion: 10.4.1.10 Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min. Convert to AAC audio format
Lame MP3Version 3.98.3 Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min convert wav to mp3 audio format Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
Video-Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarkDetails
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.95 Video: Big Buck Bunny (720x480, 23.972 frames) 5 Minutes Audio: Dolby Digital, 48 000 Hz, Six-Channel, English to Video: AVC1 Audio1: AC3 Audio2: AAC (High Profile)
MainConcept Reference v2.2Version: 2.2.0.5440 MPEG-2 to H.264 MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2) Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, Two-Channel, 16 Bit, 224 Kb/s) Codec: H.264 Pro Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS) Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Application Benchmarks & Settings
BenchmarkDetails
7-ZipVersion 9.22 beta LZMA2 Syntax "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5" Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
WinRARVersion 4.01 RAR Syntax "winrar a -r -m3" Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
WinZip 15.5 ProVersion 14.0 Pro (8652) WinZIP Commandline Version 3 ZIPX Syntax "-a -ez -p -r" Benchmark: 2010-THG-Workload
Autodesk 3ds Max 2012Version: 10 x64 Rendering Space Flyby Mentalray (SPECapc_3dsmax9) Frame: 248 Resolution: 1440 x 1080
Adobe After Effects CS 5.5Create Video which includes 3 Streams Frames: 210 Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously: on
Adobe Photoshop CS 5.1 (64-Bit)Version: 11 Filtering a 16 MB TIF (15000x7266) Filters: Radial Blur (Amount: 10; Method: zoom; Quality: good) Shape Blur (Radius: 46 px; custom shape: Trademark sysmbol) Median (Radius: 1px) Polar Coordinates (Rectangular to Polar)
Adobe Acrobat X ProfessionalVersion: 10.0.0 == Printing Preferences Menu == Default Settings: Standard == Adobe PDF Security - Edit Menu == Encrypt all documents (128 bit RC4) Open Password: 123 Permissions Password: 321
Microsoft PowerPoint 2010Version: 2007 SP2 PPT to PDF Powerpoint Document (115 Pages) Adobe PDF-Printer
BlenderVersion: 2.59 beta Syntax blender -b thg.blend -f 1 Resolution: 1920x1080 Anti-Aliasing: 8x Render: THG.blend frame 1
MatlabR2011a, Internal Benchmark: 10 runs

A single efficiency test run was comprised of the following applications, in the order listed:

Single-Threaded:

  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Winzip
  • iTunes
  • Lame

Multi-Threaded:

  • Blender
  • HandBrake
  • MainConcept
  • After Effects
  • Photoshop
  • Premiere
  • Matlab
  • 7-Zip
  • 3ds Max

  • aznshinobi
    Reading conclusion paragraph, I'd have to agree. I think they probably would've been better of using the STARS arch and just die shrinking it to 32nm.
    Reply
  • Darkerson
    I know I have been critical in my comments here and there, but I really do hope Bulldozer helps AMD learn and refine Piledriver and future CPUs so that they are all better as a result. I know I will be skipping BD, but that doesnt mean I dont ever want to use AMD again. I will always root for the underdog, in hopes that we have another Athlon 64 on our hands again.
    Reply
  • hellfire24
    gulftown=expensive and useless.
    Sandybridges=king of the hill(price to performance)
    Sandybridge-E=expensive sandybridge.
    Bulldozer=budget cpu with multitasking capabilities.
    Reply
  • deadon2
    Fehh... did my build on a 990fx platform with a 955be CPU. Runs plenty fast, and I can upgrade the AM3+ in a year when AMD gets it right.

    Although I appreciate the work done on this article...

    Nothing to see here folks, move along...
    Reply
  • dontcrosthestreams
    im just fine with my 110$ 955be.... 29 deg idle at 3.7ghz
    Reply
  • noob2222
    Is that a typo on page 7 and 8? "Clock Frequency: 4.5 GHz, Multiplier: 22.5x, CPU Voltage: 1.428 V" cpu-z shows 1.380? page 8 cpu z shows 1.44 and not 1.5.

    As for my own efficiency testing, I achieved 1.375V (cpu z), 4.4Ghz out of my 8120 with ease. I upped the NB to 1.115v (+.015V)wich added more stability and clocked the NB to 2600 to match HTT, wich brought another 1gb/s on sandra's memory test. All without disabling C1E or C3 states.

    Would be nice to see some followups with memory testing, BD responds to fast speeds. Hard to read since its in a different language but the graphs are easy enough to see
    http://www.planet3dnow.de/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=401023&garpg=13
    Reply
  • Tom's Hardware finds that overclocking increases speed, power requirements. Film at 11.
    Reply
  • de5_Roy
    yay! another efficiency article from toms. :love:
    sad to see amd's claims about efficiency turn out to be (much) less than accurate.
    some people are definitely gonna complain about the ram used (ddr3 1333) and windows 8 or lack of highly threaded benchmarks like truecrypt encryption or pov ray tracing (as if those are always used by regular users lol) and stuff.
    undervolting does look promising...but it doesn't seem to make any difference compared to sandy bridge systems. worse, bulldozer needs voltage increase to get more clockspeed.. i guess it will be more evident in fx 4100 and 6100 where substantial core voltage increase is necessary to get stock sandy bridge level performance out of them. that's just disappointing.
    Reply
  • memadmax
    It seems to me that Bulldozer is either a AMD bastard child chip, or it's a first gen chip of which subsequent generations of the architecture will be playing "catch up" performance wise. Otherwise, it's typical AMD trying to be efficient rather than a heavy hitter.

    But if you ask me, this is a "defensive" chip in the processor wars. And no war has been won playing defense.
    Reply
  • shinkueagle
    memadmaxIt seems to me that Bulldozer is either a AMD bastard child chip, or it's a first gen chip of which subsequent generations of the architecture will be playing "catch up" performance wise. Otherwise, it's typical AMD trying to be efficient rather than a heavy hitter.But if you ask me, this is a "defensive" chip in the processor wars. And no war has been won playing defense.
    Meaning this war is a TOTAL loss to AMD... SADLY... AMD - ABSURDLY MORONIC DEVICES.
    Reply