AMD Bulldozer Review: FX-8150 Gets Tested

Power Consumption

According to AMD, the decisions its architects made when they designed Bulldozer centered on maximizing efficiency. In a big multi-chip module like Interlagos, squeezing the most performance out of every core under a hard thermal limit just makes good sense. The question is whether the same scalable design is as efficient on the desktop as it promises to be in the server space.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ProcessorSystem Idle Power
AMD FX-8150 (Zambezi) 8C/8T, 3.6 GHz Base107 W
AMD Phenom II X6 1100T (Thuban) 6C/6T, 3.3 GHz Base114 W
AMD Phenom II X4 980 BE (Deneb) 4C/4T, 3.7 GHz100 W
Intel Core i7-2600K (Sandy Bridge) 4C/8T, 3.4 GHz Base90 W
Intel Core i5-2500K (Sandy Bridge) 4C/4T, 3.3 GHz Base90 W
Intel Core i7-920 (Bloomfield) 4C/8T, 2.66 GHz Base130 W

At idle, the system armed with AMD’s 125 W FX-8150 sips 107 W—less than the Phenom II X6 1100T, but just slightly more than the Phenom II X4 980 (both of which are also 125 W parts). Only Intel’s Bloomfield-based Core i7-920 consumes more (130 W system power).

In contrast, though, the two systems armed with Sandy Bridge-based parts drop to just 90 W (their 95 W TDPs are already 30 W under Zambezi’s thermal ceiling).

I pulled the Phenom II X4, Core i7-920, and Core i5-2500K runs off of this graph because they cluttered it up way too much. The three chips left are, in my opinion, the most relevant.

The black line corresponds to Intel’s 95 W Core i7-2600K, which averages 155 W system power use throughout a complete run of PCMark 7. Before you mention that the Core i5-2500K is closer, price-wise, to the FX-8150, know that it averages just two watts less than the -2600K, at 153 W across the entire run. Imagine that its plot would look almost identical.

The FX-8150, in comparison, averages 191 W. That 34 W delta almost exactly correlates to the 30 W separating Intel’s 95 W rating and AMD’s 125 W TDP. Even more interestingly, the Phenom II X6 1100T hits the same 191 W system average across PCMark 7. Meanwhile, the Phenom II X4 980 averages 184 W.

Intel’s Core i7-920 stands out as the one model to use more power than AMD’s new flagship. A 193 W average consumption number is 2 W higher, which we’d consider reasonable given a 5 W-higher TDP.

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • btto
    yeah finaly, now i'll read it
  • ghnader hsmithot
    nOT Bad AMd!
  • jdwii
    Been so long and i'm kinda sad.
  • 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.
  • ghnader hsmithot
    At least its almost as good as Nehalem.
  • gamerk316
    Dissapointing. Predicted it ages ago though. PII X6 is a better value.
  • As I expected - failure.
  • AbdullahG
    I see the guys from the BD Rumors are here. As many others are, I'm disappointed.
  • iam2thecrowe
    for the gaming community this is a FLOP.
  • phump
    FX-4100 looks like a good alternative to the 955BE. Same price, higher clock, and lower power profile.