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Windows 8: Does AMD's Bulldozer Architecture Benefit?

Platform And Benchmark Configuration

Test System Configuration
CPUAMD FX-8150 (Bulldozer): 3.60 GHz, 2 MB L2 Cache Per Module, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache, Socket AM3+
CPU CoolerSunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer w/Zalman ZM-STG1 Paste
MotherboardAsus Sabertooth 990FX, BIOS 1304 (07/20/2012)
RAMKingston KHX1600C9D3K2/8GX: 8 GB DDR3-1600 CAS 9-9-9-27
GraphicsAMD Radeon HD 6950 2 GB: 800 MHz GPU, GDDR5-5000
Hard DriveSamsung 470 Series MZ5PA256HMDR, 256 GB SSD
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerSeasonic X760 SS-760KM: ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1, Windows 8 RTM
GraphicsAMD Catalyst 12.8
ChipsetAMD Platform Driver 3.0.825.0

We tested Windows 7 in two ways: first with Windows Update patches applied through August 2012, and then after adding Microsoft's hotfixes released shortly after Bulldozer's introduction. Those patches have to be installed manually, so our combination of configurations should demonstrate whether any automatic updates affect performance.

Carried over from our previous exploration of post-patch performance, Asus’ award-winning Sabertooth 990FX gets yet another firmware upgrade before participating in today’s tests.

We're throwing our full content creation and productivity benchmark suites, plus a few games, into testing the FX-8150. Heavily-threaded applications should demonstrate fairly similar performance between all three Windows configurations, since full utilization doesn't leave much room to improve scheduling. Programs that use fewer than eight threads are expected to enjoy the biggest boost from Microsoft's optimizations.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Battlefield 3Campaign Mode, "Going Hunting" 90-second Fraps Test Set 1: Medium Quality Defaults (No AA, 4x AF) Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Defaults (4x AA, 16x AF)
DiRT ShowdownV1.0.0.0, In-Game Benchmark Test Set 1: Medium Quality Preset, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
SkyrimUpdate 1.5.26, Celedon Aethirborn Level 6, 25-seconds Fraps Test Set 1: DX11, Medium Details Defaults Test Set 2: DX11, Ultra-High Details Defaults
Adoby Creative Suite
Adobe Photoshop CS6 (64-bit)Version 13 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Adobe After Effects CS 6Version: CS5.5: Tom's Hardware Workload, SD project with three picture-in-picture streams, source video at 720p, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously
Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5Video length 2 m 21s, Export to H.264 Blu-ray Source 960x720, Output 1280x720
Adobe Acrobat X ProfessionalV10.0.0, PDF Creation from PowerPoint 2010 Presentation (3.6 MB)
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion x64: Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minutes, default AAC 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)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.9.8, Video: Video from Canon EOS 7D (1920x1080, 25 frames) 1 Minutes 22 Seconds, Audio: PCM-S16, 48 000 Hz, Two-Channel, to Video: AVC1 Audio: AAC (High Profile)
MainConcept ReferenceVersion: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), 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
BlenderVersion: 2.62: Syntax blender -b thg.blend -f 1, Resolution: 1920x1080, Anti-Aliasing: 8x, Render: THG.blend frame 1, Cycles renderer and internal tile renderer (9x9)
Visual Studio 2010Compile Chrome project (1/31/2012) with /build Release
Autodesk 3ds Max 2012V14.1.0.328 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, Frame 248, 1440x1080
WinZipVersion 16.5 Pro: THG-Workload (1.30 GB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion THG-Workload (1.30 GB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.28: THG-Workload (1.30 GB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
ABBYY FineReaderVersion Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.