Published in PC Hardware
AMD falls short with Bulldozer
by Slobodan Simic on12 October 2011
Intel still reigns supreme
AMD has officially lifted the NDA off its FX Series lineup of dekstop CPUs based on the 32nm manufacturing process and its new Bulldozer architecture. As official and full, in-depth, reviews have started to show up we can now get a clear picture of how fast the Bulldozer and the new FX-Series actually is. Unfortunately, things aren't looking well for AMD and the bottom line is that Intel still has an upper hand with its Sandy Bridge lineup.
As you already know, AMD launched a total of four FX Series CPUs, two octa-cores, one hexa and one quad-core CPU. The FX-8150, FX-8120, FX-6100 and FX-4100 are the part names for these four CPUs and the first number indicates the number of cores for a specific model. All four have 8MB of L3 cache, TDP ranging from 95 to 125W.
Today it looks like our sources were quite precise back when we wrote that Bulldozer is coming in mid-October and that performance isn't as good as expected. Most sites reviewed the flagship FX-8150 model, we'll start with that one. AMD is throwing its flagship model against Intel's Sandy Bridge flagship, the Core i7 2600K. Unfortunately, even the 2500K has an upper hand in some tests and games. Things get even worse if you compare the new FX-8150 to AMD previous flagship, the hexa-core Phenom II X6 1100T as even that CPU sometimes takes the lead.
Performance wise, if you compare the new FX to Intel, the latter scores a clear win, as the Sandy Bridge based Core i7 2600K is simply too much even for the flagship FX-8150, although we are talking about octa versus quad-core CPU. Price wise, the FX-8150 wins as currently it is priced at US $245 while Intel asks US $314.99 for its flagship. Of course, the more realistic comparison would be with Intel's Core i5 2500K CPU that sells for US $219.99 and that can beat the FX-8150 in some tests.
It's not all well in the power consumption department, either. Both the Core i5 2500K and the Core i7 2600K have lower idle and load power consumption and even AMD's Phenom II X6 1100T is better there.
The main concern regarding the FX Series is its lackluster performance in lightly threaded applications. This is due to the actual multi-core module design of the Bulldozer parts and AMD claims that Windows 7 just isn't that good for Bulldozer either and that Windows 8 will be much better with it. The Windows 7 OS scheduler doesn't know when to use single module or more modules for specific threads, claims AMD.
Of course, the FX Series lineup includes three more CPUs and it is never good to judge the entire lineup by a single CPU but we are yet to see some reviews of those other three CPUs. The guys from PCEkspert.com did a review of the FX-6100, a hexa-core Bulldozer and compared it to some AMD and Intel CPUs. The price of the FX-6100 stands at US $165, while Intel asks for US $179.99 for the Core i5 2300 model, so we are quite sure that AMD has an upper hand there. The quad-core FX-4100 might have a better chance as well and could offer nice bang for buck compare to Intel offerings.
Of course, bear in mind that Intel launched the 2500K and the 2600K back in January and won't sit back with its hands crossed. We are pretty sure that price cuts are coming from Intel and we can't forget that a new Core i7 2700K is en route as well.