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My personal thoughts on Bulldozer

post #1 of 62
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To start off:
This thread contains my OPINIONS, based off what we've all seen. Any views and opinions that I make are just that, opinions, not fact. Please treat them as such. If you wish to quote me (I've seen a few of you do this already), fine. Just site your source please, so that things don't get pulled out of context. If you have any questions for me, go for it. If you wish to yell or flame me, shoot me a PM. I don't care. My PM box is always open (for everybody), as are my messengers.

What we've all seen:
The benchmarks. Oh wow, those benchmarks. Pretty bad, right? Extremely high (almost unrealistic) power consumption, low performance in just about everything except highly threaded applications, even the Phenom II is beating it clock for clock. Pretty sad day indeed right?

My thoughts on the benchmarks?
Something's wrong with them. It's just not adding up. We've heard rumors of a possible L1 cache bug, where the data gets corrupt, and gets resent. Now, this could very easily be part of the high power, and low performance problem we're seeing. Sounds to me like a software fix (BIOS and / or MS patch).

Another problem that I'm seeing, is that it seems Bulldozer is kind of ahead of its time, but in a bad way this time (I'm remembering Athlon64 and how it was ahead of its time). This shared module concept is a great idea. It's just not appearing to be implemented properly.

Which brings me to another point. There's been some testing at XS by one member, that shows significant improvements by limiting the FX 8150 down to a 4 core / 4 module design. In these instances, its beating Phenom II quads (supposedly), and its allowing for even higher overclocks (possible fix to the power consumption as well?).

I'm hoping to see some more results, with a LOT more information come in the next few weeks. And I'm hoping you early adopters might join up for all of us here at OCN, and do some thorough benchmarking (with all current BIOS / MS patches), and see if we can find a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.

My advice:
1) What if I've already bought Bulldozer, and all the right gear for it?

I'd say benchmark it VERY thoroughly, and share it with all of OCN. Limit those cores down to one per module too. Let's see what OCN can do with these monsters. Remember to fully update everything before doing any benchmarking though (just to be safe and rule that out). Somebody in this situation probably already knows the risk of buying a brand new architecture (especially after those reviews). Or they could actually have a proper use for it, where Bulldozer would actually benefit them.

2) What if I already have a 9x0 motherboard, and I've been waiting?

I say wait another few weeks, and see what happens with real overclockers, and see what they can do with it. See if its just a simple BIOS fix, or operating system patch. Or maybe see if limiting it to one core per module helps it a lot. You've already waited this long, whats another few weeks? It sucks, yes....but its better than blowing your spending funds on Intel, and finding out Bulldozer does well after its fixed. Intel will always be there to take your money, the Sandy Bridge platform isn't going anywhere for a while.

Or, if you've been stuck on a single core such as a Sempron for a while, and you're just looking for an absolutely SOLID bang for your buck CPU upgrade to hold you out for a while, till FX is ironed out, grab a 960T and overclock the snot out of it. Some will even unlock to a x6 Thuban.

3) What if I've been holding off on a full platform upgrade (something older)?

See above. There's also "the dark side" (Intel). Nobody is forcing you to go one way or the other, except you. If I were on the fence right now, I'd be waiting to see what others can actually get it to do.

4) What if I've already jumped ship over to Intel, and sold off my AMD gear?

Great for you. You're in the same boat I'm in. Nothing wrong with it, so don't feel ashamed. Just don't beat yourself up over it if Bulldozer does get fixed in the next few weeks. Remember, there's nothing wrong with owning one platform over the other.

5) "Well you own Intel, so your opinion doesn't matter"

Keep in mind, that a LOT of us here at OCN, aren't brand "fanboys". Yes, there's quite a few of them out there. However there's a lot of us that choose our upgrades based off price / performance. Take myself as an example. Back in January / February (forget dates), I originally bought a 1090T with a Biostar 890FXE, and 4GB of DDR3 to go with it as my upgrade. I then had to send my entire order back after finding out that the i5 beat the 1090T and was cheaper. I sent the whole setup back, bought the i5 setup with a Biostar TP67XE, and 8GB (double the RAM) of DDR3 with it. And guess what? I ended up with better performance than I would have had, and $20 extra in my pocket.

_________________________________

All I'm saying, is that it'd be smarter (in my opinion), to see what REAL overclockers and hardware tweakers can achieve with this new architecture, before basing your own money on it. It could be a simple software fix, it could be a flop. The next few weeks will tell. Now, I'm not saying that these potential software fixes will make Bulldozer a Sandy Bridge killer, because they likely won't. But it SHOULD bring Bulldozer at least up to the levels of being a viable alternative chip, instead of a complete dud.

If you've made it through this entire post, good for you. Just please remember, that this is all my personal opinion. Me, and only me. None of this should be taken as fact, because its not. I don't have anything AMD at the moment, I don't hold AMD stocks, I don't work for AMD. I'm just a member of OCN, same as the rest of you. Only difference is that I hold a banhammer.

Now please, let's have a civil discussion about this. I'm honestly REALLY tired of seeing the bickering about Bulldozer. It gets old very quickly.
Edited by pioneerisloud - 10/17/11 at 12:37am
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post #2 of 62
Let me ask you something...
How was the TLB cache fixed with Barcelona?
A new stepping.
The software fix actually slowed the CPU down.

Not saying that's the exact case right now, just saying don't hold your breath.

BTW, I'm getting a 8120 or 8150 for testing purposes.
I like new hardware no matter the side.
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post #3 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evil Penguin View Post
Let me ask you something...
How was the TLB cache fixed with Barcelona?
A new stepping.
The software fix actually slowed the CPU down.

Not saying that's the exact case right now, just saying don't hold your breath.
Very very true. But you didn't read my entire thoughts.

You are right though. Phenom 9600 (and variants of it) were relatively poor. They weren't THIS bad though (as Bulldozer). Phenom x4's were basically a K8 quad core. Even the new stepping (Phenom x4 9x50's), were still just basically a K8 quad core performance wise. But they clocked a LOT further (3.0GHz upwards of 3.6GHz stable). And that was a pretty huge feat back in the day, since K8 topped out around 3.0GHz give or take.

Thing is though.... Phenom x4's didn't take an entire step backwards (and then some) with performance. They were as good or better than K8 was (as good in single threaded, a LOT better in multi threaded obviously).
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post #4 of 62
Right now all we can hope for is that AMD fixes whatever bottleneck caused by bugs (if any).
I honestly think yields are not too good right now.
Look at the immense leakage at higher clock speeds/voltage.
The 8150 costs 50 more dollars or so more than the 8120.
Why?
8150 has less leakage.
But I guess the variances in functioning oct-cores was so much that they had to create two different SKUs at launch. They simply couldn't pull off making nothing but 8150s (as far as oct-cores go).
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post #5 of 62
Exactly my thoughts!!

There must be something wrong with BD
I am thinking something to do with software
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post #6 of 62
Quote:
Which brings me to another point. There's been some testing at XS by one member, that shows significant improvements by limiting the FX 8150 down to a 4 core / 4 module design. In these instances, its beating Phenom II quads (supposedly), and its allowing for even higher overclocks (possible fix to the power consumption as well?).
This is something I think should be given more credit and thought. Think about it. If they revamped the way this processor was designed and built, ahead of its time as I would agree. Then benching it with the current means won't add up, but I still would've prefered that AMD give us something that looks good both now and later.
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post #7 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by pioneerisloud View Post
My thoughts on the benchmarks?
Something's wrong with them. It's just not adding up. We've heard rumors of a possible L1 cache bug, where the data gets corrupt, and gets resent. Now, this could very easily be part of the high power, and low performance problem we're seeing. Sounds to me like a software fix (BIOS and / or MS patch).
That makes it sound like AMD hasn't known what the benchmarks have looked like internally going on years now and the chip is being exposed to the outside world of testing and benches for the first time. The opposite is true which explains the perpetual delays while they looked for a miracle.

A discrepancy in one or two benches, we could call it a fluke. Five or six benches, maybe a patch or optimization is needed somewhere. 30 or 40 or 50 different bad benches is a disaster.. that's layoffs after not recouping R&D costs and selling the part for cents on the dollar to subsidize them off of shelves.

Three words: They've had years.
Edited by odditory - 10/13/11 at 3:08am
post #8 of 62
here's to hoping that the 4C/4M approach somewhat turn the tables on this flop!

and also hope that AMD brings out an AMD overdrive update that allows us to build profiles to switch between 8C/4M>OC to 4C/4M>>>OC automatically to suit the task at hand without having to go to the BIOS..

this would be best case scenario!

BTW before people even think about bashing me for an AMD fanboy know this:
- I am not upgrading now, neither to AMD nor intel
- I own the AMD rig in my sig, and it served we well for the past 3 years and at least 1 more to come
- I also have a Sandy Bridge/Nvidia machine -> no bias!
Just wishfull thinking!
Edited by omninmo - 10/13/11 at 3:05am
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post #9 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evil Penguin View Post
Right now all we can hope for is that AMD fixes whatever bottleneck caused by bugs (if any).
I honestly think yields are not too good right now.
Look at the immense leakage at higher clock speeds/voltage.
The 8150 costs 50 more dollars or so more than the 8120.
Why?
8150 has less leakage.
But I guess the variances in functioning oct-cores was so much that they had to create two different SKUs at launch. They simply couldn't pull off making nothing but 8150s (as far as oct-cores go).
To be fair, anything is fully possible right now. Bulldozer could be a complete and utter dud, and we may never see anything better come of it. However it could be fixable.

Yet again, you are correct though. The FX8120 is obviously higher leakage than the 8150 is (at least the majority). That's the way things have always been though.
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post #10 of 62
Imaginary rep+ for pioneerisloud. My thought exactly. And you did it even without cussing.
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Overclock.net › Forums › AMD › AMD CPUs › My personal thoughts on Bulldozer