AMD launches FX "Bulldozer" desktop chips: Eight cores for $245

AMD launches FX "Bulldozer" desktop chips: Eight cores for $245

Summary: The long-awaited day for AMD fanboys has arrived. The chip company has finally released its first Bulldozer desktop processors under the FX series name, including a flagship eight-core CPU that's priced at just $245.

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The long-awaited day for AMD fanboys has arrived. The chip company has finally released its first Bulldozer desktop processors under the FX series name, including a flagship eight-core CPU that's priced at just $245.

Four FX processors are launching today, including a pair of eight-core chips, a six-core one, and a quad-core one. The octo-cores include the 3.6GHz FX-8150 for $245 and the 3.1GHz FX-8120 for $205, while the hexa-core chip is the 3.3GHz FX-6100 for $165. The quad-core FX-4100 runs at 3.6GHz and is priced at just $115. Each has a Turbo mode that lets it run even faster, and all are unlocked so overclockers can goose them to even higher clock speeds. In fact, the FX-8150 recently set a world record for the highest frequency for a CPU.

But how do the new chips compare to their Intel equivalents? According to Bulldozer reviews at AnandTech, HotHardware, and Tom's Hardware, it appears that the FX-8150 is no match for the Core i7-2600K on many benchmarks, though it performs more in line with i5-2500K, which runs around $220. While the Bulldozer chip handles multi-threaded benchmarks well, it suffers compared to Sandy Bridge processors on lightly threaded apps and even on power consumption, supposedly one of its strong suits.

So it seems that AMD hasn't delivered much of a knockout punch to Sandy Bridge, though enthusiasts will still be happy to have a more competitive alternative than the aging Phenom II processors. And real-world performance won't exactly mirror benchmark testing, so many buyers may still be happy with the FX series. However, Intel's Ivy Bridge chips are on the horizon, and they should reset the competitive landscape once again in a mere few months.

Are you planning to buy a new Bulldozer processor or a desktop with an FX CPU? Let us know your thoughts in the Talkback section.

Topics: Networking, Hardware, Processors

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Talkback

19 comments
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  • RE: AMD launches FX

    I had planed on buying the 8-core edition but after seeing the benchmarks on gaming, the 1100T is still a much better value. The power consumption over clocked for the 8 core is greater than anything on the market, which is bad, really bad. At this point in time I'm sticking with my Phenom 960 until results come in on the FX-4100 and 6100. Thanks AMD for the huge disappointment in Hype, what you have made is the new "gas hog" equivalent in processors.
    delaro
  • Waiting for Real benchmarks

    According to Bulldozer reviews at AnandTech, HotHardware, and Tom???s Hardware. They made up benchmarks. Did you use an Intel compiler on those benchmark application, cause intel purposely provides worst code possible if it detects AMD. Remember when intel came out with SSE instruction(1999) and intels CPU could vary in performance by more than 40 percent, cause some compilers didn't have new instructions yet, imagine if we benchmarked 2600K with code made back in 98. it would run like crap, well intel got sued by AMD for their vendor biased compilers and settled. You wanna pay for a team of R&D guys that make the cripple AMD code, go buy intel. I dont like people messin with what my CPU can do by messing with my software.
    AMD has 1866mhz RAM controller. Intels next CPU 2700K has 1333mhz RAM controller. 2700K will be released soon
    If you bought 2600K a few months ago, congrats. You might have been lucky and got a 2700K. but now intel will cherry pick best silicone from 2600K stock and put a bigger price tag labeled as 2700K. The better silicone will scale better and close slightly higher. So now 2600K is the worst 60 percent of CPU's that come off the line and the best 40 percent of silicone will be sold as 2700K.
    BTW there is always more fake benchmarks than real, there are many people who want you to believe AMD performance is lower than expected. I want a real benchmark with final silicone. Engineering samples aren't final silicone and there are many ways to screw up a benchmark.
    Intel has recalled CPU before for wrong calculations. the CPU was unstable cause intel stock clock speeds were too overclocked. Yes they said it was faster than it was and it made errors. Thats why you should never do critical jobs on an intel with an over clocking. AMD properly load their transistors to provide a modest stock clock speed. that means it will overclock a lot, and be stable. Intels fails aren't behind them. The chipsets for the sandy bridge line are all faulty and will eventually fail if you use SATA. After it corrupts any files you access. So you have to send Motherboard in and wait for a return or not use SATA. Intel had to know this glitch and still sent it to market so they could capitalize until AMD bulldozer release. They calculated the loss to fix was less than they would make by pushing it out anyways. And get to steal some market before BD.
    2600K? Look what they did to your high price set up, its junk and now you wont be able to use it for 2 months or more if you want to fix it.
    Vaporiz
    • RE: AMD launches FX

      @Vaporiz What load of crap, why don't you admit it. You're so disappointed with the performance of the flagship model of "Man With A shovel"
      j-mccurdy@...
  • RE: AMD launches FX

    Yeah and the synthetic benchmarks all say that the Core i7 860 I use at work should blow away the Phenom X4 965 I use at home but I find that not to be true. At the time both of these processors were in a similar price category with the AMD being a bit cheaper.

    If you compare the "benchmark" data on the sites even the data is not consistent. Just using one example like World of Warcraft Anandtech shows much higher frame rates for the Intel Chip over what Tom's Hardware shows. This is the problem with benchmarks. They are almost always staged and over inflated to favor the chip the person testing it prefers. I find that in real world performance the difference is negligible and most people do not even notice because by the time the processor even clocks up to full speed the processing task is done. So you may get a few FPS here and there or save a couple seconds here or there. Intel Wins some and AMD wins some. Big deal. All I know is using the i7 860 at work with 8GB ram and an ATI 5770 video compared to my Phenom X4 965 also with 8GB ram and an ATI 5770 Video the Phenom encodes HD Video faster and plays games better which are about the only two applications I use that will use a processor for an extended period of time.

    And actually the best thing I did for both my work and personal computer was add an SSD for the OS and programs drive. That did more for performance than any processor would.
    bobiroc
    • I do want to upgrade to a Phenom II X4 975; to compare with my i7 2600k cpu

      @bobiroc > Although my Athlon II X3 455 does great for web browsing it is not what my i7 2600k system can accomplish in games even with a better video card, HD 6870 compared with HD 6850. I don't think the bump to a Phenom II X4 975 would truly even be enough? But, the AMD fanboys think so.
      Rob T.
      • Depends on your definition of "enough".

        @Rob T.

        Even if you don't need additional cores, you'll get a bit of a bump in performance, due to:
        -- higher clock frequency: your Athlon II X3 455 cores run at 3.3GHz, while the Phenom II X4 975 cores run at 3.6GHz.
        -- L3 cache: your Athlon II X3 has no L3 cache, while the Phenom II X4 has an additional 6MB of level 3 cache memory.

        Note that I haven't mentioned cores. Unless you're running some super-high-tech game, or you also do a lot of video rendering in your spare time, going from 3 to 4 cores won't provide you a lot of extra oomph. Which is why you don't want to go to the 6-core versions: you'd have to spring for the 1100T just to keep the same frequency per core.
        spdragoo@...
      • Agreed. So with the FX-series here are a few bullets:

        @spdragoo... > Concluding my opinion on K10 I do like what I have and it is really good. So for FX-series what about:
        > Intel's boast to pack as many transitors as possible into a single chip to achieve their road map in supremecy ; how many transitors will FX have (was 758 million quad-core Phenom II X4)?
        > Modular design is merely the method in achieving what may be an excessive amount of L2 cache (8MB) shared between two "recognized" cores?
        > Four way data @ L1 cache may work fine in a sixteen core version of this processor design for servers using its quad-channel memory bus, but in single or dual channel configuration a FX-series may be unable to benefit from its own L3 cache for faster processing.
        Rob T.
      • Finding it a bit difficult to compare.

        @Rob T.

        The Bulldozers supposedly have 213 million per "module" (1 module holding 2 cores). However, while that is a couple of orders of magnitude higher than the i7 2600K, that total also includes the transistors for the 2MB of L2 cache. Unfortunately, I haven't found anything yet that says how many transistors the L2 cache takes, so we're not able to compare them yet.

        As for the L2 cache, it seems that the cache per module is only shared between the cores on that particular module. An improvement, to be sure (averaging 1MB per core vs. the 512kB on Phenom II).

        I think the biggest reason why they're seeing some problems in the benchmarks -- i.e. it outperforms the Phenom II in some tests, but underperforms in others -- is because of their decision to have 1 shared FPU per 2 integer cores. With the higher L1 & L2 caches, combined with similar or higher clock frequencies, you can expect some higher performance...as long as you're not hitting the FPU too hard. Once that sets in, it's looking like the extra caches aren't enough to overcome the FPU bottleneck.
        spdragoo@...
  • I wonder

    what the heat characteristics of this chip are...
    I haven't missed frying myself since using Atom netbooks, but this is a new performance index which is good for everyone in the market for such.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
    • RE: AMD launches FX

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate <br>Anand replied in comments to his <a href="http://www.anandtech.com/show/4955/the-bulldozer-review-amd-fx8150-tested/11">review</a>: "I'm going to be doing some more overclocking tomorrow, but I broke 300W at 4.7GHz :-/"
      Earthling2
  • RE: AMD launches FX

    Just went to my local MicroCenter and they don't have the 8150's in yet. Very upset, but theysaid they should be in Friday.
    Bates_
    • Don't think they're in yet

      @Bates_

      Just checked on their site for my local store. They have the quad 4100 & hexa-core 6100, but no octo-cores yet.
      spdragoo@...
  • This result is not unexpected. It's nonetheless disappointing though.

    AMD has been doing a lot of marketing research lately concerning branding. Apparently it was to offset their lack of engineering success. <br><br>AMD needs to do a lot better than this. It looks like AMD won't come close to topping Intel again for at least a generation or two. With all the reorganizing, manufacturing delays and what looks like iffy performance gains, they've fallen even further behind. Maybe we'll see some bargain-priced six-core Thubans until they run out. Since I'll need new motherboards anyway, for the foreseeable future it looks like my new custom builds will be based on Intel CPUs after being a loyal AMD user for 15+ years.
    djchandler
    • Depends on how much you want to spend.

      @djchandler

      At my local MicroCenter, the quad-core i7s run from $200 (i7-960, 3.2GHz) to $280 (i7-2600K, 3.4GHz), with their hexa-core i7-990X (3.46GHz) running a whopping $1000. Yeah, that's right: $1000 *just for the CPU*.

      In contrast, I can get a quad-core Phenom II for $60 (840, 3.2GHz) to $140 (970, 3.5GHz), or their hexa-core for $170 (1090T, 3.2GHz).

      Going quad-core, I save $140 by using an AMD chip; that's enough to make a major upgrade on, say, the video card I use, buy a couple of new PC games, maybe throw in an extra hard drive or 2, etc.

      Insanely, if you need hexa-core performance, for the price of the Intel system, you can almost build *two complete* AMD systems...or buy a laptop to go with your desktop PC. If that's not more "bang for your buck", I don't know what is.
      spdragoo@...
      • RE: AMD launches FX

        @spdragoo@... You are right, the AMD chips are cheaper but. They are cheaper for a reason, they are not of the same caliber. When I build a system for myself I like to keep it around for a long time. So I pay the extra money for the superior processor.When I build one for somebody else on a budget I use AMD. Intel is competitive for a longer time. An old Core 2 Quad is closer in performance to the much newer Phenom 2, at least if it's a better 12 MB cache model like a Q9550 or better clock for clock
        j-mccurdy@...
      • RE: AMD launches FX

        @j-mccurdy

        That's the thing, though. I don't run apps (including games) that will stress a dual-core, let alone a quad/hexa/octo-core chip; none of the games I've even considered buying require anything beyond a dual-core chip (let alone more cores); my primary PC uses right now are email/browsing, productivity (Office 2003), & streaming TV shows/movies (Netflix & Hulu), all of which will benefit more from extra RAM/harddrive space/better video card/faster Internet than from a faster CPU. Plus, USB 3.0 is more useful to me now than PCIe 3.0; AMD has the former, & Intel is _introducing_ the latter.

        For the extra $140 I save on an AMD processor, I can get additional performance that will really matter to *my* needs: memory, storage space, video card capability, & networking equipment. That makes AMD the better buy, at least for my situation.
        spdragoo@...
  • Consider this...

    CPU chipsets are planned and developed years before production. Most often the architectural designs are based on balancing cost of production versus performance versus heat generation versus power consumption. Some designs hit a home run, others not. The important thing to keep in mind is that the competition between AMD and Intel is what has given us the awesome CPU choices we have today. Otherwise, and most of you guys arent old enough to remember this, we would still be using Intel 8080A processors that would only be slightly faster now than they were back then.
    Tump
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