AMD Bulldozer platform review‎


A new processor is available

Would you trade an Intel Sandy Bridge on an AMD Bulldozer? This is the question.

AMD has had some glory and fame in the past, but they never were part of the top-notch processor manufacturers, like Intel for example. They strive though, and we really appreciate it. Recently they came up with the Bulldozer, an eight-cored processor with overclocking potential, but we are not sure that it will erase the company’s past so easily.

Eight cores CPU

The AMD Bulldozer is promising more speed and support for those applications that need multi-core processors, which the AMD has. Eight, to be more specific. However, the cost for this high performance is power consumption, which is exactly what top-tier processor manufacturing companies are trying to avoid. Why would then AMD do the opposite?

The Bulldozer’s architecture is full of new technologies, including the AMD’s Turbo Core. On the Bulldozer, Turbo Core will increase the clock frequency by 500 MHz for all in-use cores, as far as the TD headroom allows it. This means that if all cores are in use, they will all be boosted up.

The new chipset also has the name “FX” and is based on the new AM3+ socket.AMD-bulldozer-processor

Support for XOP and FMA4 instructions

Among other enhancements, the Bulldozer has support now for Intel’s Advanced Vector Extentions instruction set, including AES instructions. These improve the hardware-accelerated encryption and floating point performance, meaning better video, photo and financial applications processing tasks.

Another improvement that we’ve seen in the test performed for this review is brought to the Bulldozer which Intel already had is its support for XOP and FMA4 instructions, which are designed to increase performance in the complex mathematical operations.

Native DDR3-1866 memory support

AMD has introduced a new architecture technique, called module. Each FX processor can be made up of one to four modules. For example, if the Bulldozer is a dual-core it will have a single module, if it is a quad-core it will have two modules and if it is an octo-core it will have four modules. Each module will feature 128-bit FMACs , two dedicated integer cores and multiple modules will share an L3 cache and Advanced Dual-Channel Memory Sub- System.AMD-Bulldozer-schematic

Memory controller has been updated also, featuring native DDR3-1866 memory support and Dual Channel DDR3 integrated memory controller for desktops and Quad Channel DDR3 Integrated Memory Controller for Servers or Workstations.

Air cooled or water cooled

As for the utility of the improvements in test, no software can now utilize the new features. This has happened before, so it is no surprise, but it has to pass some time in order for programmers to make the necessary updates that will recognize the new instructions. Using the Bulldozer now won’t show it maximum powers, except the Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 SP1 and Open64 v4.2.5.2 which are ready to support the new FX processors.

AMD’s reference board for the Bulldozer is the Asus Crosshai V Formula motherboard.

The AMD Bulldozer can be either air cooled or water cooled, each having a different price tag.

What you have to bear in mind about this processor is that it will have a good gaming performance; it is cheaper than Intel’s Sandy Bridge CPU and has impressive overclocking abilities.

Designed for future

We salute AMD for their struggle over the past few years to come up with a respectable processor, trying thus to compete with Intel, again. This is a different kind of processor though, designed for future software enhancements. Once software patches start to be created, this will no longer be a problem.

At the end of our review we can conclude that the AMD Bulldozer is a good processor that will not let you down in complex tasks you need to develop, but it will need more electrical power for this, which you’ll notice when the bill comes.