As usual, we use Bapco SYSmark 2012 suite to estimate the processor performance in general-purpose tasks. It emulates the usage models in popular office and digital content creation and processing applications. The idea behind this test is fairly simple: it produces a single score characterized the average computer performance.
We already know since our AMD FX-8150 review that Bulldozer based processors do not do too well in performance tests for general-purpose applications. Multi-core microarchitecture of the new AMD CPUs is well adapted for work with heavy parallel loads, but the individual CPU cores show not very high performance numbers. At the same time, only a few selected applications call for prominent multi-threading that is why the overall picture doesn’t look too good for new AMD processors. Eight-core FX-8150 and FX-8120 yield to quad-core Core i5 CPUs. Moreover, the junior eight-core AMD processor loses even to the dual-core Core i3-2120. The performance of the six-core FX-6100 falls between Core i3 and Pentium, while the youngest desktop Bulldozer, FX-4100, yields even to the low-end Pentium G860.
If we look at the performance of the new AMD CPUs against the background of their predecessors, we can say that quad-core FX-4100 belongs to the same group as quad-core Phenom II X4, the six-core FX-6100 is about as fast as the mainstream six-core Phenom II X6, and the eight-core FX-8120 and FX-8150 quite logically continue the best there is in the Phenom II family. All this doesn’t really correlate that well with the current Bulldozer prices, which in this case seem a little over the top, but AMD believes that theoretical innovation of their multi-core microarchitecture will make up for the lack of remarkable practical results.
Let’s take a closer look at the performance scores SYSmark 2012 generates in different usage scenarios.
Office Productivity scenario emulates typical office tasks, such as text editing, electronic tables processing, email and Internet surfing. This scenario uses the following applications: ABBYY FineReader Pro 10.0, Adobe Acrobat Pro 9, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Microsoft Excel 2010, Microsoft Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft Outlook 2010, Microsoft PowerPoint 2010, Microsoft Word 2010 and WinZip Pro 14.5.
Media Creation scenario emulates the creation of a video clip using previously taken digital images and videos. Here they use popular Adobe suites: Photoshop CS5 Extended, Premiere Pro CS5 and After Effects CS5.
Web Development is a scenario emulating web-site designing. It uses the following applications: Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended, Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, Adobe Dreamweaver CS5, Mozilla Firefox 3.6.8 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.
Data/Financial Analysis scenario is devoted to statistical analysis and prediction of market trends performed in Microsoft Excel 2010.
3D Modeling scenario is fully dedicated to 3D objects and rendering of static and dynamic scenes using Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended, Autodesk 3ds Max 2011, Autodesk AutoCAD 2011 and Google SketchUp Pro 8.
The last scenario called System Management creates backups and installs software and updates. It involves several different versions of Mozilla Firefox Installer and WinZip Pro 14.5.
Out of six scenarios, the new AMD FX processors do well only in one: during 3D modeling and rendering. It is actually not surprising, because in tasks like that the number of cores matters a lot. But even in the most favorable case eight Bulldozer cores are equivalent to four Sandy Bridge cores and the six-core FX-6100 loses even to Core o5-2320.
In other wide spread applications including popular tools for creating and editing multimedia content, AMD processors look even sadder. Bulldozer microarchitecture should totally stay away from office applications and Web-development tools.