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The long-awaited Bulldozer micro-architecture was so late to market that it fails to impress and its performance looks pale in comparison with the latest central processing units from Intel Corp. based on Sandy Bridge micro-architecture. Nonetheless, AMD remains optimistic and expects its next-generation designs to boost performance-per-watt of its products by up to 50% by 2014.

AMD has a rather strong and clear roadmap for the period of the following three years with the aim to increase performance-per-watt of its high-performance cores by approximately 10% - 15% every year. In practice, this transforms into 33% - 52% speed boost of Excavator micro-architecture compared to Bulldozer. Technologically, AMD wants to improve IPC (instructions per clock) performance and reduce power consumption at the same time, which transforms into higher clock-speeds.

What remains to be seen is actual execution of the roadmap and actual, not micro-architectural performance-per-watt, improvements of performance. For example, we do know that next year AMD plans to roll-out eight-core Vishera processors for desktops and ten-core and twenty-core chips for servers based on Piledriver micro-architecture, which means that server chips will receive higher performance boost than desktop processors. It is unclear whether the world will see server central processing units with 12/24 cores based on Steamroller and 14/28 cores powered by Excavator micro-architectures in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

For AMD, it is crucial to execute its plans precisely and consistently. The Bulldozer fiasco does not have a lot to do with the micro-architecture itself, but has to do with the fact that the Zambezi/Interlagos chips are late by years. A good thing, however, is that Bulldozer micro-architecture is very scalable in terms of clock-speeds and core-count. AMD needs to quickly execute its plan and to release follow-ups to Bulldozer rather sooner than later.

The success of AMD’s execution is also conditioned by the success of Globalfoundries. The Steamroller-generation (2013) chips will be made using 28nm process technology, whereas Excavator chips will need to be made using 20nm or thinner technology in 2014. Unfortunately for AMD, in 2014 its arch-rival Intel will have 14nm process technology in its hands and therefore the Excavator@20nm may not be enough to fight the major competitor…

Tags: AMD, Bulldozer, Piledriver, Excavator, Steamroller

Discussion

Comments currently: 19
Discussion started: 10/12/11 05:36:38 PM
Latest comment: 06/05/13 11:51:14 AM
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1. 
Well, seeing as how AMD was hyping Bulldozer for having increased IPC, performance/watt, performance/dollar, for AMD to claim these numbers now is just laughable.

They just released a desktop part that actually had lower performance in some benchmarks compared to the 1100T, a part that came out last year (or earlier this year) and that is just unacceptable.

And the pricing for their top-end part? Sad really. One can get a 2500K for less and you'd have better performance. Better still when you OC it AND have lower power consumption than the FX-8150 AND even HIGHER performance.

AMD is currently trying to spin the FX series and it doesn't look good. Just take a look at their YouTube AMDuncompressed page for their "Head to Head" comparison video.

AMD needed to compete and they failed. Even worse, they tarnished a well known performance brand, FX. I don't count on AMD to regain the performance crown ever again because they royally screwed this launch. They needed another Ahtlon 64 moment; not just for marketing, but also for financial reasons. Bulldozer is here and they missed that mark by lightyears.

In the end, many of us have waited for 4-5 years for Bulldozer and what we had was performance of yesteryear for more money, power consumption, and less value. I really thought Barcelona would be their lowest point and their starting point to only get better. But with this launch, its worse than Barcelona (at least Barcelona outperformed the previous lineup) and I don't think they can salvage whatever the hell is broken with Bulldozer and fix it with Piledriver to compete with Sandy Bridge-E or even Ivy Bridge, 10-15% isn't going to be enough.

I wonder how JF-AMD will respond when he was hollering that IPC increases when in Anandtech's review, they saw IPC actually decrease. Also, I wonder if the claims of 33% more cores with up to 50% increase in performance will hold when numbers come out for Interlagos vs Magny-cours.


3 0 [Posted by: RtFusion  | Date: 10/12/11 05:36:38 PM]
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Yeah yeah but still we need AMD for competition reason and for a choice. It's like if you don't like black there is white you can have. Imagine if you have no choice.
1 0 [Posted by: pogsnet  | Date: 10/12/11 08:03:59 PM]
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I agree with you that we NEED AMD to for competition. But the thing with competition is that all the players need to compete for the benefit of the consumers. More competition drives prices down, drives innovations up.

AMD came to game late and performed terribly. I was somewhat optimistic that Zambezi would be at least equal to the 2600K overall and I was wrong. More wrong than what I could have imagined.

We need choice and if choice is to stay in the CPU market, AMD needs a proper CPU part. Not a piling piece of crap that we have here today for desktops.
0 0 [Posted by: RtFusion  | Date: 10/12/11 08:32:12 PM]
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But the problem is that AMD is releasing products that can't compete. It's why Intel won't even bother dropping the prices of their chips, since they are still beating their so called competition.
1 0 [Posted by: goury  | Date: 10/12/11 11:19:02 PM]
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Intel already pushed back Ivy Bridge by at least a quarter, simply because the Sandy Bridge generation was far ahead of AMDs offerings; another example of the consequences of lack of competition.
1 0 [Posted by: qd50  | Date: 10/13/11 03:08:59 AM]
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There's still a positive thing about a product being pushed back regardless of which manufacturer (AMD or Intel). For consumers with thight budget, it also delays hardware obsolescence. Customers can use their current generation longer (as long as it can provide the required performance).
0 1 [Posted by: dudde  | Date: 10/13/11 01:02:10 PM]
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The only competition AMD is itself. AMD pales in comparison to Intel.
By the time AMD ramps up Bulldozer in 2014 Intel will be leaps and bounds above AMD. So AMD will always be playing the game of "catch up".
0 0 [Posted by: USAFANG67  | Date: 10/19/11 05:10:26 PM]
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It's AMD fart written all over it!
1 1 [Posted by: dudde  | Date: 10/12/11 10:24:22 PM]
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2. 
They spent four years on pissing Bulldozer, now spend another four years on fixing it. Very good AMD, very good. Best design methods ever seen.
2 1 [Posted by: Tristan  | Date: 10/13/11 01:14:13 AM]
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3. 
For the technically clueless Bulldozer does quite well for heavy load processing and is significantly faster than previous Phenom II X4 and X6 CPUs. Single threading apps it can be slower depending on the software and also the O/S. Win 8 will improve Zambezi and other Bulldozer based CPU performance.
2 3 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 10/13/11 01:27:11 AM]
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improvement based on what?? your claims?!? you're pinning the excuse on software and OS to show that BD can be salvaged??? wow what a smart retard!
1 1 [Posted by: dudde  | Date: 10/17/11 08:46:55 PM]
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4. 
Bulldozer does appear to be very disappointing in the desktop. But it looks to have the makings of a good HPC and threaded load server processor - maybe this is the market AMD is really targeting, at least initially?

Either way, the performance per watt is considerably below expectation as is the clock speed. We already know that GF are having serious problems with their fabrication processes so that may be a major factor. Of course, now being independent entities presumably AMD can get someone else to do their fabrication, but Intel are considerably ahead of the rest of the world in fab technology.
2 0 [Posted by: Prosthetic_Head  | Date: 10/13/11 02:21:11 AM]
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5. 
Since 80% of applications are single or double threaded, Bulldozer is an epic fail.
1 0 [Posted by: beck2448  | Date: 10/13/11 09:17:40 PM]
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Again, only on the desktop. It's disappointing for a lot of us, but its not a bad looking proc for HPC and many server workloads.
0 0 [Posted by: Prosthetic_Head  | Date: 10/17/11 10:58:09 AM]
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Even in applications that use all cores, Bulldozer is not really that good

i7 2600 beats FX-8150 in cinebench 11.5
And i5 2500 beats FX-8150 in 3ds Max 2011

Both of those applications can use more than 8 cores.

There are very few cases where FX-8150 match or beat i7 2600 but difference is negligible.

Also, 6 core Gulftown completely destroy 8-core Bulldozer in absolutely any multi-threaded benchmarks
0 0 [Posted by: maroon1  | Date: 10/20/11 03:20:54 AM]
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6. 
Phenom + Phenom II + Bulldozer have disapointed me. As a hardcore AMD fan im very reluctent to switch to Intel which is why im sticking with my AMD Athlon 64 x2 6400+ Black Edition 3.2GHz < This chip out benches the Phenom's and the Phenom II and just about matches the cheap 3ghz quad bulldozer. From what i have been reading AMD claim to improve Bulldozer by 50% by 2014 with the Excivator. But i find these claims very un likely. At the present moment in time my Athlon 64 x2 is still holding up to the demands of latest games and programs so i will stick with it untill 2014 to see the Excivator Even tho im 90% sure its not going to be worth waiting for. If by then AMD have not got there heads back in the game i shal buy and Intel... The 1st Intel iv had sins 1998
0 0 [Posted by: xstone34  | Date: 01/27/12 05:25:33 AM]
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7. 
20 nm excavator vs 14 nm FinFET broadwell - we all know the result.
high density libraries will reduce clock speed dramatically thus less GFlops so lesser compute power.
0 0 [Posted by: mudi1  | Date: 06/05/13 11:51:14 AM]
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