The AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer CPU and Scorpius (FX) Platform Reviewed – Part Two

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Power Consumption

There has been a lot of people claiming the FX-8150 will eat power once overclocked and I am sure it will when you set all the voltages to what AMD stated as their maximums. Any system with voltage numbers set to maximum for all options will burn a lot of power and it will not just be the CPU causing the increase.

AMD Bulldozer Review Part2 Power Use 500x296 The AMD FX 8150 Bulldozer CPU and Scorpius (FX) Platform Reviewed – Part Two

I do not have the restrictively expensive equipment I would need to test just the CPU’s power use, so these figures only apply to me and my particular system. As you can see the power figures fall right in line. The FX-8150 has 2 additional Integer cores and thus uses more power at both idle and load. The Intel system has a more power hungry GPU and thus uses more power at load. Nothing here was really out of the ordinary to me.

There is a wall at around 4.8 GHz for the FX-8150 and getting over it will take a lot more power than I was willing to give my system. While it did not work for long, the 5.2 GHz stress test seemed to show power use well into the mid 400 watt range. I would image getting it to be stable at that speed would require even more power than I was giving my system at the time.

Final Thoughts

AMD Bulldozer Review Beltbuckle 500x375 The AMD FX 8150 Bulldozer CPU and Scorpius (FX) Platform Reviewed – Part Two

There has been a lot of talk on the Internet about lack luster performance and disappointed reviewers of the Bulldozer processor. I am personally not disappointed, but I am not impressed either. The “FX” moniker stood for the top performing chip of its time no matter how you sliced it. Bulldozer is a brilliant, forward looking design, but it does not deserve the “FX” title.

The issue with the Bulldozer design is it seems to have something personal against old software. Since many of the programs used for testing attempt to keep the scales even across several generations, testing programs inherently have to use older software designs. Simple put, Bulldozer does not benchmark well, but does well in real world scenarios.

I cannot conclusively say why the FX chips struggle with single threaded applications. I can say it only applies to single threads that repeat a single task constantly such as cryptography, video encoding, Folding@Home, etc. And even then it only struggles when the program is either really old or using old instruction sets. When the process is a task that works in blocks, such as video streaming, web browsing, file scanning, etc. there is no issue. In either case, it is clear the FX-8150 will easily out perform the 1100T when newer compiled code uses the newest instruction sets such as AES and SSE4.2.

I have used the FX-8150 for well over a week as my daily system and I have not once thought it was slow. The software I know it lacks performance in are trivial programs such as web browsers, temporary file cleaners, multimedia players, and old games. These programs are simply not CPU intensive enough to have noticeable performance loss. On the other side of the spectrum, the software I use that does require a lot of CPU horsepower, the FX-8150 excels in such as 7-Zip, Battlefield 3 (we’ll revisit this in an upcoming article), virus scanning, and video encoding.

Then you have games built for two and four core systems in mind where performance is no different than the Phenom II.

The performance, when measured, is a roller coaster ride of massive rises, dips, and turns. It is that very lack of clear improvement across the board that is making people scratch their heads. I agree with them wholeheartedly that the Bulldozer Tunnel Vision looks bad when tested. No one should need to find the right software to properly utilize a Bulldozer processor, or count on future software updates to give them better results.

In the end, the FX-8150 can be found at $279.99 between the i7 2500k and i7 2600k. It is priced exactly where it should be considering its general performance. Though I can’t recommend the Scorpius platform for everyone, those that do invest in it will not be disappointed in its overall performance. It should be a great upgrade for those using Phenom II X4s or for anyone looking to build a reasonably priced gaming system today. Everyone else should just wait to see what the future holds as FX chips seem to be doing the same thing too.

Pros

  • New Instruction Sets
  • Great Multimedia and Computational Performance
  • Improved Memory Controller
  • SLI Support
  • Consistent Features Across all 900 Series Motherboards

Cons

  • Weak Single Thread Performance
  • Inconsistent Multi-Threaded Performance
  • Overall Performance does not Warrant “FX” title
  • Some 800 Series AM3+ Motherboards will still Need BIOS Update to Support FX chips

 Overall Rating: 7.0 / 10.0

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About

Born and raised in south Mississippi, I grew up with Japanese anime, southern values, and creole food. A cultural mix that gives me a unique and occasionally odd viewpoint. I have been in love with computers for decades and hope to share that love with you.

  • Ish

    Good review. What the hell happened with Deus Ex, Bulldozer performance is supposed to be good when one thread has the whole module to itself, some type of scheduler bug? O_O

  • Ish

    Good review. What the hell happened with Deus Ex, Bulldozer performance is supposed to be good when one thread has the whole module to itself, some type of scheduler bug? O_O

  • Wakeupsir

    where is the intel i7 2500k? this is such a biased test…..the fx-8150 is competing with the i7-2500k…  here we see it against the i7-2600k

    • Jameswhite

      I did not have access to a 2500K for comparison. It should not be too hard to find comparative figures between the 2500k and 2600k.

      As I recall, the 2500k lags behind slightly during game and single thread tests due to clock speed. As for multi-threaded test, it depends on how well the test/software properly utilizes the cores.

  • Dan

    Can you please run one simple scientific parallel algebra test on Bulldozer?

    Take 32-bit benchmark for Windows compiled with intel fortran  at
    http://www.equation.com/servlet/equation.cmd?fa=laipebenchmark

    Interesting is to compare it to Phenom/Intel i7 done in Anandtech comments here

    http://www.anandtech.com/Show/Index/4481?cPage=5&all=False&sort=0&page=1&slug=details-on-amd-bulldozer-opterons-to-feature-configurable-tdp#comments

  • http://twitter.com/JamesGuruWhite James White

    As per someones request. Here are the results of running the LAIPE test: 32-bit compiled on Intel Fortran on the FX-8150.

    Total Elapsed Time:
    CPU 1: 1.09
    CPU 2: 1.12
    CPU 3: 1.23
    CPU 4: 1.29
    CPU 5: 1.37
    CPU 6: 1.42
    CPU 7: 1.47
    CPU 8: 1.48

    • Dan

      Thanks James,
      Straaaaange results….So there is absolutely no speedup? Was this elapsed time or CPU time ?

      Look at the comparison in comments Anandtech bloghttp://www.anandtech.com/Show/Index/4481?cPage=5&all=False&sort=0&page=1&slug=details-on-amd-bulldozer-opterons-to-feature-configurable-tdp#comments

    • Dan

      There is no total elapsed time in the test!
      There is elapsed time and total CPU time which is elapsed time times amount of CPUs

    • Sdggh54324

      James, you looked at the wrong numbers – it’s the first line “elapsed time” not the last one “total cpu time”. You’ve messed everything up, the author also added to the mess not clarifying what means what. pease repost it take just a 20 sec

  • http://twitter.com/JamesGuruWhite James White

    Ok, sorry. This is not a test I am use to using.

    Elapsed time:
    1 CPU: 1.17
    2 CPUs: 0.59
    3 CPUs: 0.47
    4 CPUs: 0.42
    5 CPUs: 0.42
    6 CPUs: 0.41
    7 CPUs: 0.39
    8 CPUs: 0.38

    • Dan

      Thanks. As you can see after more then 4 cores are employed the results are almost not improved…which is indication that the processor became too fast for the 2 million of equations LOL 

  • Nerbne9

    If it’s “more like a cluster of four, dual-core processors” I wounder if
    the dual core optimizer would help at all? It’s a small free download
    from AMD so it might be worth a shot?

  • Udit3103

    which motherboard should i buy with FX-8150 plz guys reply fast

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