Thursday, October 13th 2011

Bulldozer Aims For 50% Improvement By 2014: Is This Really Enough To Counter Intel?

The reviews are now out for AMD's brand new Bulldozer architecture, in the form of the Zambezi FX 8120 & FX 8150 processors and they don't paint a pretty picture of these flagship products. The chips use lots of power, run hot and significantly underperform compared to their Intel competition. On top of that, they are being marketed as 8 core processors, when they are actually 4 core with an advanced form of multi-threading, due to the siamesed nature of each dual processor module. Perhaps to counter this negative publicity and try to restore some faith in the AMD brand, they have released a roadmap for the planned improvements to the architecture, all the way to 2014 – an ambitious timeline, given how much and how unexpectedly things can change at the cutting edge of the technology world.

Looking at the chart, one can see that the various architectures Piledriver, Steamroller and Excavator all add up to between 30-50% projected improvement by 2014 (subject to change without notice, of course). These are all names designed to impart a tough-guy image to their products to give one the impression that they must perform very well, beating the competition into submission. Therefore, if they fail to perform competitively against Intel, those names will continue to be branding embarrassments like Bulldozer is, currently. As Intel is already 20-50% faster right now depending on the benchmark, how are these modest improvements possibly going to compete with Intel's future products? AMD has already had a change of management at the top recently, so we can only hope that the right CEO comes along and turns them around, otherwise they may end up not manufacturing x86 processors at all in future, possibly becoming a GPU company only.

The main problem with the current Bulldozer architecture is that it's very, very late to market. AMD started working on it four years ago in 2007, which is a very long time in the world of desktop processors, so AMD have effectively released a new "old" product. The two important things that it has going for it, are that it scales well with core count and clock speed - those 8GHz overclock marketing demos weren’t completely without merit. What we need to see is AMD improving performance much more than the prediction slide they’ve released, more like 100% or more perhaps, which is not really such an unrealistic target to achieve in three years of design and process improvements. Perhaps discarding this whole architecture and starting afresh with fully discreet cores like on the Phenom might be the way forward? AMD has recently let go some of its top-level management, so perhaps their replacements can turn the company around?

So, even if AMD achieves this projected performance improvement and more, will it really be enough to counter Intel, or will Intel steamroller AMD’s Bulldozer back into submission?Source:X-bit labs and Bulldozer block diagram courtesy of Hexus' FX 8150 review.
Add your own comment

133 Comments on Bulldozer Aims For 50% Improvement By 2014: Is This Really Enough To Counter Intel?

#1
mtosev
@AMD
Stop dreaming and make products. You have a lot of work ahead of you after your Bulldozer fiasco
Posted on Reply
#2
NC37
I've been wanting to bug AMD and just say...Ever think about adding more cache? Gah, their CPUs just hardly have any. Maybe its just me not knowing enough about their designs, but I used to work with 7447s years back, and they could clock well but perform like crap compared to the 7455/57s all because they had half the L2 and were completely missing L3. Then the 7448s came along and resolved this by doubling the L2.

Wonder how I missed the part about them not being a real 8 core. Hmm, well that would solidify it for me to not buy one. Gimpy tricks to add more cores just don't make me want to buy it. Specially not first gens.
Posted on Reply
#4
option350z
Come on AMD release that increase now and not later. I'm an undergrad in computer engineering and even I know not to release that kind of work to the public, let alone a professor!
Posted on Reply
#5
CDdude55
Crazy 4 TPU!!!
They can say whatever they want, just deliver it. 2014 is to late imo, by then Intel will be on 14nm Broadwell.
Posted on Reply
#6
rampage
so another 2 and a bit years of nothing, fantastic.

cant wait to see Intel prices go up
Posted on Reply
#7
Exeodus
Luckily Intel has no plans for improvements until 2015.
Posted on Reply
#8
Necrofire
by: NC37
I've been wanting to bug AMD and just say...Ever think about adding more cache? Gah, their CPUs just hardly have any. Maybe its just me not knowing enough about their designs, but I used to work with 7447s years back, and they could clock well but perform like crap compared to the 7455/57s all because they had half the L2 and were completely missing L3. Then the 7448s came along and resolved this by doubling the L2.

Wonder how I missed the part about them not being a real 8 core. Hmm, well that would solidify it for me to not buy one. Gimpy tricks to add more cores just don't make me want to buy it. Specially not first gens.
diminishing returns is why they haven't added more cache. The extra power, heat, and die-size isn't worth the speed increase to them.
To be fair, their modules are closer to 2 full cores than a core w/ hyperthreading.

Still, I'm dissapointed, as I was waiting to upgrade until their quad core came out. Now I'm seriously contemplating a 2500k setup instead. I want faster wii emulation than i have now on my 550 @ 3.6gHz.
Posted on Reply
#9
v12dock
Fire management and maybe we will see results
Posted on Reply
#10
AphexDreamer
AMD seems to be an Endless Hype machine.

Less bark more bite please... I can say lots of stuff about my future too, doesn't mean it will come true no matter how hard I try to make it.
Posted on Reply
#11
Trackr
I think we can all safely say..

If AMD didn't buy ATi, they wouldn't exist by now.

What are the known for, really?

Having better clock-per-clock performance 7-8 years ago? Is that really worthy of the admiration that I've seen over the past 6 years?

They've been making lousy CPUs for 6 god-damn years. I simply don't see any reason to be an AMD fanboy anymore. I never was one, I gave it the benefit of the doubt, now I longer do.

People who still like AMD get high out of betting on the under-dog.. and there's apparently a ton of them.

But don't get me wrong, in terms of competition, what is best for the world, the chances that computers will be merged with humans and achieve immortality is all dependent on Intel having some competition right about now.

I guess I'm just venting. Thanks a lot, AMD.
Posted on Reply
#13
LAN_deRf_HA
Great. They'll catch up to Intel right when Intel releases a completely new architecture.
Posted on Reply
#14
alucasa
Hmph.

That's all I can say.
Posted on Reply
#15
CDdude55
Crazy 4 TPU!!!
by: Exeodus
Luckily Intel has no plans for improvements until 2015.
Intel actually has a lot from now until 2014.

They have Ivy Bridge(die shrink of Sandy) coming soon that will debut their 3D transistors then they'll have their new microarchitecture out which is Haswell (22nm) which will be out in 2013 and then finally in 2014 that will get a die shrink to 14nm which will be called Broadwell.

And yet in 2014, AMD will finally get Bulldozer to perform the way it should had at the beginning over 2 years ago.
Posted on Reply
#16
Steevo
Thats what they said about Phenom.

AMD = FAIL currently.

Other than their X6 Processors, they are dead to me. Good hardware killed by little to no software.



Stream anyone?
Posted on Reply
#17
CrAsHnBuRnXp
By 2014? Really? By that time Intel will have something better and it will definitely outperform Bulldozer. Id say get good or get out, but if they got out, we'd be fucked when it comes to pricing.
Posted on Reply
#18
Super XP
AMD can deliver 50% faster performance, but they would have to at the very least boost todays Bulldozer by about 20% or more, then by that new number they can gain an additional 50% for a total of about 70+%.

But if they are going by todays Bulldozer, 50% won't be enough to compete with Intel. I think it's about time IBM steps in and helps out AMD with Bulldozer's future. There is no way AMD is scrapping 5+ years of hard work, so this design is here to stay. I have no problem with this, so long as they do something to boost it's performance per clock while keeping thermals at bay.

AMD's success is Intel's Future, Remember that. :cool:
Posted on Reply
#19
[H]@RD5TUFF
Given their latest performance this is a rather laughable claim, but I hope it's true.
Posted on Reply
#20
ensabrenoir
Did someone at and actually....seriously come out with this plan to stay 2 years behind....:shadedshu
Wow amd did side with aliens to make bulldozer. And after years of alien probing.:nutkick: They come up with this? Alien got the better part of the deal.
Posted on Reply
#21
bear jesus
50% by piledriver is what AMD needs then 10% to 15% improvement after that would not be so bad but i assume that's impossible so as it stands AMD intends to be under performing for the foreseeable future. :(
Posted on Reply
#22
Rapidfire48
They are a joke at this point. They promise something and yet again they cannot deliver. They will never catch up to intel as long as they have asswipes in charge of things. Shit the Athlon FX would beat this POS.
Posted on Reply
#23
HumanSmoke
Bulldozer Aims For 50% Improvement By 2014

So thats like 5-10% using non-AMD mathematics right ?

Posted on Reply
#24
Steevo
Phenom was only 5-7% IPC faster than the FX series before it, now we have a chip that isn't even that.
Posted on Reply
#25
Jstn7477
I don't know who to believe anymore. :shadedshu

I think I'll be going to Intel for a while. 1155 sounds like it has an upgrade path (Ivy) and it simply does its job. I played Brink multiplayer tonight and it was annoyingly choppy most of the time, even with a 4GHz PII X4 and an overclocked HD 5770. Crappy console port or not, it's still pretty lame that BD has trouble competing against PII X6 processors, so I don't feel it would be much of an upgrade.
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment