Wednesday, October 12th 2011

Review Consensus: AMD FX Processor 8150 Underwhelming

It's been in the works for over three years now. That's right, the first we heard of "Bulldozer" as a processor architecture under development was shortly after the launch of "Barcelona" K10 architecture. Granted, it wasn't possible to load close to 2 billion transistors on the silicon fab technology AMD had at the time, but AMD had a clear window over the last year to at least paper-launch the AMD FX. Delays and bad marketing may have cost AMD dearly in shaping up the product for the market.

After drawing a consensus from about 25 reviews (links in Today's Reviews on the front page), it emerges that:
  • AMD FX-8150 is missing its performance expectations by a fair margin. Not to mention performance gains in its own presentation, these expectations were built up by how AMD was shaping the product to be a full-fledged enthusiast product with significant performance gains over the previous generation
  • AMD ill-marketed the FX-8150. Hype is a double-edged sword, and should not be used if you're not confident your offering will live up to at least most of the hype. AMD marketed at least the top-tier FX-8000 series eight-core processors as the second coming of Athlon64 FX.


  • FX-8150 launch isn't backed up by launch of other AMD FX processors. This could go on to become a blunder. The presence of other FX series processors such as the FX-8120, six-core and four-core FX processors could have at least made the price performance charts look better, given that all FX processors are unlocked, buyers could see the value in buying them to overclock. TweakTown took a closer look into this.
  • There are no significant clock-for-clock improvements over even AMD's own previous generation. The FX-8150 drags its feet behind the Phenom II X6 1100T in single-threaded math benchmarks such as Super/HyperPi, the picture isn't any better with Cinebench single-threaded, either.
  • Multi-threaded data streaming applications such as data compression (WINRAR, 7-ZIP) reveal the FX-8150 to catch up with competition from even the Core i7-2600K. This trend keeps up with popular video encoding benchmarks such as Handbrake and x264 HD.
  • Load power draw is bad, by today's standards. It's not like AMD is lagging behind in silicon fabrication technologies, or the engineering potential that turned around AMD Radeon power consumption figures over generations.
  • Price could be a major saving grace. In the end, AMD FX 8150 has an acceptable price-performance figure. At just $25 over the Core i5-2500K, the FX-8150 offers a good performance lead.
  • Impressive overclocking potential. We weren't exactly in awe when AMD announced its Guinness Record-breaking overclocking feat, but reviewers across the board have noticed fairly good overclocking potential and performance scaling.
In all, AMD FX-8150 has almost become another example to cite at a marketing class, of how to effectively handle hype. It is sure to underwhelm some. If it's any compensation, Duke Nukem Forever is still the most underwhelming development this year for the gamer-overclocker community.
Add your own comment

450 Comments on Review Consensus: AMD FX Processor 8150 Underwhelming

#1
xenocide
Dent1 said:
Hardware Heaven shows Bulldozer in a positive light. They give it 9/10 overall.

In particular it shows Bulldozer beating the i7 2600k in games. How can this be?
That is the only review I have seen where Bulldozer clearly beats the 2600k or even the 2500k, I remain skeptical.
Posted on Reply
#2
TheMailMan78
Big Member
LordJummy said:
Yeah, I used to run a GTX 470 last year for a month or two. It was a good card. The only reason I started buying 6950's was boredom really. I started reading about the unlocking and wanted eyefinity, etc so I went for it.

The 470 was a great card though. The heat and power was exaggerated a bit by some people, although it is a bit on the warm side. The 6950/6970 reference gets warm too on occasion, and is equally loud. It will outperform the 470 for sure though.

The 6970 is a great card. I'm running two myself, in eyefinity config with a 4th monitor for reading documents when I need it. Best setup evar.



You, once again misunderstand where I'm coming from. I've owned a gtx 470, and I run two 6970's now. I think I know very well the difference between the two.

I wasn't speaking of VRAM differences. Of course the extra RAM will make a difference in future titles that use over 1GB. "Duh".

(Typical mail man knee jerk reaction)
Well if you wouldn't type in vague phrases like "Performance increase over 470 is not that huge." when talking about a 6970 then it wouldn't have been a "misunderstanding". Make yourself clear or prepare to be "misunderstood".

(Typical LordJummy knee jerk reaction)
Posted on Reply
#3
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
W1zzard said:
according to amd they were supposed to have sent a cpu yesterday, no tracking number for the package yet. dont expect a tpu review soon
£10 says it doesnt turn up.... It sounding more and more like AMD have something to hide.
Posted on Reply
#4
TheMailMan78
Big Member
FreedomEclipse said:
£10 says it doesnt turn up.... It sounding more and more like AMD have something to hide.
Or they are having manufacturing issues.
Posted on Reply
#5
cadaveca
My name is Dave
Dent1 said:
Could it be AMD messed up with the FedEX and none of the reviewers got retail CPUs.

Instead the reviewers used their own initiative and used an engineering sample.
Very possible. But then we are talking about rushed reviews because they were waiting for retail chips.
Posted on Reply
#6
nt300
Bulldozer Possible Issues? Let me Explain...

Done some digging on Bulldozer and its possible issues related to today's software and Windows 7.

1) Memory Bandwidth is somehow getting hampered.
2) Cache Thrashing Issue
3) Scheduling Issue
4) 4 Cores = 2 Threads per Core vs. 8 Cores = 1 Thread per Core – Somehow the OS is getting this mixed up (Windows Update should resolve this issue so it can be utilized properly)
5) Possible a performance Bios update is needed for Socket AM3+ motherboards. Current Bios used for reviews should be null/void.
6) They should conduct a SLI/Crossfire Benchmark with Bulldozer and see what happens.
7) AMD what happend to Quad-Channel? Surely Bulldozer is not being feed enough food IMO.

Just my take in doing some research on the internet about Bulldozer. I still commend AMD for the innovation put into Bulldozer, and I too believe this thing is ahead of its time. Software developers need to quick mucking around and help utilize Bulldozer to the fullest just as they constantly do for Intel CPUs.
W1zzard said:
according to amd they were supposed to have sent a cpu yesterday, no tracking number for the package yet. dont expect a tpu review soon
W1zzard, as soon as you get that Bulldozer, please by all means Molest the bloody chip and give a wide range of scenarios if you can, in regards to 8GB of DDR3-1866 vs. 16GB of DDR3-1866 etc. I believe Bulldozer will do better with more DDR3 memory along with running a CrossfireX and/or SLI setup. Anyhow you know your stuff,
Posted on Reply
#7
erocker
nt300 said:
Done some digging on Bulldozer and its possible issues related to today's software and Windows 7.

1) Memory Bandwidth is somehow getting hampered.
2) Cache Thrashing Issue
3) Scheduling Issue
4) 4 Cores = 2 Threads per Core vs. 8 Cores = 1 Thread per Core – Somehow the OS is getting this mixed up (Windows Update should resolve this issue so it can be utilized properly)
5) Possible a performance Bios update is needed for Socket AM3+ motherboards. Current Bios used for reviews should be null/void.
6) They should conduct a SLI/Crossfire Benchmark with Bulldozer and see what happens.
7) AMD what happend to Quad-Channel? Surely Bulldozer is not being feed enough food IMO.

Just my take in doing some research on the internet about Bulldozer. I still commend AMD for the innovation put into Bulldozer, and I too believe this thing is ahead of its time. Software developers need to quick mucking around and help utilize Bulldozer to the fullest just as they constantly do for Intel CPUs.

W1zzard, as soon as you get that Bulldozer, please by all means Molest the bloody chip and give a wide range of scenarios if you can, in regards to 8GB of DDR3-1866 vs. 16GB of DDR3-1866 etc. I believe Bulldozer will do better with more DDR3 memory along with running a CrossfireX and/or SLI setup. Anyhow you know your stuff,
1. Unfortunatley, I believe this is a design issue.

2. Possible fix with #4

3. # 4, but doubtful. May have to wait until Windows 8

4. I hope so.

5. Doubt it.

6. It's been done. Reviews are out there and it's not very impressive.

7. It's not there, it is what it is.
Posted on Reply
#8
xenocide
nt300 said:

3) Scheduling Issue
This is a valid complaint. In synthetic benchmarks it wasn't really a noticeable difference when they used Win8.
nt300 said:

4) 4 Cores = 2 Threads per Core vs. 8 Cores = 1 Thread per Core – Somehow the OS is getting this mixed up (Windows Update should resolve this issue so it can be utilized properly)
That's basically what BD is. They advertise it as an 8-Core, but it's 4 physical cores with 8 integer units and a buttload of cache. So they are pulling an Intel and marketing it as an Octa-Core.
nt300 said:

6) They should conduct a SLI/Crossfire Benchmark with Bulldozer and see what happens.
It's been done, the 2500k2600k pull ahead when the CPU is the determining factor.[/quote]
Posted on Reply
#9
Crap Daddy
cadaveca said:
I cannot excuse some of the marketing. I've been complaining about it for a long time now. There are a lot of good ideas there, they are all just poorly executed.

There's a reason companies do not comment about unreleased products, and yes, AMD very much broke that this time. But, officially, they did an effective job of marketing from the business perspective, because literally every aspect of Bulldozer is something I personally expected. The power consumption, clocking, and performance, are all exactly where expected.

The marketing to the enthusiast failed. The Guinness thing should not have been mentioned except at launch. The FX moniker should have been explained, yet, if look back through Bulldozer posts..I knew what FX meant, but many many others didn't.

I do not understand, why, when adding two cores, and 6 cores weren't used to begin with, that peopel thought that magically there would be more performance. When the cores are used effectively, the 8150 does pull ahead considerably.

The fact these chips use such a high voltage while in max turbo mode, yet live on, no problem, is pretty incredible. The fact they can push 300++ watts through that small of a process is quite amazing, and is part of the reason that things like 8 GHz clocks are possible.

To be completely honest, I don't really see Bulldozer as a failure at all, and frankly, anyone claiming it is, really, is still buying into the hype, because literally everyone is buying into these reviews, and the negative outlook. Clearly there are issues when they are using ES samples for reviews. Why are there so few retail samples?


Nobody gets it. And I'm not about to explain things when it's so bloody obvious.

Oh well, not my problem. ;)
Well you might not see it as a failure, it's your perspective and original opinion. Maybe failure is to hard, maybe let's say it's an underachiver for 90% of the reviewers who were sent whatever chips AMD wanted them to get.

Apart from the performance that you say you expected to be like this, do you think the desktop CPU market needs these products? Do you think AMD made the right choice to put out a processor that performs on average 10% better than their previous lineup on multithreaded and on par or worse on single threeaded?

Do you think AMD has any chance to sell a chip that costs 60$ more than the i5-2500K while on average at stock clocks it performs better in 2-3 benches out of 10? Do you think anybody outside the small enthusiast community will wait for software optimizations in order to increase the potential performance of the Bulldozer?

Do you think that a guy who has an X6 should upgrade to the FX? Do you think that a guy who has a SB should switch to FX? Can you please tell me who will buy this chip?
Posted on Reply
#10
cadaveca
My name is Dave
Crap Daddy said:
Apart from the performance that you say you expected to be like this, do you think the desktop CPU market needs these products? Do you think AMD made the right choice to put out a processor that performs on average 10% better than their previous lineup on multithreaded and on par or worse on single threeaded?
Yes, actually, I do. Maximum performance is un-important to 90% of the market. It just needs to work, and decently, as most users don't even know how to measure FPS. Enthusiasts are a very small part of the market, after all.
Do you think AMD has any chance to sell a chip that costs 60$ more than the i5-2500K while on average at stock clocks it performs better in 2-3 benches out of 10?
Yes. I stated this long before launch, and still stand by that.
Do you think anybody outside the small enthusiast community will wait for software optimizations in order to increase the potential performance of the Bulldozer?
I think people outside the enthusiast community aren't even going to care. Not everyone needs a "hotrod" PC. Most people will make a "derp" face when you ask them what a motherboard is.
Do you think that a guy who has an X6 should upgrade to the FX? Do you think that a guy who has a SB should switch to FX? Can you please tell me who will buy this chip?
X6 to FX...sure. Will you see much improvements as such a user? Probably not, but at the high-end of products, considering multi-GPU, and potentially multi-monitor configs, the BD chips are a much better option than X6 chips.

SB to FX? Nah, unless you want to play with something new. Many will do this; erocker already has...

Who will buy the chip? Many people will. We have a situation where either AMD was incapable of making enough chips, clearly, if they cannot provide every review website with a retail sample, or there's something else afoot. Whether the problem is yeilds, or that all the chips are already sold to OEMs..doesn't matter. Considering that almost every retailer that did have chips yesterday is now sold out, I don't see why you would even question AMD's ability to sell.

The fact of the matter is, if you ignored every other site, and listened to just what I've been saying the past few months, none of this would have been any surprise.


90% of chips on the market are overkill for most people's real needs. None really needs to overclock. It's not like BD is incapable of running games or other apps because it's too slow...it's just not quite as fast as Intel, and is priced accordingly. Daily usage there would probably not be a lot of discernable difference in usage, for things like web browsing and such. I don't understand how it's disappointing, at all.
Posted on Reply
#11
Dent1
Crap Daddy said:
Can you please tell me who will buy this chip?
1.) people whom have AM2+ board and dont want to change boards
2.) people whom have a AM3 board and dont want to change boards
3.) people whom are casual gamers whom do a fair bit of multithreaded work as well e.g. encoding.
4.) people whom do multithreaded encoding all day as a job/hobby
5.) people whom want their PC to last for as long as possible and will sacrafice performance today if it means having a well performing PC in 4-5 years when multithread applications and OS catch up.


I could go on, but 5 points is enough.
Posted on Reply
#12
[H]@RD5TUFF
W1zzard said:
according to amd they were supposed to have sent a cpu yesterday, no tracking number for the package yet. dont expect a tpu review soon
They are too emberesed to send one.:D
Posted on Reply
#13
TRWOV
Dent1 said:
1.) people whom have AM2+ board and dont want to change boards
2.) people whom have a AM3 board and dont want to change boards
3.) people whom are casual gamers whom do a fair bit of multithreaded work as well e.g. encoding.
4.) people whom do multithreaded encoding all day as a job/hobby
5.) people whom want their PC to last for as long as possible and will sacrafice performance today if it means having a well performing PC in 4-5 years when multithread applications and OS catch up.


I could go on, but 5 points is enough.
1 and 2 don't apply. You need an AM3+ board.
Posted on Reply
#14
cadaveca
My name is Dave
TRWOV said:
1 and 2 don't apply. You need an AM3+ board.
Actually, they do, becuase most people will buy a complete system, not do "upgrades". Upgrading is nearly 100% an enthusiast thing, and mostly for enthusiasts with little cash. Most users will buy a complete system because they do not have time to do an upgrade, nor the required know-how. Those users won't be changing boards...they'll buy the whole thing new.


You cannot apply how you personally use your PC to anything here. Enthusiasts are the minority, and any thoughts you have as an enthusiast aren't really AMD's concern. When enthusiasts make up most of the market, then AMD will cater to them.
Posted on Reply
#15
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
cadaveca said:
Actualyl, they do, becuase most people will buy a complete system, not do "upgrades". Upgrading is nearly 100% an enthusiast thing, and mostly for enthusiasts with little cash. Most users will buy a complete system beucase they do not ahve time to do upgrade, nor know how.


You cannot apply how you personally use your PC to anything here. Enthusiasts are the minority, and any thoughts you have as an enthusiast aren't really AMD's concern. When enthusiasts make up most of the market, then AMD will cater to them.
Indeed, that unfortunately, is the bottom line in any area of business. If you're not in the mainstream segment, you don't affect that companies bottom line much and they just don't care about you. :ohwell:
Posted on Reply
#16
cadaveca
My name is Dave
I don't see that as an issue, although many might. But usually my own personal needs do not reflect in my opinions when it comes to technology. I'd like AMD to listen to me, but I'm not gonna ever think they will.
Posted on Reply
#17
Dent1
TRWOV said:
1 and 2 don't apply. You need an AM3+ board.
I was under the impression Bulldozer was backward compatible with atleast AM3, with the bios update, and unofficially backward compatible with most AM3 boards without the flash. I guess I am wrong :confused: lol

/scarcasm
Posted on Reply
#18
Crap Daddy
cadaveca said:
Actually, they do, becuase most people will buy a complete system, not do "upgrades". Upgrading is nearly 100% an enthusiast thing, and mostly for enthusiasts with little cash. Most users will buy a complete system because they do not have time to do an upgrade, nor the required know-how. Those users won't be changing boards...they'll buy the whole thing new.
Ok, so they buy a new machine. Why will they decide over an FX build? I just can't get out of my mind the price AMD is asking for the 8150 when the performance is in the 2500K area.
Posted on Reply
#19
cadaveca
My name is Dave
Crap Daddy said:
Ok, so they buy a new machine. Why will they decide over an FX build? I just can't get out of my mind the price AMD is asking for the 8150 when the performance is in the 2500K area.
Like I said, you are an enthusiast, just by having an account here, so your view is not important.

Like i know that might sound like me just bieng a jerk, but the fact of the matter is that it is 100% true. CPU cost has no bearing when buying a full system. Final system cost does. If a 2500K system is even $50 more than an 8150 system is, guess which one is going to sell more often than not?


If you are an enthusiast, AMD expects you to overclock, at which point, cost and stock performance is not important, because your costs are much more than the chip anyway, with extra cooling and such figured in. retail cost of the chip according to AMD is $245, and retailers are currently gouging prices hard, by $45 in some instances. That $245 includes markup for the retailer to make money, while OEMs that build systems pay far less because they buy in far larger quantities, and do nto have such large markups. At this point, retail pricing is very much a moot point.
Posted on Reply
#20
Dent1
Crap Daddy said:
Ok, so they buy a new machine. Why will they decide over an FX build? I just can't get out of my mind the price AMD is asking for the 8150 when the performance is in the 2500K area.
You are talking about buying individual components as an enthusiasts still. The pricing is different for an buying entire rig.

Non enthusiasts, wanting (semi) gamings rigs will go PCWorld or to a local computer shop physically. The shop manager knows that Intel branding fetches for a premium so the entire computer based around the 2500K will be priced higher than an entire computer based around the FX 8150. Customers in PCWorld will happily pay more for an Intel computer than an AMD computer because of brand recognition alone.

I would go as far as saying that a customer would pay more for a lowend Intel I3 than a AMD FX8150. Simpily because they dont know whom AMD is. Shops know this and will mark Intel's prices up.

Slight techy non enthusiasts might say "well I dont know whom AMD is, but 8 cores will last me longer and gain application support as it matures, so I dont need to spend another $1,200 on a new computer anytime soon" - and they would be smart to think that.
Posted on Reply
#21
devguy
Any reviews out there showing FX performance under Eyefinity resolution gaming? The few people I remember talking up the FX line before launch said it is a monster performer at uber high resolutions. Granted it may just be GPU bottleneck, but with an Eyefinity setup, I don't give a damn if the 2600k handily beats an FX 8150 at 1080p and under. If it performs well up there and is better than my Thuban, I'll consider it. Otherwise, I'll stay where I am.
Posted on Reply
#22
Super XP
Crap Daddy said:
Ok, so they buy a new machine. Why will they decide over an FX build? I just can't get out of my mind the price AMD is asking for the 8150 when the performance is in the 2500K area.
An example here would be a 2500K based system costing say $800 but with 2TB and 4GB of DDR3-1866 ram where as the 8150 setup can cost $600 but with say 1TB and 4GB of DDR3-1600 Ram.

When it comes down to a complete system, companies will piece them together in a way to save money but still try and get a maximum asking price.

We in the know how in the other hand know what to buy and how to build. We know how to upgrade and we know how to make a 2 to 3 year old system last as long as possible via smart upgrades and OC'ing.....:toast:
Posted on Reply
#23
Crap Daddy
OK you are starting to convince me about the utility of the FX but AMD has to retire quickly the Phenom II since its existence at a much better price and for daily use and one GPU setup gaming still good compared to Bulldozer.


devguy said:
Any reviews out there showing FX performance under Eyefinity resolution gaming? The few people I remember talking up the FX line before launch said it is a monster performer at uber high resolutions. Granted it may just be GPU bottleneck, but with an Eyefinity setup, I don't give a damn if the 2600k handily beats an FX 8150 at 1080p and under. If it performs well up there and is better than my Thuban, I'll consider it. Otherwise, I'll stay where I am.
Here it is, two 6970:

http://www.tweakpc.de/hardware/tests/cpu/amd_fx-8150_bulldozer/benchmarks_gaming.php

Sorry but the X6 seems better in many games benched here
Posted on Reply
#25
Crap Daddy
OK, I was looking at different resolutions. You're right. But anyway nothing spectacular on behalf of the FX.
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment