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.
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450 Comments on Review Consensus: AMD FX Processor 8150 Underwhelming

#2
Super XP
alexsubri said:
Have you done any benchmarks? If so, are they the same or different from the review websites?
You have a ASUS Sabertooth 990 FX. Have you noticed the latest bios update for your mobo? It says it's an AMD CPU Firmware Update. Have you updated this? Is it updating your CPU's firmware or your mobo's bios??
Posted on Reply
#3
[H]@RD5TUFF
I don't think firmware will "fix" the problem.
Posted on Reply
#4
alexsubri
Super XP said:
You have a ASUS Sabertooth 990 FX. Have you noticed the latest bios update for your mobo? It says it's an AMD CPU Firmware Update. Have you updated this? Is it updating your CPU's firmware or your mobo's bios??
The newest one is Version 0705 which was released towards the end of Sept. I haven't uploaded my BIOS yet, I should , I plan on doing it soon. I just got this motherboard less than a week ago. So, I am still tweaking, recovering what I lost from my old HD's (Had to do a reformat, not related to the motherboard)
Posted on Reply
#5
Super XP
[H]@RD5TUFF said:
I don't think firmware will "fix" the problem.
I was just wondering why it said "AMD CPU Firmware Update" for a motherboard bios update. I would think if AMD was to release a firmware update you would find it on the AMD website NO?

Also, I agree a AMD FX CPU firmware update won't repair something that is not broken. I now truly believe Bulldozer is very complex, and it will take time to make it work the way it was meant to. That said, AMD should have worked harder to ensure the OS along with software take fully take advantage of the new CPU design.
Posted on Reply
#6
LordJummy
I do have to say I have never seen so many fan boys crawl out of the woodwork (at least not for some time) on some of the other forums. I'm surprised the TPU discussions have been fairly civil.

Should I buy the 8120 now or should I wait until a revision is made? Is there a hardware revision planned for the near future or just software/firmware? I'm trying to decide whether or not to go for it now.
Posted on Reply
#7
[H]@RD5TUFF
Super XP said:
I was just wondering why it said "AMD CPU Firmware Update" for a motherboard bios update. I would think if AMD was to release a firmware update you would find it on the AMD website NO?

Also, I agree a AMD FX CPU firmware update won't repair something that is not broken. I now truly believe Bulldozer is very complex, and it will take time to make it work the way it was meant to. That said, AMD should have worked harder to ensure the OS along with software take fully take advantage of the new CPU design.
I don't buy the BS about it's the OS's fault, even if it is how dumb is AMD for not designing for a current OS, rather than one that there isn't even an RC for.
Posted on Reply
#8
TRWOV
[H]@RD5TUFF said:
I don't think firmware will "fix" the problem.
LordJummy said:
I do have to say I have never seen so many fan boys crawl out of the woodwork (at least not for some time) on some of the other forums. I'm surprised the TPU discussions have been fairly civil.

Should I buy the 8120 now or should I wait until a revision is made? Is there a hardware revision planned for the near future or just software/firmware? I'm trying to decide whether or not to go for it now.
With the fact that Piledriver is being released so soon (Q1 2012, isn't it?) I believe that AMD knew about the design problems (branch prediction, pipeline flushing, cache trashing, decode unit not wide enough) but instead counted on frequencies to make up until PD could be released. Anandtech's review also shows that cache latency is worse than Phenom II. Both of these problems can be blamed on Global Foundries. Cache latency can be increased and clockspeeds lowered to give higher yields.

I think that AMD saw the problems that needed reworking but decided that clockspeed would be enough for the time being but then a few months later they find that yields were too poor and had no choice but to launch as is.
Posted on Reply
#9
Horrux
TRWOV said:
With the fact that Piledriver is being released so soon (Q1 2012, isn't it?) I believe that AMD knew about the design problems (branch prediction, pipeline flushing, cache trashing, decode unit not wide enough) but instead counted on frequencies to make up until PD could be released. Anandtech's review also shows that cache latency is worse than Phenom II. Both of these problems can be blamed on Global Foundries. Cache latency can be increased and clockspeeds lowered to give higher yields.

I think that AMD saw the problems that needed reworking but decided that clockspeed would be enough for the time being but then a few months later they find that yields were too poor and had no choice but to launch as is.
That makes sense and provides a glimmer of hope for those of us who would like to remain users of AMD chips but also require competitive performance...
Posted on Reply
#10
Prima.Vera
LOL. Even my old Core 2 Quad 9650 beats the crp out of Dozer.
Epic Fail.:eek::shadedshu
Posted on Reply
#11
LordJummy
Prima.Vera said:
LOL. Even my old Core 2 Quad 9650 beats the crp out of Dozer.
Epic Fail.:eek::shadedshu
mmm not really. now you're just getting into wishful thinking territory.

the 8150 as it turns out actually can perform quite well under the right circumstances. it is far better than your c2q overall.
Posted on Reply
#13
LordJummy
I'm starting to see some benefits in BD now. I think I'm going to go ahead and get an 8150. I just can't resist playing with it at this point. Even if it doesn't outperform my i7 970 it will still be a great time to bench and test :P


Update:

cadaveca said:
My first impression wasn't too positive, but you know, after I read every review, I think those that reviewed the chips had expectations set way too high. Tom's even posted an editorial about that exact subject, and consequently, blamed AMD's marketing for those false expectations.

That made me look into the sources for all the hype, and really, most of it was websites looking for hits, and not anything that AMD gave out for the public to see.

So I personally don't blame AMD here...I blame all those websites that hyped BD, for falsely raising people's expectations.

AMD's not 100% free and clear of this mess though. I said nearly 6 months ago that this greatly reminded me of the Phenom I and 2900XT hype, and I going to stick to my personal opinion that all the hype was directly a result of Intel fanboys setting AMD up to fail, even though it really seems AMD didn't do much to deal with the issues as they came up.
Totally agree. My first impression was guided by tons of over hyped negative reviews and people yelling the sky is falling. After my own research through all the BS I've come to the conclusion that the 8 core chip is actually really nice for some of my personal uses. It looks like they will be addressing some of the issues very soon, so I'm going to grab one and let them work out the bugs.

The 8150 will be an excellent chip for my secondary machine to replace my i7 950 setup I think. I also want to do what I can to support Intel's competition at this point, and inevitably post my own little reviews once I've fully tested it. I think we need to give these chips more time to really brew and get to their optimum potential. ( I never thought I would be saying that, but I really believe it. ) There is also nothing more fun than playing with a completely new architecture. Definitely looking forward to it :D
Posted on Reply
#14
cadaveca
My name is Dave
My first impression wasn't too positive, but you know, after I read every review, I think those that reviewed the chips had expectations set way too high. Tom's even posted an editorial about that exact subject, and consequently, blamed AMD's marketing for those false expectations.

That made me look into the sources for all the hype, and really, most of it was websites looking for hits, and not anything that AMD gave out for the public to see.

So I personally don't blame AMD here...I blame all those websites that hyped BD, for falsely raising people's expectations.

AMD's not 100% free and clear of this mess though. I said nearly 6 months ago that this greatly reminded me of the Phenom I and 2900XT hype, and I going to stick to my personal opinion that all the hype was directly a result of Intel fanboys setting AMD up to fail, even though it really seems AMD didn't do much to deal with the issues as they came up.
Posted on Reply
#15
nt300
Pros
+ Innovative architecture design
+ Very overclockable
+ Power efficient using Cool 'n' Quiet
+ Improved Turbo modes

Cons
- Weak single thread performance
- Often outperformed by Phenom II
- Only fast in ideal scenarios

If the Single Threaded Performance got resolved somehow, we wouldn't be having this discussion about Bulldozer. This CPU was designed for massive Multi-Threading and will destroy anything in the market place with the proper multi-threading software testing.
Posted on Reply
#16
Crap Daddy
nt300 said:
If the Single Threaded Performance got resolved somehow, we wouldn't be having this discussion about Bulldozer. This CPU was designed for massive Multi-Threading and will destroy anything in the market place with the proper multi-threading software testing.
At its price point.
Posted on Reply
#17
ensabrenoir
nt300 said:
Pros
+ Innovative architecture design
+ Very overclockable
+ Power efficient using Cool 'n' Quiet
+ Improved Turbo modes

Cons
- Weak single thread performance
- Often outperformed by Phenom II
- Only fast in ideal scenarios

If the Single Threaded Performance got resolved somehow, we wouldn't be having this discussion about Bulldozer. This CPU was designed for massive Multi-Threading and will destroy anything in the market place with the proper multi-threading software testing.
Wow.... sorta like bringing a speed boat to the drag strip and shouting from the sidelines. If we were in,water id pawn u all!
Posted on Reply
#18
erocker
ensabrenoir said:
Wow.... sorta like bringing a speed boat to the drag strip and shouting from the sidelines. If we were in,water id pawn u all!
Better yet, bringing a Bulldozer to the drag strip and shouting "If this drag strip was dirt...."
Posted on Reply
#19
LordJummy
erocker said:
Better yet, bringing a Bulldozer to the drag strip and shouting "If this drag strip was dirt...."
Better yet, bringing a hula hoop to a jump rope competition. amirite?
Posted on Reply
#20
Dent1
cadaveca said:
[B]I have asked reviewers that I know that have chips, and not one is able to get Bulldozer working in anything but 9-series boards
cadaveca said:

and even then, there is a BIOS update specfic to Bulldozer, in such a way that there is even a warning in the CPU box that you should update the BIOS. And that BIOS update applies to 9-series boards...
cadaveca said:

I do NOT expect any user with AM3 to actually get Bulldozer working properly. An AM3+ socket and 9-series chipset are required.
I guess you are wrong. lol

http://www.techpowerup.com/153573/ASRock-Announces-Wide-Ranged-Support-for-AMD-FX-Processors.html

ASRock have prioritized AM3+ motherboard implementation and is the first to produce the most sophisticated AM3+ CPU-capable motherboards. The entire range of AM3+ mobo includes AMD's 9-Series, 8-Series, 7-Series and Nvidia's GeForce 7025 chipset series. Importantly, ASRock have a complete motherboard products line (from high-end, performance to budget-level) supporting AM3+ Bulldozer processors. Users are able to enjoy the exciting AM3+ performance with the latest BIOS update. ASRock is confident to say that they are the only motherboard maker that can offer so many AM3+ mobo choices based on difference chipsets. And this is what other mobo makers cannot do.


PS. isnt the 7025 chipset like 6 years old. Anyone with a crappy AM2/AM2+ board should be able to drop in a AMD FX without breaking the bank.
Posted on Reply
#21
cadaveca
My name is Dave
Dent1 said:
I guess you are wrong. lol
:rockout:



Today, yes. Yesterday, no.:laugh:

Alot of boards are working, but not all. And I do not mean AsRock boards, I mean all boards in general.

Hopefully by the time these FX chips are back in stock in retail, all boards will work.
Posted on Reply
#22
Covert_Death
[H]@RD5TUFF said:
I don't buy the BS about it's the OS's fault, even if it is how dumb is AMD for not designing for a current OS, rather than one that there isn't even an RC for.
because you design for the futuer... this is a stepping block for future CPU's from AMD
Posted on Reply
#23
Covert_Death
can someone please answer this one question....

i have a PII x4 955 clocked at 4.1Ghz (temps from 36c-60c)

if i upgrade to an 8150 and OC it as well (say 4.6-4.8Ghz) will i see noticeable improvement in current games (BF3, BC2, ArmA II, ArmA III) and such?

thanks... i really like the CPU for the potential it has but just want to make sure if i get it that it will ACTUALLY be an UPGRADE

thanks all :)
Posted on Reply
#24
Dent1
Covert_Death, which resolution do you play at?

BFBC2 and BF3 are multithreaded. Reviews show the FX series perform better in the BF3 beta than even the I7 2600k, so I doubt you'd need to overclock it to see the benefit.

As for the ArmA series I'm not sure if its multithreaded, so somebody else will have to comment on that.

If you are actually doing work, then yes its an upgrade. For gaming, it depends on your choice of games - but for singlethreaded applications/games, definitely not.
Posted on Reply
#25
Covert_Death
Dent1 said:
Covert_Death, which resolution do you play at?

BFBC2 and BF3 are multithreaded. Reviews show the FX series perform better in the BF3 beta than even the I7 2600k, so I doubt you'd need to overclock it to see the benefit.

As for the ArmA series I'm not sure if its multithreaded, so somebody else will have to comment on that.
thanks, sorry i guess i should have included more info...

i run at 1920x1080 60Hz with two GTX460's in SLI OC'd quiet a bit...

i also do a LOT of CAD rendering (mechanical engineering major) and im pretty sure i would see quiet a large benefit in this area as well...
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