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

#1
faramir
PaNiC said:
the funny thing is amd would have got more proformace if they just did a 32nm die skrink on the thuban
Die-shrink, additional instructions and improved Turbo Core. These should all be doable in the same timeframe and there's absolutely no way such a product would be in any way inferior to 45 nm Thuban.

It would run colder, use lower Vcore, at the very least match the performance at same frequency, Turbo much higher than the original and vastly improve performance in certain tasks (where new instructions can be utilized).
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#2
jpierce55
I was hoping it would ~ match 2600k. I am only slightly disappointed in performance. I think it is within the realistic range to be expected. The power consumption is what really disappoints me.

If somebody had a cpu that outperformed my cpu in day to day functions, used less power, and did not cost $300+.... that would convince me to upgrade.
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#3
AhokZYashA
i think AMD is working together with the power company,

so AMD can sell the processor as cheap as possible, while get their profit from the power company,

because of that amazing load power consumption
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#4
Vincy Boy
I really was hoping for something that would truly be competitive with intel's offerings. I am disappoint:shadedshu. The power consumption is what has really put me off though. I have stopped using my i7 930 for a month because power bills have been sky rocketing (paying near US $100 is no fun in a third world country). I'll be selling my x58 parts and for sure getting a 2500k.

Still I have hope that they can pull off something good with pile driver. Consumers need real competition, come on AMD!
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#5
option350z
I'll still buy it along with the newer sandy bridge-e stuff. It's too bad that the performance wasn't up to the hype but at least I can still put a large heat sink on it unlike Intel's newest upcoming socket lmao.
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#6
BrooksyX
Sad to see amd..

But so glad I went sandybridge!!!!!! :p
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#7
15th Warlock
Another fine example of hype backfiring, tech news sites are just as guilty as AMD of setting hopes so high by hyping a design that suffered more delays than any other modern processor in recent history.

It was obvious that this architecture wouldn't deliver the performance it was being hyped for.

Having said that, AMD is being smart by marketing the processor as a economic alternative, and this will mean more ppl will have access to multi core systems, we all know that the global economy isn't doing so well after all; it's just that as I said before, the "price-performance shock" used to hype the processor, won't be quite as dramatic as expected.
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#8
Imhoteps
Well, developers have shifted their priorities for the number of cores. In this case it seems that the specific performance of individual core was reduced, but the resulting design has opened the way for a low-cost eight-or even more complex processors. This is - a very strong move for the server market, where the party is ruled by multi-threaded processors and large number of cores is seriously in demand. So, very likely, a new microarchitecture, AMD Bulldozer will significantly improve its market performance servers, perhaps even in near future (Piledrivers?).
However, today we met with an FX, built on this microarchitecture, but aimed at the desktop. And let`s be honest - here is a mismatch between the hardware capabilities of the typical desktop Bulldozer and loads manifested itself in full measure.
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#9
araditus
I have been waiting for these numbers for a lonnnnng time, but I must say I am serisouly tired of sythetic benchmarks, ever since teh nvidia furmark fiasco (yes you vantage programmed to favor green stuff) I just dont believe any benchmark other than ones that are time outputs like handbrake and h264, windows and photoshop loadtimes (for ssd ofcourse) stuff that is real world, why cant we just put a 2600k and a 8150 in their respective machines and give them the same real life task.....

and to be perfectly honest, other than the power users (although I am one) both of those processors are far to strong for 85% of us (or that we really need.... [the last line was my opinion not based on any fact])
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#10
LAN_deRf_HA
The worst part is the power consumption. Bad performance could be overcome by price. That power draw is truly astronomical. An overclocked 8150 uses almost 200 watts more than a further overclocked 2600k. Unless all your energy is provided by some free renewable power source that makes the whole platform an invalid choice for any application. I'd wager it fails even in it's intended server market. Sure it has configurable TDP but what good is that if you have to scale performance down so far it can't even come close to the competition?
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#11
Bjorn_Of_Iceland
Ima buy this and slap a GTX480 on it. Ultimate polar cap melting combo
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#12
KainXS
heh, my friend told me it would destroy intels cpu's and bought a new board for the occasion and look what happened;)

still feel bad for em,

when the 2600K came out AMD should have known they were screwed comparing the 2 in internal testing but still they hyped everyone up, never trust the hype game guys.
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#13
stupido
Bjorn_Of_Iceland said:
Ima buy this and slap a GTX480 on it. Ultimate polar cap melting combo
with that combo you don't need central heating system... :laugh:
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#14
[H]@RD5TUFF
AMD just released a collective wet fart called the FX series.:roll:
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#15
Thefumigator
I'm somewhat dissapointed. However, I still feel Valencia could be a good multitasking monster on the cheap.

Also, power draw in idle is better than people is talking about, its in load where trouble starts, I would try the 95w part.

I agree that shrinking thuban could have been better, but IMHO thuban has hit the limit, and we may never see a thuban beating a 2600k or Ivy Bridge after the shrink or cache increase.

What I mean is that bulldozer seems to a better design with room for improvements on the run, I think someday next year this will pay off.

On a foot note, its not a dissaster considering it was made during a period of world economical trouble.
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#16
Polarman
My biggest gripe apart of the sub performance and slightly higher load power draw is the disable core sheme.

Basically, the "fab" produces (or tries to produce) all the same chip. Like an army of star wars clone, all identical! But this is impossible...

Some yields are not perfect. The perfect ones are labeled 8150, the one that can't reach the desired frequencies are called 8120.

The ones with 2 (cough!) defective (cough!) cores are called 6100 and the half amputated parts that are left are named 4100.

I really doubt in my mind that they would purpously take a fully perfect 8150 and disable 4 of it's 8 cores just to make a quad core part.

I can not claim the above statement as fact. But it does sure looks like it.

I was expecting a wee bit better.
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#17
dirtyferret
interesting review by bit-tech

AMD FX-8150 – why so bad?
Apart from the idle power draw of the FX-8150 – which we’ll point once again is an excellent achievement by AMD considering that the FX-8150 is a high-performance desktop part and its rival Core i5-2500K and Core i7-2600K are both essentially power-efficient laptop processors that have been beefed up a little for desktop PCs – the results show AMD’s latest CPU to be awful at everyday, consumer applications.

It’s a lack of single-threaded performance that holds the FX-8150 back – its efforts in our single-threaded image editing test were dire compared to every other processor on test. Even worse, this supposedly 8-core CPU running at 3.6GHz was hardly much faster than a six-core Phenom II X6 1100T running at 3.3GHz in heavily multi-threaded applications that saturate all available execution cores. In Cinebench R11.5 and WPrime – applications where a 8-core CPU should dominate a 6-core (let alone a quad-core) – we saw a lack of performance.

The answer, we think, comes from Bulldozer’s history. We started this review with a brief history lesson for a reason: we really believe that Bulldozer was intended for servers and workstations, not desktop PC running consumer applications. The lack of grunt-per-core doesn’t matter too much in a server or workstation, as most professional applications are n-threaded and balance that load evenly to saturate every core available. Furthermore, it’s widely assumed that there will be an Opteron based on the Bulldozer design that incorporates eight modules, for 16 execution cores. Bulldozer, we believe, is built for massive parallelism.


http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2011/10/12/amd-fx-8150-review/13

so AMD decided to cut cost and develop a server CPU and pass it off as a PC CPU...:shadedshu
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#18
alexsubri
It amazes me how many Intel Fanboy's are glamoring themselves over AMD's performance. A good example is when nVidia's 4xx line up came along and ATI 6xxx series were pounding them. Heck, even some 5xxx were pounding them. Yet, the tide changed when the 5xx series came out!

I personally think that the next line up from AMD (Piledriver) will refute my statement. However time will tell. As for me, I am disappointed with FX-8150. Where is the damn press release from AMD?!
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#20
alexsubri
dirtyferret said:
I actually prefer AMD but this bulldozer crap is the last straw
The intel fan boys have every right to gloat, they choose the better processor.
Bulldozer just came out, it did meet short to peoples expectations, but cut it some slack. Here are the final details
[TABLE]AMD FX-8150 Intel Core i5/i7 [Sandy Bridge]
Native DDR3-1866 Support Native DDR3-1333 Support
8 X86 Cores 4 X86 Cores
8MB L2 Cache 1MB L2 Cache
8MB L3 Cache 8 MB L3 Cache
3.6GHz Base Frequency 3.4GHz Base Frequency
4.2Ghz Base Frequency 3.8Ghz Base Frequency
+600MHz Turbo +400MHz Turbo
Advanced ISA: SSE3, SSE4.1/4.2, AES, AVX Plus FMA4, XOP Advanced ISA: SSE3, SSE4.1/4.2, AES, AVX
AMD CrossFireX™ Technology Support: 2x16 AMD CrossFireX™ Technology Support: 2x8
AMD FX all unlocked1 2 Unlocked K Parts (+$23) (P67 MB)[/TABLE]
Posted on Reply
#21
[H]@RD5TUFF
alexsubri said:
It amazes me how many Intel Fanboy's are glamoring themselves over AMD's performance. A good example is when nVidia's 4xx line up came along and ATI 6xxx series were pounding them. Heck, even some 5xxx were pounding them. Yet, the tide changed when the 5xx series came out!

I personally think that the next line up from AMD (Piledriver) will refute my statement. However time will tell. As for me, I am disappointed with FX-8150. Where is the damn press release from AMD?!
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Ox0Uwwd1f8s/TZwAQplkQRI/AAAAAAAAByc/aUTX1xqsTBc/s1600/Tissue-Box-Cry-Baby.jpg
The problem is AMD people are always saying "well the next chip willl cream intel" but that "next time" never seems to come.
Posted on Reply
#22
alexsubri
[H]@RD5TUFF said:
The problem is AMD people are always saying "well the next chip willl cream intel" but that "next time" never seems to come.
That's just crony marketing :laugh: , they need to higher a better marketing team
Posted on Reply
#23
[H]@RD5TUFF
alexsubri said:
That's just crony marketing :laugh: , they need to higher a better marketing team
They need to make better chips to hell with marketing.
Posted on Reply
#24
dirtyferret
alexsubri said:
Bulldozer just came out, it did meet short to peoples expectations, but cut it some slack. Here are the final details
[TABLE]AMD FX-8150 Intel Core i5/i7 [Sandy Bridge]
Native DDR3-1866 Support Native DDR3-1333 Support
8 X86 Cores 4 X86 Cores
8MB L2 Cache 1MB L2 Cache
8MB L3 Cache 8 MB L3 Cache
3.6GHz Base Frequency 3.4GHz Base Frequency
4.2Ghz Base Frequency 3.8Ghz Base Frequency
+600MHz Turbo +400MHz Turbo
Advanced ISA: SSE3, SSE4.1/4.2, AES, AVX Plus FMA4, XOP Advanced ISA: SSE3, SSE4.1/4.2, AES, AVX
AMD CrossFireX™ Technology Support: 2x16 AMD CrossFireX™ Technology Support: 2x8
AMD FX all unlocked1 2 Unlocked K Parts (+$23) (P67 MB)[/TABLE]
those are just spec stats, go read the bit-tech review I linked above. the FX-8150 has a slower clock speed then phenom II (a CPU released in 2008). a dual core i3-2100 can beat it in gaming. AMD has released five families of quad core CPUs, phenom I (garbage) athlon II (mediocre) phenom II (solid) A-series (mediocre - in the CPU department) bulldozer (garbage).

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/434?vs=289
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/434?vs=362
Posted on Reply
#25
DigitalUK
did anyone actually read the HardOCP reviews, yes the bulldozer lost out in single thread performance sythetic benchmarks (SuperPi) but it was never run at its native 1866 memory speed instead cripled with 1333 or 1600, every overclock the intel system was running at 4.8Ghz and the bulldozer given 4.6Ghz with the i7's also given extra on the memory as well as clock speed (and on encoding and heavy multi thread gaming the bulldozer either came out exactly the same or in some cases ahead of i7 and i5).
its release day today so prices are abit higher but still pretty good, if they drop the price £30-£40 which will deffo happen over the next month or so ,it looks very tempting indeed.
to me thats a hell of an achevement, apart from the single thread side of things.
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