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
Tatty_One
Senior Moderator
alexsubri said:
It's all about strategics right now. AMD is in a chess game with Intel right now. AMD had Intel in check (will lower prices causing Intel to lower their prices , as well. ). Intel's next move will be Piledriver vs i7 2700k ...
AMD cannot afford to be too strategic, they have struggled in market share terms for too long, profitability without superior (or at least significant) market share is showing a downward trend, this is not a fanboi comment, on the contrary, I might well replace my old system with a 4 core Bulldozer setup but whichever way you care to look at things, unless Bulldozer increases market share pretty significantly the trend will in the mid to long term continue (sadly) on a downward spiral, you only need to look at Q2 of 2011 market shares......

Desktop CPU - Intel 70.9%, AMD 28.9%
Mobile CPU - Intel 84.4%, AMD 15.2%
Server/workstation CPU - Intel 94.5%, AMD 5.5%

There was an article written by the leadership team at AMD in February 2005 saying that by 2015 AMD WILL hold at least 50% of the CPU marketing share, at the same time a Joint report by IBM and a US University stated that if AMD did not double their market share within 5 years (2010) they would go bust, they have not.

Let's hope that Bulldozer is a success, just because enthusiasts who make up about 5% of consumers think it's fail does not actually mean it will fail, it may well continue to increase AMD's market share, lets all hope it does because a world without AMD will be a much sadder (and more expensive) place.
Posted on Reply
#2
theubersmurf
Were people really expecting it to outperfrom intel parts? If they had architecture to outperform intel, it would have been in the previous generations parts. They've had several iterations of chip architecture in the time since Bulldozer was announced. If they had something it would be in the mix already, the idea of leaving it out when you could be competitive makes no sense.
Posted on Reply
#3
DigitalUK
CDdude just wait for the release price to drop and pick it up abit cheaper.
Posted on Reply
#4
TheOne
alexsubri said:
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!
The GTX 400 series came out before the HD 6000 series, and the first 2 HD 6000's were the mainstream HD 6870 and 6850, they came out in October last year, and both are slower than the GTX 480 and 470.

The GTX 580 came out last November and replaced the GTX 480 as the fastest single GPU, and then the GTX 570 came out in early December before the HD 6970 and 6950 were released, the HD 6970 compete's with the GTX 570.

The GTX 560 Ti came out in January to replace the GTX 470.

The crown for fastest card is I believe still debated between the HD 6990 and the GTX 590.
Posted on Reply
#5
dirtyferret
mtosev said:
Or you can wait for AMD to release Bulldozer 2. maybe they get it right with B2:)
if not B2, there is always B3
Posted on Reply
#6
dirtyferret
theubersmurf said:
Were people really expecting it to outperfrom intel parts?
i think people where hoping for something 20-25% clock for clock increase over phenom II. instead you have cpus that are single thread slower then phenom II and get killed by SB.
Posted on Reply
#7
brandonwh64
Addicted to Bacon and StarCrunches!!!
Jizzler said:
No! That where BD's strength lies! ;)
LOL NO bulldozer was the one trying to show off its REAL 8 cores remember NOT THREADS
Posted on Reply
#8
techtard
Well played, good sir! :)
Posted on Reply
#9
blixx1981
Yellow&Nerdy? said:
They might as well have called it Phenom III...
LOL that's an insult to Phenom. A theoretical Phenom III would have been better than Zambezi. :p
Posted on Reply
#10
repman244
I just went through quite a few different reviews and I fail to see a reason why would someone pick the 8150 over a 2600K or even a 2500K and let alone the 2 or 3 module version.
Maybe if you run only heavy multithread all the time, but in reality it's pretty much mixed load all the time.
I really don't know what went wrong here, I mean the chip has 2B transistors huge cache and barely beats an X6 which has around 900M transistors and is built on 45nm.
The thing I noticed is that the cache latency is horrible but I don't know how much impact that has on the performance, but there must be some impact.
We can only hope that GF starts getting better yields, because right now they clearly have yield issues, since there aren't many different CPU models.

I did notice that it overclocks nicely but the power consumption goes through the roof, I can see a lot of blown VRM's on weaker boards...

I really feel sorry for everyone who bought a 990fx board and are now stuck with a PII because the "upgrade" is not worth it.

We can only hope that the process and yields get better so AMD can ramp up the clock speed/IPC further, I guess the waiting for Piledriver has begun, if it fails/gets delayed, AMD will be in a very bad situation...

Bulldozer might have given them a nice starting point for the future but for now it did not deliver.
These CPU's do not deserve to be called FX at all.

I wonder if they would be better off just shrinking the PII to 32nm and going straight for Piledriver to have more time to improve.
For now BD = Phenom I; PD = Phenom II; I just hope they improve the design to keep in touch with the competition, it's better for all of us.
Posted on Reply
#11
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
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
Yup, agreed and great pic, btw. :D

I've had Intel for years and I can tell you I'm not gloating. We need the competition to keep leapfrogging each other every generation, not one company dominating the other like this. This way, performance stagnates and prices stay high. :mad:

Just look at the next SB platform: two major bugs and performance barely better than the current generation and all because AMD couldn't compete. Yeah, something to look forward to. :rolleyes:

I tell you, it must have been soul destroying for those engineers working on Bulldozer for the last year or two, knowing it was gonna come up second best after all that hard work. I don't envy them.
Posted on Reply
#12
Jizzler
brandonwh64 said:
LOL NO bulldozer was the one trying to show off its REAL 8 cores remember NOT THREADS
techtard said:
Well played, good sir! :)
Points for cleverness ;)

However, threads executed is what AMD was showing off by "real" core design.
Posted on Reply
#13
ensabrenoir
What gets me is if amd knew it couldn't compete..... why tarnish ...no destroy the fx brand? U don't see any ford Cobra windstars rolling around or any hemi powered town and country mini vans. Even if pile driver is the real deal, the bad taste of bd will tarnish it.
Posted on Reply
#14
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
ensabrenoir said:
What gets me is if amd knew it couldn't compete..... why tarnish ...no destroy the fx brand? U don't see any ford Cobra windstars rolling around or any hemi powered town and country mini vans. Even if pile driver is the real deal, the bad taste of bd will tarnish it.
I'm not sure people care about that name anymore. I know I dont.
Posted on Reply
#15
erocker
ensabrenoir said:
U don't see any ford Cobra windstars rolling around or any hemi powered town and country mini vans.
Only in a more perfect world would these things exist. :(
Posted on Reply
#16
ensabrenoir
Frick said:
I'm not sure people care about that name anymore. I know I dont.
After today fx dosent means squat
Posted on Reply
#17
TheMailMan78
Big Member
erocker said:
Only in a more perfect world would these things exist. :(
Reminds me of the SHO. So much win.
Posted on Reply
#18
PolRoger
Kantastic said:
IMO the price is a little off. I'd be hard pressed to pay more than $200 for the 8150 model. If anything, the long-term overclocked power draw will bump the cost up a chunk.
entropy13 said:
If the 8150 and 8120 is priced at $200 and $165 respectively, then it would be $0.56 per percentage point for the 8150 and $0.50 per percentage point for the 8120. This would offset, at least, the raw performance advantages of the 2600K and 2500K respectively.
I was really looking forward to trying out a new AMD build/combo because I haven't tested/run with them since s939 but not now. :(

However if these new parts eventually drop down in price then maybe just maybe I'd might reconsider?? Still SB-E/2011 is coming and when/(if ;)) the performance gap increases yet again... I may just go that route.
Posted on Reply
#19
[H]@RD5TUFF
DigitalUK said:
CDdude just wait for the release price to drop and pick it up abit cheaper.
DONT DO IT:shadedshu
Posted on Reply
#20
Wrigleyvillain
PTFO or GTFO
TheMailMan78 said:
So much win
FO SHO

Don't have anything positive to say about Bulldozer but at least can contribute the above.
Posted on Reply
#21
_JP_
After reading some reviews all I can say is this: Bulldozer needed more time to be refined and AMD's marketing team should be fired (from a cannon pointed at the sun).
That's all really.
Although I am a little dissapointed with the 8150, I am very curious about the 4100 and how will it fare against the more expensive i3 and the cheaperst i5. Also the 6100 against the i5 2400.
My biggest dissapointment, however, is that this is bad for us, ethusiasts and especially for fanboys (both sides). Why? It's a huge hit in AMD fanboi's egos and a hit in intel fanboi's wallets.
I was expecting that, with bulldozer, a performance war would start again, with price battles and real innovation with each new model and platform. Seem slike I will have to wait some more time.
I don't think naming this processor line "Phenom III" is such a bad idea.
/My2cents
Posted on Reply
#22
Fatal
I think people expected too much when AMD put the FX name on it. I didn't expect it to smoke Intel chips they screwed up using FX to me.

Edit. Thanks btarunr for the low down on the reviews I don't have days to look over all the reviews that are out. :toast:
Posted on Reply
#23
tilldeath
looks like I may be waiting on 8170 or a price drop on the 8150's before a purchase.
Posted on Reply
#24
dir_d
I honestly believe the chips are broken. I really do think there is something wrong with them. In some reviews the 6 core was performing the same as the 8 core on applications that love cores. If not the chips then software apps need to be compiled to work correctly with bulldozer which is dumb.
Posted on Reply
#25
_JP_
YautjaLord is fine reading the reviews and he is noticing that many of the reviews are either using ES chips, or B1/B2 chips. I still stand by my opinion, for now, but I'm going to wait for reviews using retail chips, to make up my mind about this.
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment