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AMD’s new microprocessor devised from the ground up vouches to take on further generations of Intel chips, called the Bulldozer FX. But will it dent into Intel’s territory? May be it just might. The future looks firm with this new architecture provided AMD organizes it correctly and eliminates the historical power problem plaguing recurrence.

I have used Intel chips for 20 years. Computing in the early days was lucid to understand and anybody could get involved and start their own projects. Hardware has dramatically changed and complexity has increased exponentially. Buying hardware then was like purchasing an assembly line produced spaceship…..phew!!. The Pentium’s and early Xeon’s. The cost almost killed you. With very few competitors manufacturing microprocessors, Intel was the ruler and no one complained.

AMD bulldozer FX was released 12th october this month and a week and a half later Intel core i7- 2700k. The highest end Bulldozer will cost $245 plus a few extra. AMD touts this chip as the next generation architecture succeeding the k10 micro-architecture upon which further CPU’s will be based. So is the Bulldozer a failure or the next generation terminator. The benchmark that was released before the launch — the much hyped 8.5 GHz mark dual core enabled bulldozer achieved with LN2 ( liquid nitrogen) and then LHe (liquid helium) led by Sami Makinen proved that this new chip will take all the worst kinds of torture the future holds for it but at this point of time is rather insignificant. After the launch it operated stable at 4.6 GHz octo-core enabled, a 1GHZ jump over stock 3.6 GHz with stability persisting at 5GHz with air coolers like Thermalright’s Silver Arrow or IFX-14 inferno and Noctua’s NH-D14. And then you have Corsair’s H100 and H80 liquid coolers. But a new problem arises at such high frequencies and that being power consumption that actually berates this chip and makes Intel’s 2600k a worthwhile buy. AMD now vouches to release very soon a B3 stepping of this chip with improved performance. Whether or not this will help, pessimism is always certain and everyone knows it wont make ‘much’ of a difference. Now the Benchmarks of this chip against the i5 2500k and i7 2600k show that Intel is much better than Bulldozer FX but in some tests the FX overpowers the high end 2600k which shows that the benchmarks really aren’t regulated throughout the spectrum.
The motherboard of this chip is the highly recommended 990fx chipset with the AM3+ socket. But this board and technology is very old albeit very stable.This chipset is pretty old based on the 800 series and predated by the 700 series. So what does this exactly mean? AMD has a reputation for backward compatibility for newer chips to work on older boards with an older socket. Which means Bulldozer FX is perhaps the first to dictate since AMD’s k10 micro-architecture that its needs aren’t well met with. It will need a newer board with optimized specifications. But then again this is panned by critics and AMD users too. But in this rush its too early to conclude anything.
So where exactly does the Bulldozer win? It has an IMC( integrated memory controller) with handles dual channel DRAM base frequency of 1866 MHz unlike Intel’s triple channel 1333 MHz. Another thing of mention would be the end of life of DDR3 memory. As of now there is no board on the market with DDR4 2133 MHz+ @ 1.2 volts. So will the Bulldozer perform better at 2600 MHz ram speeds? The Bulldozer’s IPC ( instructions per clock) isn’t optimized well enough and Intel chips perform better. If AMD can get this right then this chip shall be the first choice of purchase. With PCIe 3.0 boards slowly saturating the market and yet to be released AMD radeon 7000 series graphics cards only reiterates the fact that older technology runs newer ones meaning a modern very high end motherboard is rather pretty old using older controllers.
One of the biggest problems for AMD historically has been threading OR maybe it isn’t. In lightly handled tasks the bulldozer’s performance drops below the Phenom II. Which means an older 5 year old athlon x2 chip that faced similar problems because software and applications at that point of time did not stress the processor enough and required volumetric processing to make the chip work, now work flawlessly. Today with beefy programs and operating system kernels make the athlon x2 literally bleed Intel’s core i7 although i7 obliterates the athlon in nuclear fire. Imagine being attacked by a micro swarm of female anopheles mosquitoes after being ‘vaccinated’. True there isn’t any vaccine. But what does this mean for Bulldozer. It has already been benchmarked in single and multi-threaded applications– which concludes when a single application requires a significant amount of processor power the Intel chip defeats Bulldozer by a huge margin. Now run the same application again on the Bulldozer system with 2 heavy duty applications running extra in the background and you will see that it performs a bit better than Intel’s. As of now people wont start 200 applications just to leverage Bulldozer’s performance so only the future might hold promise.
So should you buy the Bulldozer FX? Well this is a trick question but a simple answer would be NO. At this point of time you are Better off buying core i7 2600k than the Bulldozer or even the newly released 2700k. Better wait till Bulldozer gets better. The i7 2600k and 2700k are reaching end of life with quad memory channel Sandy-bridge E and 22nm Ivy bridge soon to make their mark. Another point to note is that you wont disappear into oblivion because of obsolescence if you do buy the Bulldozer unlike Intel’s chips which are famous for. Time and again AMD hardware is much better integrated than Intel having a much lower failure rate in practice apart from the flak AMD gets. Yes I have spent thousands of dollars on Intel systems over the years because of hardware failure and ram problems but the same ram works without problems on AMD’s systems.
With semiconductor industries gassing out of technology and heavily venturing into nanotechnology it seems certain with mass production of memristor based technology that things will take a completely different shape in the next 3 years. With CPU cache, DRAM and HDD’s getting jeopardized by incorporating memristors, it gets more than interesting.

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