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Bulldozer

AMD already gave us a good amount of detail on Bulldozer earlier this year. We’ll start with a quick refresher.

With Nehalem, Intel moved to a more modular design process that would allow it the ability to quickly configure different versions of the chip to hit various markets. With Bulldozer, AMD is doing the same.

The basic building block is the Bulldozer module. AMD calls this a dual-core module because it has two independent integer cores and a single shared floating point core that can service instructions from two independent threads. The two thread machine is larger than a single core but smaller than two cores with straight duplication of resources.

All else being the same, it should give you more threaded performance than a single SMT (Hyper Threaded) core but less than two dedicated cores. The savings are obviously on the die side. AMD tells us that the second integer core increases the Bulldozer module die by around 12%, despite significantly increasing performance in threaded integer applications.

Processors may implement anywhere from one to four Bulldozer modules and will be referred to as 2 to 8 core CPUs. Each core appears to the OS as a logical processor similar to what you get with Hyper Threading. A CPU with four Bulldozer modules would appear as an 8-threaded processor under Task Manager in Windows.

AMD argues that the Bulldozer module is ideal provisioning of hardware. With SMT (Hyper Threading) you force too much into a single core, while with traditional multicore you often waste hardware as any idle resources are duplicated across the chip.

Bulldozer CPUs will be AMD’s first 32nm processors manufactured at GlobalFoundries.

The new details today are about everything inside of the Bulldozer module.

Bobcat Performance & Power A Real Redesign
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  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    Comments like this really bother me. You may not care about netbooks, but a lot of people do. Current ones don't pass the grandma test - your grandmother can do whatever task she needs to on them, like check e-mail, browse the internet, watch HD video - and any advance here is welcome.

    Generally speaking a netbook is not supposed to be your main machine, but something you can chuck into your bag and take with you and do a little work on here and there. I write a lot, and have to work on other peoples' computers from time to time, so a netbook that doesn't completely suck is invaluable to me. Netbook performance is dismal right now, but Bobcat could successfully fix this market segment.

    So no, you're not interested in netbooks and you'd rather be raked through hot coals than purchase one. But that just means they're not useful - TO YOU. There are a lot of people here interested in what Bobcat can do for these portables, and I count myself among them.
    Reply
  • Lonbjerg - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - link

    I don't care that many people care for mediocore performance in a crappy format.
    Not matter what you do with a netbook, it will alway be lacking.

    I don't care what gandma wants (she will buy intel BTW, due to Intel's brand recognition)

    I don't care for Atom either.
    Or i3
    Or i5
    Or Phenom
    I do care about a replacement for my i7 @ 3.5GHz...
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - link

    I'm trying to figure out why you're commenting on any of this at all. Reply
  • flipmode - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    Seriously Anand, it is crummy that I cannot find a whole section of your website. I hate to spam an entirely separate article, but how completely lame it is to have to spend 15 minutes doing a Google advanced search to find the Anandtech article I'm looking for.

    One of the very, very few truly Class A+ hardware sites on the internet - you can count all the members of that class on one hand - and you make it seriously hard to find past articles and you completely OMIT a link to an entire category of your reviews. Insane.

    Please put a link to the "System" section somewhere. Please!
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    Our system section hasn't had a lot of updates, but you can get there via:
    http://www.anandtech.com/tag/systems

    In fact, most common tags can be put there (i.e. /AMD, /Intel, /NVIDIA, /HP, /ASUS, etc.) The only catch is that many of the tags will only bring up articles since the site redesign, so you'll want to stick with the older main topics for some areas. Hope that helps.
    Reply
  • mino - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    "so I’m wondering if we’ll see Bulldozer adopt a 3 - 4 channel DDR3 memory controller"

    Bulldozer will use current G34 platform. Hoe that answers your wonder :)
    Reply
  • VirtualLarry - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    BullDozer sounds like amazing stuff. I wonder, if the way that they have arranged int units into modules, if that means that we will be getting more cores for our dollars, compared to Intel. More REAL cores, I mean. I'm just a little disappointed that the int pipelines went from 3 ALU to 2 ALU, I hope that doesn't affect performance too much. Reply
  • gruffi - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Integer instruction pipelines are increased from 3 to 4. That's 33% more peak throughput. The number of ALUs/AGUs to keep these pipelines busy is meaningless without knowing details. K10 has 3 ALUs and 3 AGUs, but they are bottlenecked and partially idling most of the time. Bulldozer can do more operations per cycle while drawing less power, even with only 2 ALUs and 2 AGUs. How can that be disappointing? Reply
  • ezodagrom - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    I think Bulldozer has the potential to be really competitive, mainly because Sandy Bridges looks quite unimpressive.
    In a recent leaked powerpoint from Intel, apparently until Q3 2011 the best Intel CPU is still going to be Gulftown based, possibly Core i7 990X. According to Intel benchmarks on the leaked powerpoint, the best Sandy Bridge, that is, Core i7 2600, apparently will be around 15% to 25% better than the i7 870, with the i7 980X being 25% to 35% better than the i7 2600.
    Reply
  • Mat3 - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    I have a question.. it was earlier speculated that BD would have four ALU pipelines per integer core. It was thought that one way they could make use of them was to send a branch down two pipes and take the correct result. Obviously this isn't the case, but my question is, why not? Wouldn't it be better to do that and just discard the branch predictors entirely? Why isn't that better? Reply

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