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Gaming Performance

AMD clearly states in its reviewer's guide that CPU bound gaming performance isn't going to be a strong point of the FX architecture, likely due to its poor single threaded performance. However it is useful to look at both CPU and GPU bound scenarios to paint an accurate picture of how well a CPU handles game workloads, as well as what sort of performance you can expect in present day titles.

Civilization V

Civ V's lateGameView benchmark presents us with two separate scores: average frame rate for the entire test as well as a no-render score that only looks at CPU performance.

Civilization V—1680 x 1050—DX11 High Quality

While we're GPU bound in the full render score, AMD's platform appears to have a bit of an advantage here. We've seen this in the past where one platform will hold an advantage over another in a GPU bound scenario and it's always tough to explain. Within each family however there is no advantage to a faster CPU, everything is just GPU bound.

Civilization V—1680 x 1050—DX11 High Quality

Looking at the no render score, the CPU standings are pretty much as we'd expect. The FX-8150 is thankfully a bit faster than its predecessors, but it still falls behind Sandy Bridge.

Crysis: Warhead

Crysis Warhead Assault Benchmark—1680 x 1050 Mainstream DX10 64-bit

In CPU bound environments in Crysis Warhead, the FX-8150 is actually slower than the old Phenom II. Sandy Bridge continues to be far ahead.

Dawn of War II

Dawn of War II—1680 x 1050—Ultra Settings

We see similar results under Dawn of War II. Lightly threaded performance is simply not a strength of AMD's FX series, and as a result even the old Phenom II X6 pulls ahead.

DiRT 3

We ran two DiRT 3 benchmarks to get an idea for CPU bound and GPU bound performance. First the CPU bound settings:

DiRT 3—Aspen Benchmark—1024 x 768 Low Quality

The FX-8150 doesn't do so well here, again falling behind the Phenom IIs. Under more real world GPU bound settings however, Bulldozer looks just fine:

DiRT 3—Aspen Benchmark—1920 x 1200 High Quality

Dragon Age

Dragon Age Origins—1680 x 1050—Max Settings (no AA/Vsync)

Dragon Age is another CPU bound title, here the FX-8150 falls behind once again.

Metro 2033

Metro 2033 is pretty rough even at lower resolutions, but with more of a GPU bottleneck the FX-8150 equals the performance of the 2500K:

Metro 2033 Frontline Benchmark—1024 x 768—DX11 High Quality

Metro 2033 Frontline Benchmark—1920 x 1200—DX11 High Quality

Rage vt_benchmark

While id's long awaited Rage title doesn't exactly have the best benchmarking abilities, there is one unique aspect of the game that we can test: Megatexture. Megatexture works by dynamically taking texture data from disk and constructing texture tiles for the engine to use, a major component for allowing id's developers to uniquely texture the game world. However because of the heavy use of unique textures (id says the original game assets are over 1TB), id needed to get creative on compressing the game's textures to make them fit within the roughly 20GB the game was allotted.

The result is that Rage doesn't store textures in a GPU-usable format such as DXTC/S3TC, instead storing them in an even more compressed format (JPEG XR) as S3TC maxes out at a 6:1 compression ratio. As a consequence whenever you load a texture, Rage needs to transcode the texture from its storage codec to S3TC on the fly. This is a constant process throughout the entire game and this transcoding is a significant burden on the CPU.

The Benchmark: vt_benchmark flushes the transcoded texture cache and then times how long it takes to transcode all the textures needed for the current scene, from 1 thread to X threads. Thus when you run vt_benchmark 8, for example, it will benchmark from 1 to 8 threads (the default appears to depend on the CPU you have). Since transcoding is done by the CPU this is a pure CPU benchmark. I present the best case transcode time at the maximum number of concurrent threads each CPU can handle:

Rage vt_benchmark—1920 x 1200

The FX-8150 does very well here, but so does the Phenom II X6 1100T. Both are faster than Intel's 2500K, but not quite as good as the 2600K. If you want to see how performance scales with thread count, check out the chart below:

Starcraft 2

Starcraft 2

Starcraft 2 has traditionally done very well on Intel architectures and Bulldozer is no exception to that rule.

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

Windows 7 Application Performance Power Consumption
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  • TiGr1982 - Monday, October 17, 2011 - link

    Indeed, much much better performance was expected from BD. I was an AMD focused PC buyer since 2005, at AMD "golden age", when I purchased AMD Turion-based laptop. That CPU was actually better than the corresponding Intel competitor at the moment - Pentium M Dothan, as probaly some people remember.

    We know the rest of the story since then till now...

    But the released BD-based product in its current state seems to be barely concurrent at all on the desktop market. Presumably, its popularity will be much lower, than in case of previous Phenom II lineup...
    Reply
  • TiGr1982 - Monday, October 17, 2011 - link

    By "concurrent", I actually meant "competitive". Reply
  • psiboy - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    Why are there no benchmarks with it overclocked... especially gaming? Would be relevant as these processors are shipping unlocked as standard.. all I'm asking for is a reasonable overclock on air to be included... Reply
  • eldemoledor25 - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    I think they rushed all wanting to position their review as the first, if you read the other post of the network goes bullozer better positioned than the i7 2600K in many things over which a pricipio dicen.el problem was in the bios the asus and gigabyte motherboards, released immature bios fact overclock would hold more, as you may ASRock and MSI makes a bulldozer to 4.6 ghz be better than the i7 and i5 5.2GHz oc do not believe me check this and read well.
    1.-http: / / www.madboxpc.com/foro/topic/161318-la-verdad-sobre-el-amd-fxo-bulldozer/page__st__20

    Greetings to all!!!
    Reply
  • Martin281 - Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - link

    Well, the situation among AMDs CPU is still the same...good ideas, great expectitions and manufacturing delays resulting in inappropriate results compared to Intel. Bulldozer would have been a way competitive 2 years ago, not these days. At this point AMD desperately needs way higher clock speeds and core optimizations to be competitive..the predicted 10-15% performance per watt increasing each year is really funny when compared to planned intel´s cpu roadmap (just known information that 1Q/2012 to-be-introduce ivy bridge´s TDP in top performance class is to drop from 95W to 77W, that is almost 20% only in power consumption - not to mention performance boost caused also by 22nm manufacturing process). I am worried, that the performance gap between intel and AMD cpus is going to broaden in the near future without "any light in the darkness bringing the true competition in the CPU field". Reply
  • siniranji - Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - link

    waiting for the BD to come, but now, what a disappointment, but AMD should continue to compete with intel, otherwise, there wont be any battle to watch. I love to see a good pricing from AMD. Reply
  • loa567 - Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - link

    I think you are wrong on one point, about the FPU. You claim that one bulldozer module has the same FP capacity as earlier AMD processors. However, in reality it has twice the (theoretical) capacity Whereas each K8/K10 core had one 128-bit FP unit, each bulldozer module has 2 x 128 bit FP units. They can work together as one 256-bit, when used with the new instructions (AVX and others). See for example this page for details: http://blogs.amd.com/work/2010/10/25/the-new-flex-...

    However, it is strange that this does not show in performance. Could anyone explain this to me?
    Reply
  • Pipperox - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    It does show on performance.
    In SiSoft Sandra, 4 Bulldozer modules easily beat 6 Thuban cores.

    Same goes for floating point intensive rendering tasks such as Cinebench and 3dsMax.
    Reply
  • beck2050 - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    "in single threaded apps a good 40-50% advantage the i5 2500K enjoys over the FX-8150."
    These are the apps most people use, duh.
    core for core Bulldozer is epic fail. This is not going to be a popular desktop chip at all. As for servers, AMD's share has dropped from 20% to 5,5% in the last few years. I doubt this chip will be the savior.
    Reply
  • richaron - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    They have lost ground in the server market, so a radical new design wont make a difference...? I admire your logic.
    For the record I specifically look for programs/games which are multithreading, it often shows good programming on the whole. Unless of course there are other factors limiting the system (like net speed, or gpu). Perhaps I'm just ahead of the curve compared to you're average troll, duh.
    Reply

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