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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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  • Gasaraki88 - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    I think the main competitor for Intel in the future is going to be the ARM processor makers. As Intel goes in to that space with the x86 and the ARM chips getting faster and faster and Windows 8 supporting ARM, you get a mix and soon ARM chip will invade the desktop/laptop market.

    AMD is done.
    Reply
  • ppro - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    I decided to get this new cpu from www.amd.com Reply
  • navair2 - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    I decided to try AMD when I "inherited" my brother's older socket 939 hardware some years ago, then built my own using a Phenom II X4 940 BE.

    At the time it was released, the 940 wasn't too far behind the i7 920 in many respects, plus it was about $70 cheaper...I was very satisfied with my decision. However, after 3 years of advancement by both companies and watching Intel ONCE AGAIN come up with something that gives excellent performance with ever-increasing power reduction, I was on the fence about Bulldozer even before the reviews came out.

    Once I saw the majority of the reviews, I knew what side of the fence to be on for obvious reasons..."Bulldozer" just didn't hit the expectations I thought it should, especially when it comes to load power consumption. Perhaps in a couple years when it matures, but I didn't feel like waiting for AMD to iron out all the wrinkles.

    My next build is already done and sorry to say, it's NOT AMD. For what I do the i5-2500K is just too good to pass up at combo prices that result in a $200 processor ( less than what I payed for my X4 940 when IT was new).

    Best wishes AMD, I hope you can make "Bulldozer" work, but for now "BD" stands for "Big Disappointment". I'll check back with you in a year or so to see how things are doing.
    Reply
  • johnsmith9875 - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Intel's first "dual core" was actually 2 processors on one chip.

    They could have saved a lot of engineering time by merely shoehorning two X6 Thuban processors together at 32nm and sell it as a 12 core. Now that would have rocked!
    Reply
  • Poxenium - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    Does anybody remember the first Intel processors with the entirely new architecture called Core Duo, Conroe-L or something ? They were pretty lousy at first, with slightly higher performance than the previous generation, but constantly overheating. later the Core 2 Duo was a complete success, not to mention the first generation iCore processors and of course Sandy Bridge.
    Considering the fact that these Bulldozer processors are AMD's first attempt at a completely new architecture, I say that both performance and power consumption are at reasonable levels. Upcoming models will surely do a lot better.
    Reply
  • shbdf - Friday, November 04, 2011 - link


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    Reply
  • Wolfpup - Friday, November 04, 2011 - link

    I'd love to see how well the SMP client runs on an "8 core" Bulldozer part compared with a quad Sandy Bridge, and for that matter a 6 core Phenom 2 and 6 core Nehalam.

    It SEEMS like it should do really well, right? Or not? Because basically an 8 core Bulldozer is a quad core when it comes to floating point, right? And Folding uses a lot of floating point? Or...?

    Also, if it really has double the transistor count of Sandy Bridge...where is the performance? It seems like even on heavily threaded stuff it's just kind of about equal with Sandy Bridge, which doesn't seem right....
    Reply
  • JumpingJack - Sunday, November 06, 2011 - link

    Except for the fact even with that 'professional' software the competitor is just as fast or faster consuming 30% less power.

    it is unfortunate for AMD and their fan base bit BD is definitely a dud.
    Reply
  • JumpingJack - Sunday, November 06, 2011 - link

    Considering the power consumption and the reported problems with many games, e.g. Dues Ex, Portal 2, Shogun ... I would see this more appealing around the $180 mark. The 1100T is a better buy if you must do AMD. Reply
  • JumpingJack - Sunday, November 06, 2011 - link

    The statement is partially true. There are quite a few apps that the Thuban outnguns BD and many cases where it out performs on energy effiency as well. Reply

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