Specs for AMD’s Bulldozer CPUs Revealed

It seems like AMD is experiencing some difficulty with the yields of their chips that can hit clockspeeds of revisions B0 and B1, but we’re not certain whether it’s the base clockspeed or Turbo Core based on sources. Here’s the list of processors that the company is launching:

  • FX-8150: 3.6GHz (4.2GHz Turbo Core), 8-core, 8MB L2 cache, 125W
  • FX-8120: 3.1GHz (4GHz Turbo Core), 8-core, 8MB L2 cache, 125W/95W
  • FX-8100: 2.8GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Core), 8-core, 8MB L2 cache, 95W
  • FX-6120: Clockspeeds TBD, 6-core, 6MB L2 cache, 95W
  • FX-6100: 3.3GHz (3.9GHz Turbo Core), 6-core, 6MB L2 cache, 95W
  • FX-4120: Clockspeeds TBD, 4-core, 6MB L2 cache, 95W
  • FX-4100: 3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Core), 4-core, 4MB L2 cache, 95W

All of these CPUs will have an 8MB of L3 cache and take DDR3-1866 memory, and something to note is that they’re based on a 32nm process. We should see them surface around August or September with varying time frames for the parts.

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Sample AMD Bulldozer Chip OC’d to 4.63GHz

That’s quite a bit of “jigahertz”. So what we have under the spotlight is an engineering sample of Advanced Micro Devices’s very own FX-8130P (aka Zambezi) CPU, which is based on the Bulldozer architecture. An enthusiast from Czech Republic managed to push the 8-core chip to 4635.6MHz on air. There were blacked out screenshots, but possibly due to being an employee from an affiliated company or even AMD – we only know that the sample processor itself has 8 cores, 8MB of L3 cache, and takes DDR3-1866MHz, and is fabricated from a 32nm process.

Sadly there are no details on stock speeds, stepping, nor revision. What’s astonishing is that the overclocked managed to pull off Super Pi 1M in just 1.26s compared to an Intel i7 2600K that still took over 6 seconds while being clocked at 6.3GHz.

Demystifying AMD’s AM3 Platform and Bulldozer Compatibility

More recently we had manufacturers like ASUS and MSI claiming that some of their products in their existing line-up will in fact work with Bulldozer (AM3+ CPUs), but that may be a case of unofficial support. In the past, there were also talks and rumours of specific support – in the meantime let’s take a look at the key points of how we see the whole fiasco.

  • AMD Won’t be Officially Supporting Bulldozer on the AM3 Platform
  • Major Differences of Official and Unofficial Support
  • No New Details Coming from AMD and Manufacturers like ASUS
  • Conclusion – Few AM3 Boards will Support Bulldozer, but Performance Impact is Unknown

Word straight from AMD is that they won’t be officially supporting Bulldozer on the current AM3 platform and even though they originally had plans not to. Reason is that Bulldozer ships with certain features which includes advanced power management and clock gating capabilities and will in turn require the AM3+ socket.

For those of you wondering about “official and unofficial” support, one thing to point out is that unofficial support may hint voiding your warranty if anything were to go wrong. While on the other hand, official support is still kind of still in the grey area despite the AM2+ boards officially supported AM3 processors in the past. Ultimately it’s up to the motherboard makers to map all this out since the fix isn’t simply a BIOS update. The 780G was a good example, it was capable of supporting virtually all of AMD’s processors, but when it came to the mATX form factor boards – they didn’t have the capacity to take the 125W Phenom CPUs.

As mentioned earlier, AMD only made it clear that Bulldozer won’t be supported on AM3 and while ASUS had made previous announcements – they will cease discussing this matter publicly as per AMD’s request.

Wrapping up, some AM3 boards will inevitably support the upcoming Bulldozer processors and while the extent and overall affected performance, power consumption, and temperatures are all left unknown. Without a doubt, many companies will update their latest and greatest offerings rather than older models if they were to provide this backward compatibility. What we would suggest is that it would be better to wait on an AM3+ ready board rather than buying one that “supposedly” has support and grabbing an AM3+ CPU later on.

More Info on AMD’s Bulldozer CPUs

Intel wasn’t the only major vendor that caught our attention at the ISSCC last week, as AMD gave a detailed overview of their “Bulldozer” architecture. The company emphasizes how at the core, the processors have “modules” and integrates two “tightly linked” slim processor cores. AMD also says that the cores integrate their own L1 caches, but share high-bandwidth resources like a floating point unit, L2 cache as well as fetch, decode and prediction units to allow “chip multi-threading (CMT)”. While Intel on the other hand uses “chip multi-processing”, which uses complete individual cores and multi-threading.

Specifications indicate that Bulldozer will run at 3.5 GHz and the chips are being built by GlobalFoundries in a 32nm process, and a single module that has two cores can house about 213 million transistors and covers only a 31mm surface area along with the L2 cache. The soon to be released 8-core processors will most likely have over a billion transistors because the chip will also integrate L3 cache with a HyperTransport 3.1 controller.