AMD Launches New Bulldozer CPUs At Substantially Higher Clockspeeds, TDPs

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News Posted: Mon, Feb 27 2012 3:08 PM
Ever since Bulldozer's less-than-spectacular debut, enthusiasts and investors have watched to see if the company would follow up with faster chips that improved overall performance. That's finally started to happen; AMD announced two new chips today -- the quad-core FX-4170 with a 4.2GHz base clock speed / 4.3GHz Turbo mode, and the six-core FX-6200 at 3.8GHz stock / 4.1GHz Turbo.

Both of the new parts are clocked ~15% faster than the FX-4100 and FX-6100 and may offer a slightly faster integrated memory controller as well; rumors indicate that the IMC is clocked at 2.2GHz, up from 2GHz. The new chips are reportedly based on the B3 stepping that's been in the works for months; current Bulldozer parts are all based on the B2 stepping.

It's good to see AMD pushing Bulldozer's clock speeds higher, but there are two indications that the benefits of doing so will be fairly limited. The first is that AMD wasn't able to hold the 95W TDP mark for either the quad-core or hexa-core variants; both the 4170 and 6200 carry a 125W TDP. The second is that while baseline clocks jumped quite a bit, Turbo Mode core speed didn't. The 4170's TM clock is 13% higher (compared to a 16% higher baseline clock) while the 6200's Turbo Mode is a modest 5% higher than its predecessors.

What this suggests is that AMD has modestly improved power consumption in the CPU's standard operating voltage, but hasn't pushed the core's absolute headroom much higher. This fits with the rumors around AMD's upcoming 8170; that core is expected to debut a baseline frequency of 3.9GHz (up ~8% from the FX-8150) with a maximum full-load Turbo Mode of 4.2GHz (7% higher).

Pricing on the FX-8120 has also been cut as of these launches, though AMD didn't provide information on how much. In the wake of Bulldozer's launch, the FX-8120 and six-core 6100 variants were compared unfavorably with AMD's older six-core X6 1090T and 1100T. AMD appears to have killed retail shipments of these older parts; neither the 1090T or X6 1100T are widely available, and prices have gone up significantly compared to the 1100T's $180 price tag six months ago.

The FX-4170 and FX-6200 are showing up online for ~$140 and ~$180, compared to $109 and $149 for the older FX-4100 and FX-6100 parts. The most important achievement of these new parts is that they should at least achieve performance parity with AMD's older 45nm chips. At 4.2GHz, the FX-4170 is clocked 17% faster than the old Phenom II X4 975 Deneb, while the only hexa-core Phenom II X6 left in stock at NewEgg is the Z6 1045T at 2.7GHz. If the 8170 launches at the expected clock speeds, it should be able to match/exceed the X6 1100T in a similar fashion.
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KDaniels replied on Mon, Feb 27 2012 4:27 PM

I'm all for the underdog, but what is AMD up to... I was thinking of getting myself a phenom II but it seems the more efficient chips are being phased out (facepalm). AMD have essentially brought out a new generation of CPU's which are not very much faster than its predecessors and chow more power, so how efficient are they really?

However we'll have to see how it does in real world tests. I am still in the corner of AMD as they make high performance more affordable to the average joe.

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@KDaniels: Get an Intel. Save up, if you have to. There's nothing from AMD's current CPU lineup that is worth the money. Unless you want to pay >$200 for an 1100T. AMD's chipsets usually have more features (eg more Sata III ports) than Intel, but their I/O performance is lower than Intel chipsets.

I want AMD to do well too, but these things consume a lot of power. They may be cheaper upfront but they are not power efficient and if you care about being 'green' AMD is not it. There will most definitely be damage on some user's electricity bill.

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pwrntspd replied on Mon, Feb 27 2012 9:02 PM

Well so much for B3....hopefully piledriver will bring the tdp's down where they need to be and bring performance up a bit.

@KDaniels: Going to have to agree with dejasoul here, if youre building a new system its better to go intel right now. On the other hand, i upgraded my old AMD 785g chipset rig from a phenom II x2 to a x4 (960T thuban quad) for 109 bucks on sale, and i can tell you that was well worth it.

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Diggity0 replied on Mon, Feb 27 2012 11:40 PM

I would be surprised if AMD catches up to intel any time soon. Unlike intel they've never been particularly quick to bring out new products. However they are doing well with their Brazos platform. I think that AMD's future success will relay more on finding unique optimization's and value like the Brazos platform. It's not like AMD's CPU's don't perform well, they just don't perform as well as intel's cpu's. I have a Brazos system for my home theatre and the performance is excellent for that task. My old phenom II 945 desktop workstation has been moved to file server duty - and it does that task very well, especially since I underclocked it to keep it cool and efficient. However my new workstation is an intel system, for some things best performance does matter :)

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Joel H replied on Tue, Feb 28 2012 11:06 AM

AMD has already said that it won't be catching up with Intel -- and Brazos is stuck on 40nm through the rest of this year.

The best-case scenario for Piledriver is modestly better TDP and IPC, but the focus is on tuning Trinity for mobile not pushing PD for desktop. A 4.5GHz PD at 125W TDP with a clock-per-clock performance increase of 5-8% over BD is probably reasonable.

The combination of the two would finally give BD cores an edge over Phenom II X6 / X4.

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realneil replied on Tue, Feb 28 2012 12:32 PM

It's weird that they seem to be stuck trying to beat themselves, and not just the competition. Smile

For me, I like to support AMD as often as possible. I feel that they are necessary to help reign-in Intel's prices a little.

I have two FM1 Socket APU's here and they work fine for the ~middle of the road~ performing PC's that they were designed to be. I also have a Phenom-II X4-980 Quad core in a 990FX motherboard and that's plenty fast enough to run my games without any problem.

None of them can compete with the i7-2600K system at my gaming station, but they all do well.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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Sadly If we talk about processor, I won't go with AMD for now until piledriver come out.

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suoshao replied on Mon, Apr 23 2012 4:40 AM

However we'll have to see how it does in real world tests. I am still in the corner of AMD as they make high performance more affordable to the average joe.

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