|AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer Processor|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Tuesday, 11 October 2011|
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AMD FX-8150 Features
The following information is courtesy of AMD
AMD FX CPU Specifications
AMD's consumer CPU line now has three main divisions: the E series APUs, which are aimed at netbooks, small notebooks, and tablets; the A series APUs for desktops and higher-end laptops (Benchmark Reviews tested the AMD A8-3850 "Lynx" CPU in this review), and the top-of-the-line FX processors. Unlike Intel's Sandy Bridge CPUs, all of which have integrated video, the FX CPUs are just CPUs. AMD expects you to add a Radeon 6000 series card to an FX system. The following chart shows the specifications of all the desktop-level FX-series processors. At launch, only the FX-8150, FX-8120, FX-6100 and FX-4100 will be available.
AMD's initial lineup of FX CPUs includes three eight-core chips, one six-core chip, and three four-core chips. Aside from core count and clock speed, the chip specifications are similar, with the main difference being that the amount of L2 cache is lower for the six and four-core CPUs. All FX CPUs are unlocked, so you'll be able to tweak clock speeds to the limits your hardware can handle. A surprisingly high DDR3-1866 memory speed should help bandwidth, assuming you have memory that can run at that speed. AMD's Turbo Core technology will use the maximum speed if only half or fewer of the cores are in use; if all cores are in use, Turbo Core is dialed back to keep the CPU within its thermal limits.
With the new AM3+ socket come three new chipsets: the 990FX, the 990X, and the 970X, all supported by the SB950 south bridge. All the new chipsets provide six SATA 6G ports, 12 USB 2.0 ports, and RAID levels 0, 1, 5, and 10. The only difference is in the supported PCI-E configuration: 2x16 or 4x8 for the 990FX, 2x8 for the 990X, and 1x16 for the 970X. Benchmark Reviews covered the 990FX chipset in our review of the ASUS Crosshair V Formula motherboard.
Obviously, the exciting thing about the FX-8150 is that it's the first consumer eight core processor. Prior to the AMD FX, if you wanted an eight-core CPU you had to buy a very expensive server-level Xeon or Opteron chip, and then you'd have to deal with things like the special "registered" memory these CPUs require, and an expensive server motherboard lacking many of the features expected in enthusiast-level motherboards...like, say, overclocking. (Yes, I know about the Intel Skulltrail and EVGA SR2 motherboards. But they're the exception.) But will eight cores really make a difference?
Well, that's what we're here to find out. In the next section I'll go into the details of the Bulldozer processor architecture.