Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:49 pm

codedivine wrote:
riviera74 wrote:
OK. So what is the difference between Bulldozer and Llano?


Llano = Cores largely based upon the same architecture (with minor tweaks) as Athlon II X4 shrunk to 32nm and a DX11 GPU integrated on-die.
Bulldozer = Completely new architecture and without on-die GPU.


Thanks. Sounds like Llano is meant for HTPCs and possibly notebooks, whereas Bulldozer is meant to target Sandy Bridge. I just hope that Bulldozer is equal to or superior to Sandy Bridge once that comes out.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:51 pm

I don't understand the fascination with Intel's $1K CPUs. Literally only 2 people on the [H] thread had them (and both of them were in there defending their purchases - quite a funny sight tbh).
Gulftown is not and should not be AMD's concern. My primary concern is that in the juicy mid-range ASP, i.e. $200 +/-, SB's are only furthering the lead that the original i7 created since 2008. Intel's basically been coasting since the Nehalem, and with a local MC, you never paid more than $199 for a top-end CPU. In 2008 the Q6600's were $199, followed in 2009 with the i5 750 for $149 (i7 920/930/950 - $199), and now the i5 2500K for $179. The PhII offerings compete only with the older Core2 45nm's, and so far only compete for the sake of price.

My only optimism is my belief that AMD is not foolish enough to bring back the FX moniker unless the performance ACTUALLY warrants it. Am I setting the expectations too high? Maybe. Intel has been coasting along for 2 years - it's actually a blessing that Intel isn't fleecing us right now.

I should add, seeing the PhII 975 reviews on the same day as SB reviews...reminded me of the rather infamous 3200+ Barton reviews. It was just that sad. Remember Tom's famous "paper tiger" article? Yep, it was that feeling all over again.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:09 pm

The Q6600 was $840 when it was a top-end CPU. It wasn't $200 until those days were long over.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:32 pm

That wasn't my point. My point is that there's been downward pressure from Intel with price since the Q6600. Thanks for bringing that up actually, and I will clarify that perhaps the pressure has been there since the price drop of the Q6600 to $266 in July 2007. And you're right, the Q6600 wasn't always sensibly priced, but then AMD was only that much further from being competitive at that time. Combine that with Barcelona's lackluster performance numbers (launch Fall 07), and Intel's lead was only further cemented once the Phenom performance became well known.
This kind of pressure means that AMD cannot keep playing this game of "the cheaper, alternative CPU" when they are already getting squeezed on that aspect as well.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:59 pm

mav451 wrote:I don't understand the fascination with Intel's $1K CPUs. Literally only 2 people on the [H] thread had them (and both of them were in there defending their purchases - quite a funny sight tbh).


A whole bunch of people have them if you cruise Flight Simulator X-related forums.

I think most of those CPUs that are in the hands of consumers - as opposed to businesses - are for people running FSX :lol: (which always has, and always will be, a CPU beast)
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:36 pm

sparkman wrote:
JF-AMD wrote:We are very competitive in the markets that we participate in. ... Being very competitive in 95% of the market is not a bad place to be.


True, when I built my Phenom II 965 box it was a nice deal vs Intel at the time. And while Intel has great CPU's, and nVidia has great GPU's, only AMD has both pieces. (Making the loss of Dirk Meyer all the more mystifying to us outside AMD.)

But I guess I was hoping the Bulldozer era would return AMD to the pole position on the desktop for awhile.


Only if you're building on an extreme budget. With the exception of the value segment, AMD has been behind Intel ever since Core was introduced.

Even if Intel's onboard IGP is weaker, it's a non-issue; any serious builder will grab a good discrete GPU.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:23 pm

Folks,

AMD will probably not be able to keep up with the higher ends SBs. If they do, than great, but I really can't see that happening.

If they manage to keep the die small, power consumption low, and price it sensibly, than they might have a winner. I mean, I don't see it matching SBs IPC, HOWEVER, should they manage to match a four "module" BD to a four core (8 threads) SB, they might pull ahead in significantly threaded applications.

The server market might finally get what they were waiting for, but sounds too... well... "threaded" for Desktops...
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:50 pm

UberGerbil wrote:
BlackStar wrote:
UberGerbil wrote:I'm not sure Llano is quite what you think it is.
I'm not sure you know what I think Llano is.
I agree, which is why I phrased it that way. But Llano is not "Bulldozer w/IGP" which seemed to be what your terse response implied you thought it to be.


No, not really. My point was that the actual CPU is less important given the difference in GPU capabilities. I'd gladly live with a slightly slower CPU in trade for massively better drivers and graphics capabilities.

Of course, all bets are off if you can add a dedicated GPU and disable Intel's crap. However, for laptops and other non-upgradable machines, a slower CPU/faster GPU leads to a better balance of power and improved long-term potential. Hell, my single-core 2GHz Athlon64 has been playing 1080p video flawlessly in my HTPC (8400GS), something that my dual-core Intel laptop simply cannot do (X3100) - the GPU and its drivers make all the difference in the world.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:55 pm

BlackStar wrote:However, for laptops and other non-upgradable machines, a slower CPU/faster GPU leads to a better balance of power and improved long-term potential.

Except that this is the bet AMD has been making for years and it has worked out absolutely miserably for them. Their laptops have offered better integrated graphics with a worse CPU -- and the only way they could get anyone to buy it was to make it dirt cheap. For almost the entire mid-range and absolutely all of the high-end, the people who wanted to play games bought an Intel CPU and a dedicated card while the people who didn't want to play games bought an Intel CPU and Intel's integrated graphics (which, for the past couple of years, have been good enough for everything except gaming).
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:24 pm

Althernai wrote:Except that this is the bet AMD has been making for years and it has worked out absolutely miserably for them.

Both true and false. The problem stems from the fact that even though AMD is aiming "lower" than Intel (which is fine), their price-to-performance ratio hasn't been all that awesome of late.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:45 pm

Althernai wrote:
BlackStar wrote:However, for laptops and other non-upgradable machines, a slower CPU/faster GPU leads to a better balance of power and improved long-term potential.

Except that this is the bet AMD has been making for years and it has worked out absolutely miserably for them.


I don't recall AMD shipping any on-die GPUs those past few years. The new low power CPU+GPU combos change the landscape considerably.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:30 pm

Althernai wrote:
BlackStar wrote:However, for laptops and other non-upgradable machines, a slower CPU/faster GPU leads to a better balance of power and improved long-term potential.

Except that this is the bet AMD has been making for years and it has worked out absolutely miserably for them. Their laptops have offered better integrated graphics with a worse CPU -- and the only way they could get anyone to buy it was to make it dirt cheap. For almost the entire mid-range and absolutely all of the high-end, the people who wanted to play games bought an Intel CPU and a dedicated card while the people who didn't want to play games bought an Intel CPU and Intel's integrated graphics (which, for the past couple of years, have been good enough for everything except gaming).


Exactly what I was saying. Not to mention a slow CPU will throttle a GPU's performance.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:50 am

BlackStar wrote:I don't recall AMD shipping any on-die GPUs those past few years. The new low power CPU+GPU combos change the landscape considerably.

From the perspective of an average consumer, whether the GPU is on the die or on the chipset is an invisible technicality. It matters for performance and for manufacturing, but if you buy a laptop today and you don't choose a discreet card, you will be getting AMD's graphics with an AMD CPU or Intel's graphics with an Intel CPU just as you would have for the past few years.

The Brazos combos do change the scenario and I expect AMD's market share to increase, but that's because they're just all-around better -- both in CPU and in GPU. Intel doesn't have anything comparable at that level of power consumption and most certainly not at that price.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:38 pm

On the low power, low end front, perhaps. Other than that, AMD has been too far behind Intel aside from graphics.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:00 pm

I'm hoping for BD to be competitive, but I have a feeling Ivy Bridge is going to be a power house. IB at 22nm will be released shortly after BD at 32nm will be.

That being said, an octal-core(quad module) BD chip should be more than enough power for even an avid gamer. Only SQL/Web/Video people will be able to notice a difference most of the time.

But really, my 2.66ghz i7 can encode 1080p at 60fps at 55% cpu and no video game can make it work. I can literally take a 1080p movie, decode it, re-encode it to 1080p and re-decode it and my CPU will still have some left over power. Now SB chips are out with 30-50% higher IPC than my nehalem and with 3.4ghz clock speed. IB is just going to rape.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:20 pm

David Kanter's Bulldozer article has a interesting "philosophy" page that talks about how BD is quite the change in direction for AMD. It sounds like the chip is designed to hopefully make AMD have some edge in servers again. But it also sounds like there's not a lot of chance of it matching SB on per-core performance unless it can clock very well (which it is designed to do). We'll see but I'm thinking it will be a great CPU for highly parallel apps (servers and HPC), but not as exciting for most desktop apps/games.

Hopefully it will at least be clearly superior to Phenom II in all areas. It is quite the new design so almost anything could happen. I've seen screens of CPU-Z showing samples at 3.8 GHz though which does sound hopeful for a sample.


JF-AMD wrote:This is very true. Too many enthusiasts say that Intel's top part beats AMD's so AMD is doomed. Except that intel's top part is $1000 and few, if any people buy it.

I wouldn't be surprised if it costs Intel less to build their $1000 chips than it costs AMD to build their cheap PII X6s. Intel molds the market to their desires AFAICT, and frankly AMD may actually help them do it because if there's no AMD I think the govt may go after Intel over monopolistic issues. The only time Intel seemed to somewhat lose control over the x86 market was during the K8 days before Core 2, when we saw AMD pricing their Athlon 64 FX CPUs up around $1000 too.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:18 am

swaaye wrote:I wouldn't be surprised if it costs Intel less to build their $1000 chips than it costs AMD to build their cheap PII X6s. Intel molds the market to their desires AFAICT, and frankly AMD may actually help them do it because if there's no AMD I think the govt may go after Intel over monopolistic issues. The only time Intel seemed to somewhat lose control over the x86 market was during the K8 days before Core 2, when we saw AMD pricing their Athlon 64 FX CPUs up around $1000 too.


As someone actually in the semiconductor business I cn tell you that you are way off. To get parts that net out at that performance level you have to burn a lot of wafer yield. In those instances you die to ship ratios are way off, driving up your variable costs. Trust me, if there was ever a big push on cost containment at intel those would be the first parts on the chopping block.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:52 pm

JF-AMD wrote:
swaaye wrote:I wouldn't be surprised if it costs Intel less to build their $1000 chips than it costs AMD to build their cheap PII X6s. Intel molds the market to their desires AFAICT, and frankly AMD may actually help them do it because if there's no AMD I think the govt may go after Intel over monopolistic issues. The only time Intel seemed to somewhat lose control over the x86 market was during the K8 days before Core 2, when we saw AMD pricing their Athlon 64 FX CPUs up around $1000 too.


As someone actually in the semiconductor business I cn tell you that you are way off. To get parts that net out at that performance level you have to burn a lot of wafer yield. In those instances you die to ship ratios are way off, driving up your variable costs. Trust me, if there was ever a big push on cost containment at intel those would be the first parts on the chopping block.


You don't have to be in the semi business to realize why Intel's margins are so high and your companies are so low. Here's the problem that I see for you guys. Lets just say that even if cost of wafer and yields where comparable, Intel is still able to sell their top bin chips for $1K the bin right below sells for $800 and below that is a $500 bin and so forth. While Amd's top bin sells for <$200. You see the problem? So it looks like if a company is burning anything, it is Amd when they have to sell their top bin for >$200.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:41 am

What you are taking into consideration is that the $1000 CPU and the $800 CPU result in high ASPs per CPU but extremely low total margin dollars because so few people buy them. So few in fact, I would be willing to bet that they lose money actually building those parts but they do it for the benchmark results.

I would be willing to bet that AMD makes more total revenue and margin dollars in the $200 parts than intel makes on the $1000 part, even if they have lower costs.

It is all about volume.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:20 pm

JF-AMD wrote:What you are taking into consideration is that the $1000 CPU and the $800 CPU result in high ASPs per CPU but extremely low total margin dollars because so few people buy them. So few in fact, I would be willing to bet that they lose money actually building those parts but they do it for the benchmark results.

I would be willing to bet that AMD makes more total revenue and margin dollars in the $200 parts than intel makes on the $1000 part, even if they have lower costs.

It is all about volume.



As you know those $1k chips and $200 chips come from the same wafer, so while you may only get 20 high bin chips out of 200 total chips it does NOT cost anymore to bin these chips. You do understand that for the most part Intel bins their chips out of the same wafer. There are a few exception of course such as Itanium, and Xeon-EX, but for the most part a Xeon and i7 are made with the same recipe. And I would hope that Amd's total revenue is greater then what Intel makes on the $1000 extreme chips, but the fact that Intel can sell $1k parts is why their margins are so high. Actually if you think about it, those $1K chips are really not the top bin of the wafers. Xeons come out of the same wafers too so they actually are able to sell some of those chips for $1800. Does Amd not bin there chips in the same manner?
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:42 pm

According to the info at this link Bulldozer has a 50% performance boost over Core i7 950. Paired with the next generation of Radeons presumably 28nm makes it very appealing gaming system.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:41 pm

qurious73ss wrote:As you know those $1k chips and $200 chips come from the same wafer, so while you may only get 20 high bin chips out of 200 total chips it does NOT cost anymore to bin these chips.

I think he means the Gulftowns which are not just $200 CPUs with slightly higher clock speeds and unlocked multipliers -- they're the only 32nm hexacore CPUs Intel has (not counting the Xeons). That said, they're an exception: the $1000 CPUs before (the Core i7-965/975 and all the Core 2 Extreme before them) really were just binned chips with unlocked multipliers.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:03 pm

Althernai wrote:
qurious73ss wrote:As you know those $1k chips and $200 chips come from the same wafer, so while you may only get 20 high bin chips out of 200 total chips it does NOT cost anymore to bin these chips.

I think he means the Gulftowns which are not just $200 CPUs with slightly higher clock speeds and unlocked multipliers -- they're the only 32nm hexacore CPUs Intel has (not counting the Xeons). That said, they're an exception: the $1000 CPUs before (the Core i7-965/975 and all the Core 2 Extreme before them) really were just binned chips with unlocked multipliers.


Yes Gulftowns/Westmere share the same process and gasp! same wafer :o they are binned at a price range of $300-$1800. Again those $1800 chips cost as much as the $300 chips to manufacture and Intel makes alot of money selling them either as i7s or Xeons.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:37 pm

JF-AMD wrote:What you are taking into consideration is that the $1000 CPU and the $800 CPU result in high ASPs per CPU but extremely low total margin dollars because so few people buy them. So few in fact, I would be willing to bet that they lose money actually building those parts but they do it for the benchmark results.
.


I just read this and one of your products came to mind. Did 700mm2 of wafer take any of their 90% market share back?
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:05 pm

qurious73ss wrote:Yes Gulftowns/Westmere share the ... same wafer


[Citation Needed]
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:39 pm

grantmeaname wrote:
qurious73ss wrote:Yes Gulftowns/Westmere share the ... same wafer


[Citation Needed]


You think they have a different mask for Westmere and Gulftown? If you think they are different then Intel must throw away alot of die that don't meet the criteria for the top bin or maybe they use the same mask and can bin 5680X down to E5600 with i79xx in between. With record revenue and earnings, as well as margins >65%, my guess is that they still sell those chips that don't meet top bin criteria instead of throwing them away.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:16 am

qurious73ss wrote:Yes Gulftowns/Westmere share the same process and gasp! same wafer

How would that work? The chips are quite different: Gulftowns use QPI and 3 memory channels while Westmere uses DMI and only has 2 channels.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:32 am

qurious73ss wrote:You think they have a different mask for Westmere and Gulftown? If you think they are different then Intel must throw away alot of die that don't meet the criteria for the top bin or maybe they use the same mask and can bin 5680X down to E5600 with i79xx in between. With record revenue and earnings, as well as margins >65%, my guess is that they still sell those chips that don't meet top bin criteria instead of throwing them away.


I think the fact that a business the size of Intel has a high margin doesn't not necessarily counterindicate a low-margin practice in a small halo-effect area of their business and that you're making a giant assumption in saying so.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:55 am

John already said that Orochi will be a smaller die than Lisbon (close to Istanbul, 346mm^2). From the die shots released, known core size and L2 size, plus a wafer picture on Semiaccurate, it looks to be in the region of 300mm^2.

SB is 216mm^2 with graphics. A 6-core SB without graphics would likely be smaller than Orochi therefore. However any disparity will be much less than at present where AMD is selling two Istanbul-sized dies against Intel's Gulftown die.
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Re: Bulldozer may turn out to be a dense die

Postposted on Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:11 am

Althernai wrote:
qurious73ss wrote:Yes Gulftowns/Westmere share the same process and gasp! same wafer

How would that work? The chips are quite different: Gulftowns use QPI and 3 memory channels while Westmere uses DMI and only has 2 channels.


It works like this Westemere http://ark.intel.com/ProductCollection. ... Name=33174 & Gulftown http://ark.intel.com/ProductCollection. ... Name=29886. Same process and same wafer.
Last edited by qurious73ss on Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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