First Bulldozer processors ship out—for servers

That sound you hear off in the distance is champagne corks popping over at AMD’s headquarters. Earlier this morning, the chipmaker announced that it has started revenue shipments of the first processors based on its next-gen Bulldozer microarchitecture.

Enthusiasts eager for an upgrade might not want to celebrate quite yet, though. First, these first shipments are of 16-core Interlagos processors, which are firmly targeted at servers. AMD says in its announcement that “many of the initial shipments have been earmarked for large custom supercomputer installations that are now underway.” On top of that, the company goes on to note that Interlagos CPUs will only become available in the fourth quarter of this year.

In other words, if server offerings aren’t due out ’til Q4, and desktop-bound Bulldozer chips haven’t shipped yet, then you can probably forget about the desktop parts coming out in September as the rumor mill had hinted.

This wouldn’t be the first time has AMD premiered a new microarchitecture in the server world before making it available on the desktop. Back in 2003, server makers were treated to the first Opteron chips in April, but desktop Athlon 64 CPUs didn’t come out until September. The gap between the two versions should be shorter this time, though.

Comments closed
    • P5-133XL
    • 8 years ago

    I want to know how well these chips run folding (-bigadv). Will a 16 core AMD chip simply be equivalent to a 8 core Intel with hyper-threading for folding purposes?

    • cheapFreeAgent
    • 8 years ago

    will there be a motherboard that support two processors of this thing ?

      • smilingcrow
      • 8 years ago

      Yes, they are server CPUs.

    • amirol
    • 8 years ago

    Welcome ..well….come …Come sooner for pc rigs I thought you poatponed it for 2011….Its good.

    • ish718
    • 8 years ago

    So this 16 core intelagos should be around the same price as a 8 core server SandyBridge cpu???

    Bulldozer should be significantly faster than phenom II since it is a complete redesign, surely AMD has learned from their mistakes O_O

    • Deanjo
    • 8 years ago

    So much for AMD selling off their fabs so they could be “light and nimble”, and “concentrate on engineering” and getting product out to market in a much shorter time frame. Truth is that their engineering rarely let them down and it has been mostly a manufacturing issue since day one and that does not change by simply selling your assets off to an other party but still rely on them for the end product.

    Oh well, it means I should be able at least be able to pick up the top of the line FX and a Kepler board at the same time next year.

    • Tristan
    • 8 years ago

    AMD says:
    “This is a monumental moment for the industry as this first ‘Bulldozer’ core represents the beginning of unprecedented performance scaling for x86 CPUs…”

    I fully agree. Bulldozer must have better performance scalability – by easy adding new cores to the system – because performance 1 intel core >= 2 bulldozer core.

      • achaycock
      • 8 years ago

      Source?

      • bwcbiz
      • 8 years ago

      Actually, this is almost correct. A hyper-threading Intel core will outperform a single AMD core because the Intel core consists of a full core (integer CPU + FPU) plus an additional set of registers to enable rapid thread switching, while AMD counts their cores as a single threaded CPU plus 1/2 of an FPU shared between 2 CPU cores. Both counting approaches are reasonable. Intel can’t call their hyperthreaded cores dual cores because their extra registers don’t constitute a full integer CPU. AMD is reverting to older industry practice by (partially) excluding FPUs from the equation when calculating the core count.

      But I can’t agree that 1 intel core >= 2 bulldozer core until we see some actual benchmarks. Certainly one Intel core > one AMD core because of the different way cores are counted, but not Intel core > 2 AMD core. On paper, just based on the resources available to each process, the proper comparison is between AMD cores and Intel hyperthreads, and in that scenario one AMD core >= one Intel thread assuming the CPU core architectures deliver comparable performance otherwise. If Intel’s microcode and semi design outstrip AMDs (which frequently occurs), Intel may be able to achieve one Intel core > 2 AMD cores, but I don’t think their design lead is quite big enough to pull that off.

        • achaycock
        • 8 years ago

        I believe that’s why AMD are now referring to them as modules rather than cores. Each module has two full integer units with it’s own L1 cache, but share the FPU, front-end instruction decoder and L2 cache. If I’m not mistaken, I also believe that performance of the FPU will be harder to evaluate between the two on the basis that Bulldozer/Zambezi will have two 128bit FPU’s that can be fused to act as a 256bit one vs. Intel’s 256bit Multiply and 256bit Add FPU’s as found in Sandy Bridge which seems like a clear win for Intel until one accounts for Bulldozers ability to fuse Multiply and Add operations for increased performance, in theory producing comparable results per module/core. FMA will result in higher mathematical precision and this will not be found on Intel’s side until c. 2013 with Haswell.

        Heck, I have no idea which approach will prove better or even for which workloads. Zambezi may well be a flop on the desktop with Bulldozer a roaring success considering the strong focus on server workloads.

        I’m hoping Bulldozer/Zambezi will be effective though as AMD has been too far behind for too long and although Intel is a much more competitive beast than it was in the P4 era, I think a strong AMD presence is needed to keep it that way. Maybe one day Intel will have a processor lineup that won’t require a degree in marketing to understand.

          • bwcbiz
          • 8 years ago

          Exactly. I’m rooting for AMD here mostly because we benefit from them being an effective competitor (at least on the technology level, they’ll never compete on market share) rather than a bottom feeder.

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          [quote<]I believe that's why AMD are now referring to them as modules rather than cores.[/quote<] Only in technical literature/discussions. Marketing only talks about cores (with 2 cores per module).

        • Game_boy
        • 8 years ago

        Phenom II had 1 128-bit FPU core.
        Bulldozer has 1 128-bit FPU per “core”.

        Explain to me how BD has fewer FP resources per core.

          • achaycock
          • 8 years ago

          Bulldozer has two 128bit FMA FPU’s/module. In an era that’s moving to 256bit FPU’s, that’s effectively one 256bit FPU/module but two full integer units per module. Whether that will be a disadvantage or not remains to be seen.

    • just brew it!
    • 8 years ago

    Glad to see they’re finally starting to ship. Hopefully they can avoid having any issues like the Phenom TLB bug.

    It would be pretty silly to expect these to be an “Intel killer” once they hit the desktop, but they ought to be enough to keep Intel honest, at least in the mid-range. If AMD can generate enough revenue with Bulldozer, at least their CPU division will live to fight another day (yet again).

      • Game_boy
      • 8 years ago

      B2 stepping slow and delayed: check
      B3 stepping partially fixing said issues coming Q1 of the next year: check

      Source: [url<]http://semiaccurate.com/2011/09/07/bulldozer-finally-shipped-last-week/[/url<] It's Phenom again.

        • just brew it!
        • 8 years ago

        Meh.

        At least maybe this time they’ll have that crap sorted by the time the desktop parts ship!

        • clone
        • 8 years ago

        if no bug then it’s not phenom and I’m really glad they wait to do a proper release as opposed to throwing out junk in hopes someone would buy it.

        it’s not phenom at all.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]It would be pretty silly to expect these to be an "Intel killer" once they hit the desktop, but they ought to be enough to keep Intel honest, at least in the mid-range.[/quote<] The tone has changed, then. About a year ago people predicted that Bulldozer will bulldoze Intel into oblivion...

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 8 years ago

        No one with half a brain predicted that.

        You do like to build some giant straw men which you are able to knock down so swiftly.

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          So, are you essentially calling AMD fans less-than-half-brains?

    • Welch
    • 8 years ago

    I wish there were some sort of logical or catastrophic world event that is preventing these desktop parts to be released. But somehow I have the feeling AMD is just dragging ass because they can. I’m so disappointed in you AMD. I’d rather not hear about a new release date 4-5 times unless your going to meet those dates or be within a week or so of it. If the BD desktop parts aren’t out by mid October then its a failure as far as I’m concerned. It shortens the time that Intel has to release a competing CPU, which they already have the 2600k that purportedly goes neck and neck with the flagship offering Zambezi.

    **Hangs head low as he goes back to his tablet for gaming/computing needs**

    • sschaem
    • 8 years ago

    One of the first ‘OEM’ … waiting patiently.
    [url<]http://www.cray.com/Assets/PDF/products/xk/CrayXK6Brochure.pdf[/url<] With first delivery to [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_National_Supercomputing_Centre[/url<] Can anyone give them a call to know if this thing can run Crysis ?

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 8 years ago

      [url<]http://www.cscs.ch/compute_resources/index.html[/url<]

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 8 years ago

      It looks like you’ll need 9 tons of air conditioning for each XK6 cabinet that you install.

    • sschaem
    • 8 years ago

    “This is a monumental moment for the industry as this first ‘Bulldozer’ core represents the beginning of unprecedented performance scaling for x86 CPUs,”

    How about some benchmark to illustrate this unprecedented performance scaling?

    Bulldozer as been all about slide after slide, talk after talk about how great it is, but even after its shipping they wont publish benchmarks… what is AMD hiding ?!

      • tejas84
      • 8 years ago

      they are hiding the piss poor performance compared to Sandy and soon to be Ivy Bridge…

    • NarwhaleAu
    • 8 years ago

    AMD – I want to support you, I really do. If Mass Effect 3 is about to ship and you haven’t got a competitive processor, I’m going with Intel (again). There is only so much longer I can hold on to my dual core Core 2 e series processor.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      why you want a new processor of a UE3 game? you won’t need it.

        • PeterD
        • 8 years ago

        ‘Cause HE’s a fanboy.

          • ronch
          • 8 years ago

          AMD fanboys help Intel fanboys pay less for their chips.

        • Airmantharp
        • 8 years ago

        Mass Effect 2 ran remarkably better than ME1… while I don’t expect the third installment to be lighter on resources than the second, I seriously doubt that it would be a reason to upgrade. Now if we start talking about the third Battlefield…

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    Don’t worry, by the time bulldozer hits it will be irrelevant. No need to get excited.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      +1. The longer it takes, the less relevant it is.

      So, if server BD ships in the end of Q3 and the servers offerings aren’t due out until Q4, does it mean that desktop ones won’t be out until end of Q4? Aiming for holiday sales?nnIf so, then Ivy Bridge is already very close… Will the enthusiast feel like they have to wait until those are benchmarked in March.

        • Game_boy
        • 8 years ago

        IB release date isn’t pinned down either. S|A is saying the 22nm process might not be ready for March even.

        IB server processors and high-end desktop won’t be until later in 2012 anyway.

        But I do think BD won’t change AMD’s fortunes any more. Just reset them to the Phenom II launch level of competitiveness.

          • kamikaziechameleon
          • 8 years ago

          IB is a novelty at this point its basically intel competing against itself. AMD is pretty far behind. Lucky for AMD SSD adoption is slow and this makes the perceived performance difference somewhat non existent for most users.

      • LiquidSpace
      • 8 years ago

      unless it’s twice as fast as the SB then even the IB won’t be able to beat it at least in performance.

        • Airmantharp
        • 8 years ago

        You do realize how ridiculous this statement is right? SB is a very difficult target to hit coming from the PhII.

          • kamikaziechameleon
          • 8 years ago

          yeah kinda baseless for sure. I don’t see how bulldozer can compete in day to day tasks. Single threaded performance is probably not going to be there. I want BD to give intel a run for their money because you can tell they are really holding out on some of their tech simply so that they can counter all of AMD’s offerings. I am running an AMD 1090T and its a decent processor and without getting a SSD I wouldn’t probably notice a performance improvement in most cases. That being said I aim to eventually do a quad SSD RAID setup and then I’ll really want an Intel processor so my basic apps can scream.

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    I was really hoping we’d see BD benchmarks this month. Not that I plan to replace my Phenom II anytime soon. Just excited about the new architecture.

    I suppose everyone will have to wait a bit longer.

    • mark625
    • 8 years ago

    I agree that these continuous delays are extremely aggravating, especially for the desktop users who have been loyal to AMD for years and are desperately wanting to stick with AMD.

    However, it makes total sense for AMD to concentrate on the server market to start with. They absolutely must keep the OEMs on board, and they really do need some high-profile installations (supercomputers) to spotlight their performance potential. Not to mention the higher profit margins that the server processors bring!

    So yeah, I really do want that Zambezi rig I’ve been planning on. But I’m not going to whine about it.

    Go AMD!

      • Silus
      • 8 years ago

      Anyone who desperately sticks with AMD, is a fanboy. Stop following one brand and get what’s best for your money.

        • StuG
        • 8 years ago

        Who cares if he is a fanboy? He can support whoever he wants with his own damn money. Now, if he goes around shoving it down people’s throat that AMD is better than everyone else I can understand your criticism. As it is, he is doing nothing but rooting for the team he likes basically. Do you rag on someone when they root for the underdog in football?

        • Sam125
        • 8 years ago

        Why don’t you mind your own business and not care what he does with his own money?

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          Silus had a good point, and a good suggestion. These discussion threads are full of such suggestions.

          Why are you attacking him? Are you one of those AMD fanboys yourself, and that’s why you’re a bit sensitive about someone suggesting maybe other options would be better?

            • cegras
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]Now, if he goes around shoving it down people's throat that AMD is better than everyone else I can understand your criticism. As it is, he is doing nothing but rooting for the team he likes basically. Do you rag on someone when they root for the underdog in football?[/quote<]

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            That’s what StuG said. Sam125 was more offensive, saying

            [quote<]Why don't you mind your own business[/quote<]

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 8 years ago

            You must really easily offended if you find that statement offensive in any way.

            • clone
            • 8 years ago

            I’m not sure Silus had a good point or a good suggestion to be honest.

            mark625 seems to know what he’s doing, he’s opted to support one company over another and to be honest I’m glad he’s supporting AMD because they need the money just like we all need the competition between those companies.

            compelling arguments can be made to choose Intel and AMD once you move below the high end and again I got the impression Mark625 probably knew what he was doing when he was buying given he chose to wait for Bulldozer as opposed to buying a 6 core AMD platform I’ll give the nod to sensible in reference……but beyond that I always get a little worried when AMD stalls because I want the competition to go on allowing me to buy whatever I choose for a decent price instead of a return to the old blatant monopoly days of 50mhz increments between cpu’s and $1400.00 P2 450’s.

            hooray for the fanboys, their is nothing wrong with choosing a side so long as the competition continues and as mentioned by others the stupidity of dictating ppls choice instead of allowing them to make it.

            p.s. windows spell check doesn’t recognize fanboys as a word towards the end of 2011… booh microsoft.

        • PeterD
        • 8 years ago

        It’s not only about being a fanboy. It’s also about strategy, about preventing the whole world becomes dependant on one chip maker.
        The real problem is that it is or AMD, or Intel, because nobody else is left.

      • davidedney123
      • 8 years ago

      Can you blame them? If you can ship a (relatively) tiny number of CPUs a day you’re going to sell them into the highest margin and lowest demand markets and then push it downmarket as production increases. They probably make more profit on a single 16 core Interlagos than 100 of the mid range desktop CPUs people are so desperate for.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        This. They’re just navigating the GloFo yield issues as well as they can.

      • sydbot
      • 8 years ago

      I just want to see exactly how it compares to i5 and i7’s in the workloads I care about, that way I can make a decision about my next build. But in all honesty, the 7000-series Radeons are holding up my build decision, not the CPU.

    • PeterD
    • 8 years ago

    “This wouldn’t be the first time has AMD premiered a new microarchitecture in the server world before making it available on the desktop.”

    Sounds logical to me.
    Servers demand more power than desktops.

      • Game_boy
      • 8 years ago

      The original public plan was desktop Q2, server Q3. Acording to JF the difference is because they run different QA cycles, have different featuresets (even though they’re from the same die), and launch through different channels so the dates are independent of each other.

      It helps that server is smaller volume and higher margin but it’s not always the best call.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 8 years ago

        Smaller volume? Dual-die, quad-socket systems vs. the $300 DIY desktop market?!?

          • Game_boy
          • 8 years ago

          [url<]http://investorvillage.com/mbthread.asp?mb=476&tid=10759150&showall=1[/url<] Server: 244,000 CPUs Desktop: 11,231,000 CPUs If I just take, say, the six-core Thuban and Magny Cours as a subset: Server 6C: 23,000 12C: 56,000 total dies: 135,000 Desktop 6C: 250,000 So yes, server total is less than desktop high end in units for AMD.

            • OneArmedScissor
            • 8 years ago

            That’s the opposite of what’s about to happen. Those CPUs have all been out for over a year. Look at the average price of the X6s – down to $165, not the $275-ish as they started out, and as the desktop Bulldozer will, as well. That’s the, “Hell no!” range for OEMs. The problem is that they can’t just offer it as an option on cheaper models, as it’s not socket compatible with much cheaper CPUs like the X6s and SB i7s are. That limits sales to the tiny and picked over DIY desktop market.

            The servers, however, will have an entire socket compatible, top to bottom lineup based on one chip, which is not the case right now – and their direct competitor is coming up on its second birthday.

            If AMD waits any longer for servers, the competitor turns into Sandy Bridge EN/EX. It’s either take advantage of Intel’s rare moment of weakness, or commit financial suicide by squandering Bulldozer’s entire purpose for existing.

            • Game_boy
            • 8 years ago

            Oh I agree Bulldozer is dead.

        • Tristan
        • 8 years ago

        AMD lives in their own word. They think that quarter counts 6 months. So, releasing bulldozer in Q2 is still possible 🙂

      • mentaldrano
      • 8 years ago

      The reason Bulldozer will launch first in the server world is because of AMD’s existing contracts with large server vendors. They promised server parts 2011Q4, and the OEMs have already sold to large customers, and no one can back out.

      Nothing else matters. I’m sure if AMD could, it would delay launch for all parts at least until 2012Q1. As it is, the 16 core parts are limited to around 2 GHz. Note that they aren’t shipping any of the 8 core parts as they simply aren’t competitive at 2 GHz.

      The desktop parts are in the same boat, and can’t be shipped until the frequency ramp happens. Any desktop part that won’t hit at least 3 GHz won’t even beat an existing Phenom II part.

        • achaycock
        • 8 years ago

        I believe much of the reason for the delay is down to Global Foundries having problems with the 32nm node. Each wafer is only pulling out a 50% yield, which compared to it’s competitors is fantastic, but for AMD’s needs and vs Intel is appalling. Therefore it makes sense to give the high volume server market priority while Global Foundries sort out these issues. Of course mentaldrano raises an excellent point, existing contracts do need to be met.

    • tbone8ty
    • 8 years ago

    sigh* :/

      • Waco
      • 8 years ago

      This. How much longer will my quadfire setup have to be hobbled by my lowly Phenom II X3? 🙁

        • HighTech4US2
        • 8 years ago

        Well if you blindly only follow one vendor why are you surprised when that vendor stumbles.

        Intel has had it’s Sandy Bridge CPU’s out for quite a while and they sure are a vast improvement over the Phenom II X3 you have currently.

        Why are your decisions only based on one vendor?

        And what will you do if Bulldozer turns out to be less powerful than Sandy Bridge?

          • Waco
          • 8 years ago

          I already have the platform to upgrade with a single drop-in replacement. I’m not going to switch out my motherboard and CPU just to get a bit more performance (especially given that it’d cost a LOT more to do so).

          I buy the best value I can, when I can. It just so happens that going with a Phenom II happened to be the best choice when I was getting rid of my s775 parts due to a number of factors.

          As for BD being less powerful than SB…do I care? A little; I guess. As long as it’s faster than a Phenom II (unlocked to a quad and running at 3.4 GHz) by a significant margin I’ll end up buying one.

          Give people a little more credit before accusing them of blindly following something.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            Are you sure you have a drop-in replacement? Did you buy an AM3+ board?

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            And if he did, he already made the BD buying decision months ahead.

            • ImSpartacus
            • 8 years ago

            Did you say value? I thought you said you had a quadfire setup? -__-

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            quadfire? what model? there isn’t a game on the planet that has drivers worth going past 2… so….

            • Waco
            • 8 years ago

            4870X2…the second card only cost me $20. Can’t argue with that. 🙂

        • ronch
        • 8 years ago

        You didn’t unlock the 4th core? Or no luck?

          • ronch
          • 8 years ago

          Oh sorry, I didn’t read your other posts sooner. Guess you unlocked it.

        • just brew it!
        • 8 years ago

        Well, the X6 chips are pretty affordable… how about an X6 Black Edition as a stopgap?

          • Waco
          • 8 years ago

          More cores won’t fix it unfortunately – my 720 will only clock to 3.4 GHz stable. Even going to 3.5 GHz (while it is unstable) nets me ~10% better FPS in the few games/benchmarks I’ve run. A 3% clock increase leading to a 10% increase in FPS leads me to believe I *really* need something that can crank more instructions.

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