AMD released their highly anticipated Bulldozer CPUs last week (our review). The reception was not very warm, and a common thought was that Bulldozer didn't perform as well as expected. Especially in single-threaded tests, Intel was still miles ahead, and even in multithreaded tests AMD wasn't a clear winner.

The initial CPUs use B2 stepping, but an AMD BIOS and kernel document already shows reference to unreleased B3 stepping. A stepping update should bring improvements (usually minor) to performance and power consumption, as well as possible bug fixes. Stepping updates are a normal way to provide small upgrades in between bigger ones, such as die shrinks and microarchitecture changes. While B3 stepping may help Bulldozer a little bit, it's very unlikely that a stepping update would provide huge benefits and thus make Bulldozer significantly better than Intel's equivalent CPUs - so waiting for this update is not exactly a good idea.

No timeframe for the update is known but if the past has any meaning, it won't be anytime soon. For example C3 stepping came about 9 months after the original release of Phenom II X4 with C2 stepping. 

Source: AMD (page 27)

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  • JonnyDough - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    Agreed. Awaiting new software. If it were up to AMD they would have not included support for current generation software. :)

    Intel has been testing Bulldozer's near future capabilities thoroughly I am sure. Tomorrow may shed a new light on Bulldozer.
  • billy_kane - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    In philosophy angle terms, five finger held tightly together what is a fist, For the architecture of the bulldozer as its deal with lack of multithreading optimization program need develop a set of this line of thinking mode.
    Although I agree bulldozer is indeed the future and is a potential of the architecture, but AMD and unavoidable single thread properties of weak problem, in my opinion Intel company is just in the simple and crude the single thread on the project for advantage, but have FMA4 and XOP bulldozer framework directive, once send force 2700 K is not its opponents, but this does not mean that single thread performance can be ignored, to rather most desktop users for the actual only use of the environment is concerned, many procedures can only call a few processing thread the but again very eager to obtain strong performance, thus developing a similar in multi-GPU implementation of work patterns bracketing BIOS is absolutely feasible, so the CPU can close the all the unnecessary using modules, and put the saved energy consumption focus on concentrated in a single module on the voltage such as frequency boost and so on to conversion and further exchange the performance in the busing single thread, such a BIOS may be seemingly a arabian nights, In fact, this is entirely feasible
  • Makaveli - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    Billy_kane what the hell did you just write I had trouble following any of that.
  • billy_kane - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    I want to express is a bulldozer on the topic of architecture, wish find out ameliorating the doldrums in low efficiency issues from the part of the Instructions per cycle of bulldozer.

    I may be a little bit excited, so i wrote was a bit orderless
  • JonnyDough - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    I think that AMD, realizing that they would have to get a leap on future PCs to keep up with the giant Intel, focused on a forward-looking architecture. Their goal was to make sure that it could keep up with current processors, and it does. It is still functional as a modern processor. It will get its day in the sun. This is a building block. By their standards it is likely no failure at all. They probably expected this.
  • Jamor - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    ... is a non-issue. Anything that's not multithreaded runs fast enough already. It's not like most of people were unzipping stuff all day long.

    Higher wattage is more of a problem, and the only real issue I have with these. Being the king of the hill would have been a nice change, but being able to trade punches and hold it's own against i5 is pretty good already.
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    single thread performance still matters ..
    you can easily bottleneck high end gpus with amd processors right now. plenty of popular games still aren't heavily threaded ..
  • jfelano - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    I think AMD will pull out of the desktop market all together, that is if they are smart.

    They have been moving into a ton of other markets over the last year and moving their resources to those markets.

    It's the smartest thing to do. The desktop is dying and staying in that market would cost too much.

    It'll be a sad day for all of us though, because then Intel will once again be able to charge whatever they want for their products.
  • a69 - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    Desktop is not dying anytime soon... If AMD pulls out of this market (unlikely) i'm sure there will be other viable options... Desktop is needed for biz, and no biz would like to spend >$1000 per desktop, that includes the OS, the Office suites and the support.
  • JonnyDough - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    I think that was an ignorant response. You do realize that the server space is still quite hungry for more efficient and faster processors and will be for years to come, right? I don't think we will ever have "too much" processing power.

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