AMD Bulldozer FX-8150 Processor Review

Author: MAC
Date: October 11, 2011
Product Name: AMD FX-8150
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Power Consumption / Temperature Testing

Power Consumption

For this section, every energy saving feature was enabled in the respective BIOSes and the Windows 7 power plan was changed from High Performance to Balanced.

For our idle test, we let the system idle for 15 minutes and measured the peak wattage through our UPM EM100 power meter.

For our CPU load test, we ran Prime95 v26.6 64-bit In-place large FFTs on all available threads for 15 minutes, measuring the peak wattage via the UPM EM100 power meter.

For our overall system load test, we ran Prime95 v26.6 64-bit In-place large FFTs on all available threads for 15 minutes, while simultaneously loading the GPU with OCCT v3.1.0 GPU:OCCT stress test at 1680x1050@60Hz in full screen mode.

Considering all the talk that we heard from AMD about how power efficiency was one of the main goals that they were striving for with Bulldozer, we can't help but feel a little underwhelmed. Yes, this processor does have 1.2 billion transistors, by far the most of any consumer-oriented processor, but considering that it is manufactured on the new 32nm process and that it was built from the ground to be power efficient, the load numbers aren't that impressive. When Intel released the 32nm Core i7-2600K they karate chopped power consumption by 50% over 45nm Bloomfield LGA1366 chips, we were honestly hoping for something similar from this new generation of AMD chips.

Performance-per-watt is roughly equivalent to Bloomfield, so they caught up to a processor series that Intel launched in 2008. But when compared to Sandy Bridge, the situation looks abysmal. 50% higher CPU load power consumption numbers? That's pretty bad when you consider that the i7-2600K generally wipes the floor with FX-8150. Idle performance is fairly impressive though, so that at least is something to build upon.

Now to be fair, let's restate that the Sandy Bridge chips in this graph have an almost unfair advantage in the form of the Intel DP67BG motherboard. This Intel-manufactured motherboard has unmatched power consumption, easily 10-20W less than comparable motherboards from the big three motherboard manufacturers. However, it doesn't change the above comparison.

Temperature Testing

For the temperature testing, since we were not given a default cooler from AMD, we used a Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme with a Thermalright TR-FDB-1600 fan. The ambient temperature was 24°C/75.2°F. The application used to monitor temperatures was AIDA64 v1.85.1653 beta Keep in mind that the thermal sensors in most modern processors are not really accurate at measuring idle temperatures, hence the very small delta between the room temp and the idle results.

Idle: The system was left to idle for 15 minutes.
Load: Prime 95 In-place large FFTs was run for 15 minutes.

As we have said in the past, AMD are known for making cool-running processors, and our FX-8150 sample was no different. Despite its eight highly-clocked cores with a total of 1.2 billion transistors, we couldn't even get the processor to hit 50°C. For comparison sake, it runs about 5C hotter than our Phenom II X4 980.

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