Two weeks ago AMD introduced the Bulldozer FX-Series CPUs to much excitement, although many were letdown by the initial results, and it was months after showing the first Linux benchmarks of an AMD Dual-Interlagos pre-production system. In the days that followed I delivered some initial AMD FX-4100 Linux benchmarks when securing remote access to a low-end Bulldozer system running Ubuntu 11.04 (and there were also some Linux benchmarks from independent Phoronix readers), but then last week a Bulldozer kit arrived from AMD. The centerpiece of this kit is an eight-core AMD FX-8150 CPU, which is now being used to conduct a plethora of AMD Bulldozer benchmarks on Linux.
In this first proper round of AMD FX-8150 Linux testing, the performance of the octal-core Bulldozer is being compared to the remote results of the AMD FX-4100 system and then the other hardware that was used for comparison (namely Intel's Sandy Bridge) and other test hardware at Phoronix. Among the other tests that are still being carried out at Phoronix with the FX-8150, which will be published in the coming days, include:
- A comparison of the FX-8150 with the following compilers: GCC 4.6, GCC 4.7 (a development snapshot from mid-October), LLVM/Clang 3.0, and Open64. AMD's Bulldozer optimizations are also tested in this compiler comparison (the "bdver1" march/mtune flags) on supported compilers.
- A second Bulldozer compiler-focused article looking specifically at compiler tuning with AMD's Open64 compiler release and testing out various multi-threaded compiler optimizations provided by this GCC alternative.
- Looking at the Bulldozer core/module scaling performance when running an onslaught of CPU-intensive multi-threaded Linux benchmarks with 1/2/4/6/8 threads exposed to the system. Those results then normalized and compared against Intel Sandy Bridge, Intel Gulftown, and AMD Shanghai systems.
- Testing the yet-to-be-merged "AMD: Correct F15h IC aliasing issue" patch for the Linux kernel that is meant to potentially improve the Linux kernel performance for Bulldozer processors. The Linux 3.0 kernel performance is also compared to Linux 3.1 to see if there are any differences with the FX-8150.
- An analysis of the CPU power consumption, overall system power consumption, and CPU thermal performance while benchmarking AMD Turbo CORE technology under Ubuntu Linux.
- A look at the new AMD FX-Series water cooling system (a re-branded Asetek product) for Bulldozer hardware and overclocking performance of the FX-8150. The power consumption will also be looked at in this article.
- A look at the Linux KVM hardware virtualization performance on the FX-8150.
These are just the Bulldozer-focused Linux articles being worked on at the moment. Thanks to the open nature of Linux and many of AMD's open-source patches still floating around, there are many opportunities to explore compared to just running some performance tests on Windows and waiting for Microsoft to release updates that optimize the Bulldozer performance. With the Phoronix Test Suite building all of the CPU benchmarks from source-code, there are also more areas to investigate for Bulldozer performance than relying upon Windows binaries provided by vendors as benchmarks.
Other AMD Linux articles are highly likely as well and always welcome feedback on other areas to put this hardware under the Linux microscope (drop by the forums or find me on Twitter). When more optimization patches are published for the Linux kernel and the open-source compilers, they too will be tested.