AMD Lifts NDA On Bulldozer CPU, Benchmarks Not Impressive

AMD (NYSE:AMD) lifted their NDA today that they had on various media-outlets for benchmarking of the code-named Bulldozer, AM3+ socket processor.

This processor was AMD’s most hyped processor-to-date and the release was held back enough where it kinda edged on a Duke Nukem Forever release schedule (a software title that was seemingly in development, indefinitely).

Turns out AMD was probably best off not releasing the thing at all, if you are an enthusiast.

Problem is, AMD spent well over 1,000 days developing the processor only to have it complete some benchmark trials in the hands of reviewers noticeably behind their Phenom II processors.  AMD marketed the Bulldozer as having “8 processor cores” and it’s lagging behind their former 6-core processors and behind competing products from Intel.

Bulldozer deviates from a traditional processor architecture in regard to ‘cores,’ instead engineers at AMD call what Bulldozer has ‘modules.’  Each module has two integer processing units with a shared floating point unit.  Marketing being what it is naturally will try to put the best spin that they possibly can, so they count the integer units as ‘cores’ when traditional sense demands it be called 4 cores.  The end result is that you have 8 integer units and 4 floating point units, rather than having an equal amount of integer and floating point units per-core.

Just past midnight, reviewers were no longer shackled to the NDA they had agreed to and reviews began to hit the Internet from well over a dozen media outlets.  In the days before, benchmarks had been released that were not officially sanctioned by AMD, notably by some media outlets overseas.  Many enthusiasts gathering on internet messaging forums patiently awaited ‘official’ benchmark statistics, and hopeful that the overall negative benchmarking results shown on some of these ‘rogue’ sites were wrong.

The official benchmarks hit the Internet today, and turns out some of those rogue sites have been validated as legit overall.

Here are a few links for your review to reputable media outlets with benchmarks (not affiliated with TickerReport.com):

There is no denying it, the Bulldozer leaves much to be desired.  The processor is AMD’s crown jewel and brings back memories of Intel’s initial Pentium 4 series that was disastrous.

I thought for sure that AMD’s stock would nose dive today, but it has not happened.  In fact, AMD continues to be on a bullish run after hitting a 52-week low just six trading days ago.  Probably a good thing that most investors are not enthusiasts because if they realized what has happened within the past 24 hours they might very well get cold feet.

The technology looks solid, perhaps in due time it will mature and AMD will iron out (any potential) bugs.  For now, there is possibly laughter somewhere in Intel HQ and probably even their engineers are wondering what went wrong in Austin, Texas.

The market needs a competitive AMD to keep Intel honest on price and product.  At the end of the day nobody can fault AMD for not being innovative, in this case, they possibly took innovation to another level and forgot where they came from.  The good news is that they have a finished product, and it’s just sitting there waiting to be tweaked.  AMD’s next release, code-named ‘Piledriver,’ hopefully incorporates desired performance enhancements.

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