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Red Team Discussions

Adept III

Bulldozer/Excavator Rework?

Question(s) lots in fact...sorry.

Why doesn't AMD just rework bulldozer to include proper SMT?

CMT Just hasn't aged as well.

Wouldn't it theoretically be relatively easy to dump everything that is ZEN except the actual cores onto the am3+ socket?

Surely FX has some pins left over, maybe not enough for all the Zen features but still.

Basically Bulldozer cores + as many other peripherals from ZEN, e.g. SMT, SSE4 and such.

To me that sounds like a stellar plan considering their finances and market share, surely getting an extra chip on the market can only be a good thing right?

Also if AMD think everyone is just gonna buy a new mobo (AM4 socket), then think again.

One of the most expensive things for a PC user is moving to another socket, as often Sata, PCI, and D-ram also become outdated/incompatible.

And frankly not everyone is running at 4k, thus not everyone would necessarily benefit from buying into the next gen (at least for the 1st 2 years or so). Besides that would free up so much more budget, for e.g. a much better GPU, SDD's etc. Even if ZEN is a success there are so many more Intel alternatives, they still wouldn't really be relevant, or did I miss something here?

Wouldn't this be a home run financially?

How many AMD PC's would remain relevant, users could simply upgrade the CPU on their old rig and make it somewhat relevant again right?

Besides I only really see problems like PCI-lane limitations, but even so for gamers for example that would only really become a problem when running like 4 Enthousiast GPU's in Quadfire/SLI.

And IPC would be on par with Intel's comparable offerings if they include SMT, since that seems to be the factor which is most holding it back.

Also games that need it are pretty much already coded to use SMT, so no...or at least very little driver team support would be needed.

BTW I'm certain it would actually be allot harder to do than I make it sound, but they've already pioneered dual gpu's, so is this really so far fetched?

Why hasn't this been done yet?

Anyway just my thoughts/questions. What do you guys think is this a viable path?

BTW I mean alongside Zen not replacing it obviously.

P.S. Do AMD tech guys visit these forums?

P.P.S. Do they listen to suggestions like this?

7 Replies
Adept II

Re: Bulldozer/Excavator Rework?

"Why doesn't AMD just rework bulldozer to include proper SMT?

CMT Just hasn't aged as well."

CMT and SMT are effectively opposite ways to achieve the same basic effect.  CMT uses multiple small cores to provide more performance to more threads using less overall hardware than two cores.  SMT uses a single large core to provide more performance using more threads using less overall hardware than two cores.

That said, they undoubtedly used a great deal of the Bulldozer front-end (decoders, etc.) in implementing SMT.


As for making Zen compatible with AM3+, it could, potentially, be done if the core doesn't have requirements the socket can't provide... and Zen has a DDR3 memory controller.  There would be a decent upgrade market, but whether or not it would be financially beneficial to AMD is hard to determine.  I'm thinking most people running AM3+ systems would certainly not mind an upgrade, but most of those motherboards would never see BIOS updates to support Zen, giving AMD a possible support headache.


P.S. Do AMD tech guys visit these forums?

Yes, they sometimes even respond.

P.P.S. Do they listen to suggestions like this?

Probably not, by the time we here about this stuff, the decisions are made - by management.


Re: Bulldozer/Excavator Rework?

This would be a great idea! If you were able to reuse (or keep using) an AM3+ rig by adding a Zen or Zen-like CPU that would be great! Now i'm not sure if it would work very well/ if the truly high end Zen would be available if AMD did so but would be interesting either way.  It could really be amazing for so many rigs that are aging now but still have decent components other than the CPU (Mobo, GPU etc. that are still more than good).

Not sure why AMD hasn't done a true SMT yet, that is supposdly coming on Zen.... maybe.

Perhaps some manufacturers might even release new AM3 boards, like the recent MSI one.

I think some AMD tech guys go to these forums... Not sure on that one though. For sure some of AMD's people do show up quite often here though, like sam.tehrani​ and erin.maiorino​! And, going by the Red Team Swag post they listen to suggestions!

Adept III

Re: Bulldozer/Excavator Rework?

They are focused on New tech and ZEN ! so may be they won't go back ! plus Industry now moved to 14 nm fabrication.


Re: Bulldozer/Excavator Rework?

Although it would be nice to get some longer life out of my current setup. The features of the Zen processors and things Like PCIE 3.0

and DDR4 make more sense in a new socket tbh. They can then build upon and improve newer tech. I must say I am really excited about zen

not only the FX line but what the zen APUs + HBM could mean for compact systems. I think AMD are setting themselves up for a great next

few years.

Adept II

Re: Bulldozer/Excavator Rework?

I'm thinking something more along the lines of a Zen Overdrive (akin to the Pentium Overdrive of old).

It would be a special product that would be designed to fit into AM3+ as an effort to reward their current customers with a longer life for their current systems.  It was this type of thing in the past that helped drive loyalties.

I have used these types of solutions everywhere possible in the past.  The habit of requiring a new socket or new motherboard each time a new generation comes out helps Intel, but hurts AMD, IMHO.

Adept II

Re: Bulldozer/Excavator Rework?

Tbh the best thing they could have done is do a Steamroller Highend Chip.

Steamroller is much faster than Piledriver where it counts and leads to a smoother computing experience.

Even if the steamroller chips could only hit 4.4Ghz they would be effectively as fast as 4.8Ghz+ Piledriver chips in single core and 5.2Ghz Piledriver chips in multicore.

Which would have given AMD a performance boost that they could have really used.

Now @ your arguement that CMT hasn't aged well.... I beg to differ.

FX has actually aged better than any other chip. This is due to more software supporting multi-threading than it did when Piledriver came out.
This goes double for games as basically all games were single-threaded in 2012 and now more than 50% of games are multi-threaded, especially past 2 cores (major titles only).

Adept II

Re: Bulldozer/Excavator Rework?

They should let am3 die. It is old and inefficient platform. We are heading to SoC design step closer with each generation.

AMD is partnering for their next chipset with Asmedia. These guys know what they'r doing. We should expect better performance of SB components with SATA taking priority.

Yes. games are more and more multithreaded, but there is always this one pesky single thread that gets capped first and stops the game from tapping the available processing power on the rest of the CPU. DX12, Mantle and vulcan will help, but it would still be beneficial to have a strong single core.

big_LITTLE seems like a great solution, where the big threads do heavy lifting, and small threads do multithreaded code and background tasks. I tried to do this on my Fx8300 and set it to 4.2GHz on all cores with Turbo to 5.0GHz. Sadly it didn't work in games I played because the load was spread across 4 or more threads and turbo never kicked in, and even if it did, it wasn't the most loaded thread that was boosted. Fixing this behaviour and having a proper turbo could increase performance by 20% (4.2 vs 5,0) without impacting power draw too much. Sadly windows is not very effective with managing amd CPUs, and I don't see MS fixing it by themselves.