Intel's Sandy Bridge Vs. AMD Bulldozer CPUs: No Contest

The next generation of top performing CPUs is about to arrive: Intel's Sandy Bridge family will start shipping at the beginning of 2011 followed by AMD's Bulldozer microprocessors towards the end of 2011. Bulldozer has been touted by AMD evangelists as the CPU which will finally reverse the 5+ year downwards spiral of the Green Team even though it will premiere almost a year behind Intel's new microprocessor which spanks the AMD Bulldozer in every imaginable way and turns out to be a better performing CPU by orders of magnitude.

AMD fans remind me of the Trekkies who kept insisting that Captain Sulu be given his own TV show or movie about his exploits aboard the USS Excelsior. It didn't matter to them that nobody except Trekkies themselves would even care to watch a USS Excelsior series or movie, what was important was that the idea was such great "wishful thinking" that it just had to become reality.

That's what AMD aficionados are doing now with the long rumored and even longer delayed Bulldozer CPU: It's such "wishful thinking" in a Green Team FTW way that it just has to beat Intel's Sandy Bridge... even though it's a bit like running a 1977 Chevette against Alonso's F1 Ferrari. "The AMD Bulldozer has to be way better than Sandy Bridge... it just has to..." they exclaim with the childish enthusiastic illusion of wishing to grow wings to fly high above the playground.

AMD fans better start pulling their heads out of their green recti, as basically Sandy Bridge is a bulldozer for Bulldozer. Let's put it in an earth-moving terminology AMD enthusiasts can understand: If AMD's new CPU is a bulldozer, Intel's new CPU is a hydrogen bomb.

AMD has made much hay of its Fused Multiply Add (FMA) instruction set and how it will give it such an amazing advantage, blah, blah, blah. FMA is a superlative example of AMD doublespeak if not outright pathetic delusion from the boardroom on down. Sure, FMA can speedily process software that is specifically written for FMA, but given that the only CPU in the world that has FMA is Bulldozer, and it is likely to be adopted by Intel on the twelfth of never, does AMD really think that the software community is going to rush out and produce two completely different versions of their programs... one for Bulldozer (which is likely to capture barely a fraction of 1% of the total installed number of CPUs during its lifetime) and another for every other CPU on the planet? What was I saying about "wishful thinking?"

With the software publishers looking at AMD's FMA and laughing heartily, the reality of the situation is that Sandy Bridge's AVX throughput is easily double that of Bulldozer's, and thus the one single aspect of the Green Team's new chip which was supposed to be its coup de grace turns out to be nothing more than a loud raspberry.

Without listing a litany of technical features integrated within Intel's Sandy Bridge (which has been adequately addressed in the many reviews of the architecture on tech sites), let's sum it up simply by saying: Sandy Bridge will provide performance per watt and per dollar which is going to make computer users who work for AMD go buy one. This one is no contest. Advantage: Sandy Bridge.

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Comments 3 comments

David 5 years ago

I am a big AMD fan, but im not blind. Intel Core I7 crush AMD, but at the end of the day... does it matter? surfing the web and checking email doesnt take a quad core processor with hyperthreading. 90% of us barely need a dual core. I am a sales rep out of best buy and ive only two customers even care about how fast the processor is... they only care about how cheap it is.


cmdematos 5 years ago

The speed at which software makes use of new CPU capabilities is much faster than you think. The keyword here is 'Virtual Machines'. Not as in machine virtualization (VirtualBox/VMWare/ESX), but as in Virtual Run-Time environments (Dot.Net, Java, PHP, Adobe Air).

The same can and will be said of the mainstream OS's out there trying to out-do one another (OSX, Windows, Linux).

Dont imagine that hordes of developers will be re-compiling their code, instead imagine that 4 or so development shops with substantial resources each and with a large vested interest in outdoing the other 3 each go out of their way to ensure that they take advantage of all the features they can.

Hence, no end-user applications need be rewritten. The new CPU features will not languish for long at all.


billy 5 years ago

Bulldozer is better than Sandy Bridge because they have double integer core and fpu in one module. Eight ineger from amd is much faster than four from intel. Its much better for multitasking speed up 80% vs. Intel HT is only 10-30%.

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