While AMD still isn’t giving out the definitive release date of the elusive processors based on the next-generation Bulldozer core, motherboard manufacturer Gigabyte leaked the SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) of the Zambezi processors. Zambezi cores will be known as AMD FX processors, targeting the enthusiast market. The SKUs have been previously only known through leaked slides by the Turkish site Donamimhaber (or AMD Leak Central if you wish).
AMD Bulldozer lineup makes an official appearance in the BIOS release notes for the GA-990FXA-UD5 motherboard
As you can see, the top model will be called FX-8150 and clock at 3.6GHz at a TDP of 125W. There will be additional 8-core models with clock speeds of 3.1GHz and 2.8GHz. Additionally there will be a 6-core version clocking at 3.3GHz and a quad-core version at 3.6GHz. Each module providing two integer-cores and a shared FPU gets 2MB of shared L2 cache. All processing cores can access a 8MB L3 cache. According to this listing the final version is the B2 stepping.
Bulldozer-based products already suffered from quite a few setbacks. Originally it was planned that the consumer siblings would see the world in 2008/09 timeframe, but AMD went back to the drawing board. Under the new plan, FX was supposed to be released in the second quarter (May-June-July), but Computex saw another 60-90 day delay. In the second quarter AMD already employed a "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy about the issue, even though it was glaringly obvious. Now the renewed deadline is all but over with no sign of the chip in sight. To the best of our knowledge, media has not yet been briefed about the product, whereas similar briefings regarding Llano took place as early as a month before launch.
GigaByte GA-990FXA-UD5 – The motherboard launched in June 2011, still waiting for its intended processors: FX-4100, FX-6100, FX-8100, FX-8120, FX-8130 and the top performing FX-8150
Current rumors place the launch anywhere between September 19th and sometime mid-October. The latter would mean that AMD would break with their original plan to deliver the server SKU in the third quarter, assuming they don’t launch it ahead of the consumer version.
In case of a slip, financial analysts would be less than happy considering that the executives reinforced their commitment to deliver Bulldozer on time only a bit more than a month ago in their second quarter earnings call. Recently we learned that Bulldozer yields are fine, so where’s the issue…?
Regarding the performance of Bulldozer, we believe it is still too early to make a final verdict. There have been numerous leaked benchmarks over the course of the last months, but in most cases the credibility of those is strongly doubted. The leaked performance numbers are allegedly from engineering samples (ES) and were lower than expected. There are differing opinions regarding this aspect. Some people think, that Bulldozer is simply that bad. Others believe, that the ES chips were hamstrung by some bug that AMD would fix in the release stepping, or the popular theory that AMD somehow managed to artificially hamper performance to keep the secret until the very last day.
Here at Bright Side of News*, we had our fair share of playing with the Engineering Samples clocked at 1.8GHz and 3.2GHz, and in both cases the performance was less than satisfactory – especially in terms of memory bandwidth, which was seriously lagging behind Sandy Bridge processors (lower efficiency).
Assuming the info from Gigabyte is valid, the stepping theory becomes less likely, as said ES chips had the same B2 stepping as is listed on the SKU table. In any case, we hope AMD can soon update expectant enthusiasts with first hand info. We will keep you posted, whatever the final outcome may be.