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AMD Stats Hardware

AMD Downgrades Bulldozer Transistor Count By 800 Million 149

Posted by timothy
from the but-who's-counting-is-the-actual-question dept.
Robadob writes "It has come to light that AMD PR had originally reported that the new Bulldozer processor's transistor count was 2 billion. AMD PR are now asking reviewers to correct this count to 1.2 billion from the original amount they provided ~3 months ago."
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AMD Downgrades Bulldozer Transistor Count By 800 Million

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  • Backwards into the future.
    • Re:LOL (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 04, 2011 @06:17PM (#38260842)

      Isn't this better? Doesn't this mean that the processor is smaller and more efficient?

      Transistors are HUGE!!! You ever see a transistor radio?

      I guess I just don't understand hardware. It just doesn't make sense to me. How can these fucking weird-ass CYLINDERS that are painted in stripes, plus weird flat "wires" on a green piece of whatever-the-fuck, actually do something? It makes NO SENSE.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Water, fire, air and dirt
        Fucking magnets, how do they work?
        And I don’t wanna talk to a scientist
        Y’all motherfuckers lying, and getting me pissed.

      • by Grave (8234)

        Not really - fewer transistors, sure, but the inefficiency where it matters (power usage, performance) is still worse than the previous generation, and well behind where Intel is. If anything, the fact that it is 1.2bn transistors instead of 2bn gives them even less of an excuse for the amount of power these things are sucking down while doing less work than the last generation.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Whoosh!

        • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

          by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday December 05, 2011 @04:22AM (#38263850) Journal

          From the looks of it Bulldozer is another Phenom I, where they have to use a generation getting the bugs out. Phenom II was and is an excellent chip BTW, sure its not gonna slaughter the latest and greatest from Intel but the dirty little secret AMD and Intel don't want to talk about is that for 95%+ of the users out there PCs have been "good enough" for quite some time. hell I'm the kind of guy that was building himself a new PC practically every year in the past, now my AMD Deneb quad is going on 3 years old and if I get that Thuban upgrade i plan to for my BDay i could easily see it lasting another 5 years, maybe more.

          The smart move which I applaud the new AMD CEO for doing is cutting down on the desktop product to crank the living hell out of mobile because that is where the money is at right now. you look at Brazos and they have been selling out of those chips as fast as they can crank them and as an owner of a EEE E-350 netbook I can see why, 6 hours of battery life running full Win 7 HP X64, takes 8Gb of RAM easily, does full HD video without a stutter, low heat, and its a great little multitasker chip, running head and shoulder better than Atom and often beating ION at a lower price. The OEMs have taken notice it seems as i have seen Brazos in netbooks, all in ones, and HTPCs all over the place. Walking into my local Walmart the other day, a place that just a few years ago was strictly Intel land, more than 3/4ths of the laptop/netbooks and virtually all the desktops were AMD Fusion. I asked one of the guys I knew there about them and he said 'These things are selling like crazy, great for video and FB' which is of course where most folks are nowadays.

          Frankly I think the path AMD is on is the smart one right now but its gonna have teething problems. They are in the process of switching their GPUs from VLIW to vector and looking at the chip bulldozer arch is really made for the new vector GPUs that simply aren't finished. by switching to vector you'll have a super FP that the CPU can hand off heavy math to when not in use for gaming while having a smaller FP on the CPU thus allowing more cores per chip. Like the switch to Stars its gonna take some teething pains to get everything switched over to the new designs and having GloFlo drop the ball certainly didn't help.

          Personally I can easily see a day where Intel owns the top end and that is pretty much it, as AMD cranks out the chips for the low and midrange. Frankly the dual core Brazos is more powerful than 90% of the jobs my customers could come up with and I can see a quad version pretty much owning the low and midrange sectors due to the combo of price/performance and lower power. Just give them time folks, they are still cranking out Denebs and Thubans so I'd stick with those for now and let the new BD arch get the bugs worked out and by the time the chip after Piledriver comes out the boards and laptops will be cheap and plentiful. Until then just stick with Thuban, Mobile Phenom II and Brazos.

          • It all depends right? Powerful enough is a relative term. Doesn't much matter if it takes 0.25 sec longer to open a file in a home environment but how about business if it takes 0.25 seconds to go to the next customer/patient/part page on your system? if you are living in that system all day it could save you 10min a day lets say. 10min at 25/hr average salary and it only takes a month or so to justify a better processor. Since IT tends to churn machines on a 2-5 year cycle there is a lot of saved time to b
            • by hairyfeet (841228)

              Dude have you EVER worked corp? Because your post don't sound like it because it ain't the chip that slows corporate its CORPORATE BULLSHIT that slows corporate!

              The last corp I had the misfortune to work hired gun for had no less than FOUR different startup scripts that ALL had to load before you could even log in, Norton "extra sucky" Edition making even a new tab feel like trying to run win98 on a 386SX, two different shares they had Windows autoloading and every single page had to go through all the corp

    • Great sig, MasterNerd.

  • noob (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    NO, you stupid AMD, don't do that...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Get rid of 800 million transistors? Sure 800,000,000 vacuum tubes it is.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 04, 2011 @06:09PM (#38260774)

    The FPU in these chips rounds 1.2 billion up to 2.0 billion.

    • by youn (1516637)

      Haha, according to a rumor I just made up, someone from the PR Department was using an old pentium lying around with the FDIV bug. It rounds of 2 billions for very large quantities of 1 billion :p

  • by unity100 (970058) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @06:09PM (#38260776) Homepage Journal
    With the new ceo ?

    Normally the route of a true american corporate cultured corporation would be to deny everything and fool everyone and rip as much cash as it can. Until they were confronted at courts.

    But now, amd marketing is rather needlessly contacting reviewers to make corrections, while taking a hit in p.r.

    But is it really a hit ? Coupled with the fact that the new ceo kicked a lot of marketing staff, this tells me that the new term in amd is going to be a term reminiscent of early 90s in technology - a responsible era in which corporations have actually manufactured useful gadgets and sold them honestly, trying to get the edge on each other through tech - not with filthy dealings or deceit (hello intel and the bribery verdict)
    • If AMD kicked out their PR department and replaced them with your semi-coherent fanboy rants, then I'd say they made a mistake. Fortunately, it looks like you don't get paid to do marketing for AMD... and from the looks of the knock-off PHP plugins that you likely plagiarized from open-source projects and then re-sell, you aren't making money from practically anywhere else either.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 04, 2011 @06:12PM (#38260798)

    I'm paying for *transistor count*, not GFLOPS!!!

    Priorities, people!

  • Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RobinEggs (1453925) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @06:21PM (#38260886)
    I understand the importance of truth in advertising, but is this information meaningful, or just an insignificant correction? The magnitude of the difference alone doesn't automatically make this an important story, or the exposure of some big, inexcusable lie by AMD.

    What's the true relevance of transistor count? If I see two processors with identical performance and power efficiency but radically different transistor counts do I have any real world incentive to select one over the other? I mean, presumably the one with fewer transistors in roughly the same die space might overclock better, might have a longer MTBF, etc., but beyond that should I care?

    Or did timothy post this just to keep up the fanboi flame wars?
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @06:35PM (#38261016) Journal
      I suspect that transistor count means different things to different people.

      The PR numbers provided for tech journalist previews and fan-wank benchmarks are pretty much just noise: If the number is big, you'll see a couple of sentences about "zOMG 2 Billion! motherfucker is a BEAST!". If the number is small, you'll see a couple of lines about how 'the foocorp design team was heavily focused on optimization for this generation'. The only thing the end customer will care about are the benchmarks at the end.

      For people attempting to glean financially useful clues about a company's process strength or design prowess, or ability to hit some thermal target in the upcoming product cycle, transistor counts are likely much more relevant; but are also rather less likely to depend on PR numbers(actually reverse engineering a modern x86 chip would be Serious Business; but just paying somebody to crack the top off, get some die shots, and provide good ballpark numbers on transistor numbers and allocation between cache and various functional blocks should be relatively cheap compared to some of the moves you might make on the basis of such information...)

      It seems bafflingly weird that PR would provide a number so grossly wrong, since the fanboys and the haters basically make no real use of the number and the people who really care should be able to easily detect a lie of that magnitude; but I'd be somewhat surprised if the original PR numbers meant all that much.
      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Funny)

        by msauve (701917) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @06:51PM (#38261130)
        "It seems bafflingly weird that PR would provide a number so grossly wrong"

        Not really.

        Marketeer: How many transistors in the new chip?
        Engineer: We're up over a billion now.
        Marketeer: Ok, thanks. 2 billion.
      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by marcosdumay (620877) <marcosdumay&gmail,com> on Sunday December 04, 2011 @07:19PM (#38261316) Homepage Journal

        "I suspect that transistor count means different things to different people."

        No, it means nearly nothing to anybody. The closest one I've seen is another answer to this thread linking it to cache sizes, but even then, people measure caches on bytes, not transistors.

        Buyers want software performance, measured by benchmarks, cache size + instruction throughput, or any other functional metric. Engineers care more about hight level units, except where they optimize deeper, fabs care about die area. Nobody cares about how many times a poly line crosses over a crystaline line.

        By the way, that is probably the reason such a huge mistake in the number could be made. Nobody cared.

        • Transistor count means a lot to the future evolution of the product. If it's lower than the competitor, then that means that (on the same process technology) you can fit more onto a wafer and so they'll be cheaper. A low count means that you can easily fit extra cores on a die. The transistor count also implies the transistor count per core, so a lower number means that adding a couple of extra cores is less expensive that previously thought so it's likely to happen sooner. It may also mean that they're

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            Transistor count means a lot to the future evolution of the product. If it's lower than the competitor, then that means that (on the same process technology) you can fit more onto a wafer and so they'll be cheaper. A low count means that you can easily fit extra cores on a die. The transistor count also implies the transistor count per core, so a lower number means that adding a couple of extra cores is less expensive that previously thought so it's likely to happen sooner. It may also mean that they're und

      • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Macman408 (1308925) on Monday December 05, 2011 @12:35AM (#38262988)

        It seems bafflingly weird that PR would provide a number so grossly wrong, since the fanboys and the haters basically make no real use of the number and the people who really care should be able to easily detect a lie of that magnitude; but I'd be somewhat surprised if the original PR numbers meant all that much.

        IANALE (I am not a layout engineer), but it's my understanding that it is not an easy task to actually figure out how many transistors are contained within a modern chip. The CAD tools used aren't anything like Photoshop, where you can pop up an info window and see how many pixels it has. There are many different pieces within a chip - some might be standard library cells (like building a chip out of legos, rather than making a custom injection mold and filling it with plastic - where each building block is a few to a few thousand transistors (or more?). Other parts might be a full-custom layout, where somebody hand-placed every transistor to get the highest speed, lowest power, smallest area, or some combination of all of those. The chip might also include some hard macros, IP that is purchased from another company (like a memory controller or power manager) and just plopped onto the chip, with no insight to what is actually inside. There are hierarchies, and some parts (like cores or cache sub-blocks) are replicated a couple times, or a couple thousand times.

        So it's my indication that any time you hear one of these numbers, it's really just an estimate anyway. Probably some engineer at AMD heard the 2B number after PR trumpeted it, thought it sounded a little high, and found a mistake in somebody's estimate.

        Or, maybe more likely, marketing just made crap up without actually asking any of the engineers. That happens a lot too, and it pisses us engineers off to no end. At least when they do it after the product is made, PR has to fess up. When they do it before a product is finalized, it usually means engineering has to scramble and actually make it do whatever marketing promised.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          I wonder if they count non-functional ones too? A typical mid-range graphics chip is the same as a high end one except that some of the parts failed factory tests and were disabled. There are 1000 stream processors on the silicone, but only 800 of them actually work.

          • Theyre talking about a platform, so presumably all the transistors counted are functional in SOME iteration of the Bulldozer line.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          IANALE (I am not a layout engineer), but it's my understanding that it is not an easy task to actually figure out how many transistors are contained within a modern chip.

          I find this beyond difficult to believe due to the way computer chips are designed today, which is to say, entirely on the computer. You can figure out how many gates there are from the netlist [cs.tut.fi].

          • by mako1138 (837520)

            IANALE either, but I'm willing to believe it. Even if you have the netlist, the entities in the netlist are logic gates, or composite logic elements. Unless you go through the standard cell library and count gates, you don't know exactly how many transistors there are per entity. I'm also willing to believe that standard cells don't come with transistor counts, because at the chip level you're laying out rectangles of diffusion/metal/polysilicon and nobody cares about the exact number of transistors; plus t

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              First of all, they've got a figure now, did they just invent this one too? Secondly, the netlist is programmatic, it should be trivial to compute the number of actual transistors (transistor having a definition and all) with software. If someone can explain why you can't simply figure out when these rectangles overlap and whether there's three layers of alternating potential overlaid then I'll be impressed.

        • Re:Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by slew (2918) on Monday December 05, 2011 @11:20AM (#38266914)

          IANALE (I am not a layout engineer), but it's my understanding that it is not an easy task to actually figure out how many transistors are contained within a modern chip. The CAD tools used aren't anything like Photoshop, where you can pop up an info window and see how many pixels it has.

          Actually, it is really easy to figure out how many transistors there are. Generally, you run both LVS (logic vs schematic) and DRC (design rule checking) tools on the final layout data base. These tools look at all the transistors in the layout data base and compares them to the original design (LVS) and to make sure that the active areas of the transistors are spaced out accordingly to make sure they can be fabricated into masks that yield (the base rules are provided by the silicon foundary often augmented by the library provider). After you run these tools, AFAIK it just tells you how many transistors it checked. You might tell the tool to skip some parts of the design (say like rams) in the final netlist, but generally the parts you skip have been run through the tools before hand or in parallel.

          Of course running these tools takes a long time, and sometimes they are not finished running before the chip is fabricated for the first time. Sometimes, you send off the design or tape it out, and then you kick off running these tools so the chip starts to go to the mask-maker whist you are still running the LVS/DRC tools, but generally you know the results of LVS/DRC before you go into production (or your company probably isn't meeting your ISO 900x certification requirements). If nothing else, the fab will make you sign a yield waver if you don't run DRC (basically, they won't guarantee any working parts).

    • by evilviper (135110)

      Transistor count is closely tied to cache size. This CPU just went from "Extreme Edition" to "Celeron" to use Intel terminology.

      • Transistor count is closely tied to cache size. This CPU just went from "Extreme Edition" to "Celeron" to use Intel terminology.

        Alright, but doesn't that response just transform my question about transistor count in the whole processor into exactly the same question about transistor count in the SRAM? If the cache size and performance of the whole unit are reported accurately, should real people care how many transistors there are?

        Is there some kickass use case for a chip with a SuperPi score of X, a SPEC score of Y, a 6MB cache, 8 threads, 2.9 GHZ clock, and 2 billion transistors that totally falls apart on a processor with the

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rbmyers (587296) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @06:40PM (#38261040)
      Bulldozer has apparently been a disappointment. Why? One wonders. One suspects that AMD encountered some late-in-the-game, unexpected, and very unpleasant surprises. Maybe 2 billion is closer to the number they wanted it to have. Sounds more and more like the NetBurst Story. Intel never did figure out how to add in enough transistors to make the design work well without breaking the power budget. Robert.
      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by icebike (68054) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @06:48PM (#38261100)

        Or maybe 2billion is what the thing actually has, but in order to get it to work they had to abandon a significant portion even if they still exist on the chip.
        It wouldn't be the first time unused banks of memory were left on chip but simply abandoned.

        • Re:Why? (Score:5, Funny)

          by mobby_6kl (668092) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @06:57PM (#38261164)

          Or maybe 2B is what Bulldozer actually has, but their new PR team came up with the idea: claim it only has 1.2B transistors, so even though it still sucks, at least it doesn't need 2 billion transistors to do it.

          • by wvmarle (1070040)
            Won't more transistors allow it to suck better?
            • by mobby_6kl (668092)

              Of course, ideally that would be true. But when it turned out not to be the case, damage control mode kicked in and they now try to claim that at least it sucks efficiently.

        • by asdf7890 (1518587)
          Or 2.0 billion is what it really has but they ship with some cores/cache disabled, so in X months time they can sell the same chip without the cores turned off as an "extreme" model or follow what Intel have talked about and have people pay more after sale for a code sequence that will make the CPU unlock the disabled cores. If that were the case then maybe someone in technical has had a word with someone in legal to the effect of "are we sure we can legally sell it in all territories with that number even
        • by fnj (64210)

          eH? Two BILLION? That's a whale of a processor.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Funny)

      by poity (465672) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @07:11PM (#38261260)

      PR department playing telephone
      First person: "We have 1.2 billion transistors"
      Next person: "Wow, that's about 1 and a quarter billion transistors!"
      Next person: "Wait, 1 and quarter billion transistors? That's almost 1.5 billion!"
      Next person: "Holy shit, 1.5 billion transistors? That's nearly 2 billion!"

      • by Hadlock (143607)

        That's probably not too far from the truth. Someone in marketing probably thought transistor count was a statistic you could fudge, like contrast ration (10,000,000,000:1 contrast ration display! wowie! .... from grey to dark grey). Once a number is checked out by the guy in charge of things (probably new due to the recent PR flush) it gets passed around as a word doc or pdf of bullet talking points or specs and printed on fancy glossy paper by people who don't understand computers much beyond photoshop and

    • by Kjella (173770)

      You as a customer, no. For the people interested in the technology or in trying to get any market insight out of it, yes. For example, customers doesn't care if something is on 45nm or 32nm but we know it has a huge impact on chips/wafer and so cost. I'd speculate but since you want the customer view, move along these are not the news you are looking for.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The number of transistors is roughly proportional to both the performance of the machine and its power usage. Of course 0.8b could be electrically disabled (fuses or whatever) and they would act as if they weren't there, but then they would be taking die space for no reason, which would still impact the price.

      In comparison, a 4-core Sandy Bridge has 1.16b transistors, which means it still has enough transistors that a proper design should be comparable in performance at the same clock rate, so any actual di

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by realityimpaired (1668397) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @09:34PM (#38262162)

      What's the true relevance of transistor count? If I see two processors with identical performance and power efficiency but radically different transistor counts do I have any real world incentive to select one over the other? I mean, presumably the one with fewer transistors in roughly the same die space might overclock better, might have a longer MTBF, etc., but beyond that should I care?

      If you can find one processor with 2 billion transistors, and another with 1.2 billion, and they both draw exactly the same power requirements, performance, instruction set, and have the same heat envelope, then either somebody in marketing is lying, or somebody is doing something horribly wrong. On the one hand, it should not take 2 billion transistors to do something that can be done with 2/3 of that, but on the other hand, if you have 1/3 fewer transistors, you should experience an according decrease in heat leakage.

      That being said, numbers like transistor count matter to enthusiasts. These are the same people who used to spend $1000 to buy the 3.8GHz P4 chip instead of the $300 3.4GHz chip. For some folks on the market, bigger == better, and there's no point in trying to explain to them that they can accomplish the same job with a less powerful chip. Some people build/buy/upgrade computers so that they can brag about being more powerful than their buddies, and when you couple that mentality with a disposable income, well, you know the rest.

      For somebody like me, it's not likely to make a big difference. But I'm typing this on a laptop that's powered by a Celeron U3600 ULV chip... a dual core 1.2GHz processor that's designed for low power consumption, not high performance. It's been a long time since I have built/bought a high performance system, and I'm unlikely to get back into that game for a while: I gave up on computer gaming years ago. The one thing in this announcement that may give me pause next time I build a system is that a revision from 2 billion to 1.2 billion transistors probably means some kind of manufacturing problem that they thought they could overcome, but are now not thinking they can. Even if that's not the case, AMD is going to have egg on their face a while over this one.

    • by Jonner (189691)

      Of course it shouldn't matter to customers how many transistors a chip has. It should only matter what it can do and how much power it needs to do it. However, I think more transistors generally means more power dissipation, so AMD may be trying to allay fears that the chip will be a power hog.

    • by Goragoth (544348)
      One reason that transistor count matters is that it allows you to make some comparison regarding the efficiency of the processor. If the previous claim of 2 billion transistors were correct the efficiency of BD compared to Intels SB would have been horrible (almost twice the transistor count and significantly lower performance in most benchmarks). On the other hand if the new 1.2 billion figure is correct it means instead that the transistor density is quite bad (since the die size is still the same) and o
  • by Guppy (12314) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @06:22PM (#38260898)

    I guess the new figures make a little more sense. Bulldozer's performance was fairly similar to their previous (and smaller) Thuban Core, at 904 million transistors -- it was as if AMD decided to take more than half of their transistor design budget, heap it in a corner, and set it on fire.

  • It's not like we are going to count this any faster.
    • by rust627 (1072296)

      "1,069,234,873"
      "1,069,234,874"
      "1,069,234,875"
      "Coffee ?"
      "Yes please"
      "2 sugars ?"
      "yes , thanks"
      "1,069,...... "
      "1,062........."
      "1"
      "2"
      "3"
      "4......."

  • by CajunArson (465943) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @06:34PM (#38261008) Journal

    So a few points about this rather bizarre announcement:

    1. Unfortunately for AMD this does nothing to reduce the power consumption of Bulldozer which is higher than a 3960x at stock speeds. When you remember that over 1/3 of the transistors on the CPU (using the new 1.2 Billion transistor count) are in the L3 cache that only runs at 2.2 Ghz while the L3 on the 3960x runs at full-speed, you have to wonder at whether GloFo's 32 nm process has some fundamental flaws, or if AMD didn't listen to GloFo's design rules (or some of both).

    2. AMD's and GloFo's combined marketing of their "gate-first" 32 nm process bragged loudly and repeatedly that gate-first (as opposed to gate-last used by Intel) gave 20%+ transistor density benefits and that Intel's process wasn't truly 32 nm. Well, when Bulldozer was reported to have a die area of 315 mm^2 and a 2 billion transistor count, this seemed like a justified advantage. Now, however, the transistor density of Bulldozer is lower than any other 32nm design from either AMD or Intel. Note: the same AMD PR guys that adjusted the transistor count confirmed that the 315 mm^2 die size is still accurate.

    Rory Read is smart to shift the focus away from these unmanufacturable monsters and to put it on the next-generation of Bobcat and Trinity designs where AMD can actually leverage it's only real advantage over Intel: the GPU.

    • by Dr. Spork (142693)
      All the same, I find this a little bit comforting. Let's face it, this Bulldozer isn't AMD's finest hour. And I'm sure I wasn't the only one who had the thought "That's the best you can do with 2 billion transistors? It takes the edge off a bit that it's only 1.2 billion, and maybe - as you suggest - the frequency and consumption bottlenecks can be fixed with available process tech.
    • by nadaou (535365)

      aka version 1.0 of the new design leaves much room for refinement but they couldn't wait any longer to ship it. News at 11.

  • by smash (1351) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @07:11PM (#38261256) Homepage Journal
    Who's gonna start counting? Methinks its a PR excercise for all the shit amd are copping not being able to best a sandy bridge quad core with 1.5x as many transistors and (according to AMD measurements) 2x as many cores.
  • by assemblerex (1275164) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @07:14PM (#38261276)
    If you bought a V10 car and it turned out to have a 4 cylinder, you'd be upset. No?
    • by RobinEggs (1453925) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @07:25PM (#38261356)

      If you bought a V10 car and it turned out to have a 4 cylinder, you'd be upset. No?

      Yeah, if it turned out it couldn't climb hills and had a 0 - 60 time of 17.1 seconds. If it performed like I wanted and happened to have only 4 cylinders I wouldn't care. Unless one of my primary 'needs' was for everyone to know I had a big-ass 'engine', if you know what I mean.

      Put more directly, benchmarks and statistics are just dick measuring without some context.

    • If the horsepower and torque figures are still accurate, who cares? Heck, it might even be better. Compare the novelty of having a 500 HP V10 vs a 500 HP 4 cylinder.

      • by wagnerrp (1305589)
        Chances are that 500HP V10 will last a lot longer than a 500HP I4/H4. Boosting something to hell and back tends to have a negative effect on reliability.
        • No it wouldn't. If you were comparing a 500hp 2l engine to a 500hp 7l engine, there would probably be a reliability correlation. Remember, # of cylinders != displacement. More cylinders means better throttle response, in general, but LESS reliability because of more moving parts. More displacement generally means more power for less stress. Take a look at some of the 3-4 litre ferrari V12s as an example of a small, high cylinder, high strung engine with the same power outputs as some of the much lower strun
        • by Jonner (189691)

          Chances are that 500HP V10 will last a lot longer than a 500HP I4/H4. Boosting something to hell and back tends to have a negative effect on reliability.

          That only makes sense if you assume the cylinders are all the same size. It would be more logical to assume the cylinders in the 4 cylinder engine have a much greater displacement. Aviation engines often have much larger cylinders than automotive ones.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            That only makes sense if you assume the cylinders are all the same size. It would be more logical to assume the cylinders in the 4 cylinder engine have a much greater displacement.

            Spoken like someone who knows fuck-all about engines. You don't make engines with pistons that big because you can't make them tight and light. The trend has been towards ever-smaller pistons, with 4 liter V8s and such.

    • by SpazmodeusG (1334705) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @08:39PM (#38261870)

      They told you the V10 engine used 50 hours of labour in its manufacture but it turned out the V10 engine only used 25 hours of labour in its manufacture.

      It's still the same engine in every way. Transistor count is simply a manufacturing detail.

    • by thsths (31372)

      Not if it has 1000Nm of torque while making a nice noise ...

  • There's a new update (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 04, 2011 @07:49PM (#38261534)

    AMD just clarified that Bulldozer does have 2 billion transistors after all, but only 1.2 billion work. Which explains something about its performance.

  • Cache? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gman003 (1693318) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @11:03PM (#38262566)

    I recall seeing that the top Bulldozer only had 8MB L3 cache, which seemed a bit low - Intel's equivalent top-of-the-line desktop models reach 15MB, and the server models 30MB.

    At first, I just figured they were targeting the middle price bracket, but then they priced against the high-end. So I would not be surprised if much of the missing (or disabled, if that rumor turns out to be true) transistors belong to the cache.

    • I recall seeing that the top Bulldozer only had 8MB L3 cache, which seemed a bit low - Intel's equivalent top-of-the-line desktop models reach 15MB, and the server models 30MB.

      How long until we can run Windows Server 2000 completely on Cache-disk? Can you imagine the performance?

      • by toddestan (632714)
        I wish I could find the link, but I remember someone managed to convince Windows 95 to run entirely in the cache of some modern CPU. Apparently it was pretty fast (but I would expect that anyway) but crashed after a few minutes.
  • I just paid 110 $ for my FX-4100. I want a refund ! Oh who gives a hoot is goes very fast( 4.5GHz) and I can't count that high anyway.
  • The 16core server parts were listed as having 2.4billion transistors at launch so either the FX PR was wrong/confused and it really is 1.2Billion transistors as it they say it is now for an 8Core FX or AMD manged to bolts on an entire second 8core processor to the server parts with 400million more transistors.

    • IIRC, it is the latter and the "Interlagos" 16core server parts actually contain the quivalent of two 8core FX parts. So I guess the PR was wrong/confused. Not really surprising, AMD marketing is often confused ;-)

  • What's a transistor? (Score:4, Informative)

    by scharkalvin (72228) on Monday December 05, 2011 @09:06AM (#38265026) Homepage

    Anybody that has ever looked at the schematic for a VLSI chip at the schematic level will have problems figuring out what the transistors are for because so many of them are actually being used as resistors, diodes, or capacitors. Many are bias regulators or interstage coupling voltage level translators. Transistors are the simplest things to put on an IC so there tends to be lots of them. The transistor count rarely translates into a true level of complexity for the device over all. Having said that the last time a transistor count on a microprocessor meant anything was with Motorola's first two major processors. The MC6800 actually had about 6,800 transistors. The MC68000 had about ... wait for it .... 68,000 of them!

    • by dmesg0 (1342071)

      MC6800 had about 4000 transistors. (5000 for MC6800D). The name of M6800 system is unrelated to the transistor count.

      68000 had indeed close to 68k transistors (~70k), so its name could be influenced by both 6800 and the transistor count.

  • Good stuff: =ceiling(A1)
    Bad stuff: =floor(B1)

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