Mixed Workloads: Mild Gains

The one thing all of the following benchmarks have in common is they feature more varied CPU utilization. With periods of heavy single and all core utilization, we also see times when these benchmarks use more than one core but fewer than all.

SYSMark has always been a fairly lightly threaded test. While there are definite gains seen when going from 2 to 4 cores, this is hardly a heavily threaded test. The performance impact of the hotfixes is negligible in the overall performance result or across the individual benchmark suites however:

SYSMark 2012 - Overall

Our Visual Studio 2008 compile test is heavily threaded for the most part, however the beginning of the build process uses a fraction of the total available cores. The hotfixes show a reasonable impact on performance here (~5%):

Build Chromium Project - Visual Studio 2008

The first pass of our x264 transcode benchmark doesn't use all available cores but it is more than just single threaded:

x264 HD Benchmark - 1st pass - v3.03

Performance goes up but only by ~2% here. As expected, the second pass which consumes all cores in the system remains unchanged:

x264 HD Benchmark - 2nd pass - v3.03

Games are another place we can look for performance improvements as it's rare to see consistent, many-core utilization while playing a modern title on a high-end CPU. Metro 2033 is fairly GPU bound and thus we don't see much of an improvement, although for whatever reason the 51.5 fps ceiling at 19x12 is broken by the hotfixes.

Metro 2033 Frontline Benchmark - 1024 x 768 - DX11 High Quality

Metro 2033 Frontline Benchmark - 1920 x 1200 - DX11 High Quality

DiRT 3 shows a 5% performance gain from the hotfixes. The improvement isn't enough to really change the standings here, but it's an example of a larger performance gain.

DiRT 3 - Aspen Benchmark - 1024 x 768 Low Quality

DiRT 3 - Aspen Benchmark - 1920 x 1200 High Quality

Crysis Warhead mirrors the roughly 5% gain we saw in DiRT 3:

Crysis Warhead Assault Benchmark - 1680 x 1050 Mainstream DX10 64-bit

Civilization V's CPU bound no render results show no gains, which is to be expected. But looking at the average frame rate during the simulation we see a 4.9% increase in performance.

Civilization V - 1680 x 1050 - DX11 High Quality

Civilization V - 1680 x 1050 - DX11 High Quality

Single & Heavily Threaded Workloads Need Not Apply Final Words
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  • Beenthere - Friday, January 27, 2012 - link

    The Hot Fix is better than No Fix and Win 8 beta looks to be a few percent better than the Win 7 Hot Fix. So it's all good but nothing startling. Combined with Vishera/Piledriver should provide a nice performance bump however.
  • Ramon Zarat - Friday, January 27, 2012 - link

    "The Hot Fix is better than No Fix".


    A fix than bring no additional value (less than 2%, well below statistical significant value), and at the same time, by its simple presence, introduce the potential of conflict and instability (simple law of entropy) can only be detrimental to a system, not positive.

    Another way to look at it: If my car is broken to the point of being unusable and I apply 1500$ worth of parts and labor and in the end it make no difference in its usability, why spend the 1500.00$ in the first place? New parts are better than no new parts?

    I love AMD as a company, I really do. The truth is Bulldozer in conjecture with present operating system is broken and dysfunctional with embarrassing sub-par performance and inacceptable power consumption per instruction for what is supposedly a 8 cores CPU that cannot even approach a 4 cores 2500K performance in 90% of scenarios. AFAIK, that applies to ALL operating system including Linux and Mac. I even have my doubt a perfectly Bulldozer tuned OS would be able to compete with Intel offering. I'd like nothing better to be proved wrong on that one.

    AMD knew from day 1 (years ago) that their new unconventional architecture would face issue such as this one, but it’s only now, months after the actual launch of the product that they are working on fixes that fix nothing? Great example of bad management / strategy / planning and lack of foresight from AMD. I hope they have learned a lesson because underdog can’t afford such huge misstep too often and hope to stay alive in the long run.
  • bigboxes - Friday, January 27, 2012 - link

    But can I download more torrents with this fix?
  • ThomasS31 - Friday, January 27, 2012 - link

    Why you have not tested core usage / clock gating and power consumption?

    I thouht the main problem of scheduling related to that as well...
  • Lugaidster - Friday, January 27, 2012 - link


    Is power consumption altered with this hotfix?

  • MrSpadge - Sunday, January 29, 2012 - link

    Power consumption for given "mixed workloads" should be altered.. increased, actually, since more modules are active. Overall energy consumption, on the other hand.. I don't know. More power draw but for a shorter time.

  • Marlin1975 - Friday, January 27, 2012 - link

    Anybody notice the differance between the first hotfix and the 2nd?

    The first one even helped some Intel CPUs. The 2nd one seems to not help either AMD or Intel as much???
  • saneblane - Friday, January 27, 2012 - link

    I fail to see what was fixed, i give them credit for adding 2 more fps in x264 second pass. But come on this is just stupid. their is no performance increase that is going to be noticed or seen by this so called hot fix. We already accept the fact that bulldozer failed on the desktop in it's first showing, why remind us again. Things like this make people lose confidence in you, just lay low and try to improve Piledriver.
  • Lonyo - Friday, January 27, 2012 - link

    Because this won't probably help future AMD CPUs?
    It's something Microsoft will need to deal with, and possibly already have with Win 8. It's free performance, and it helps pretty much test future similarly equipped AMD CPUs.

    What are they supposed to be doing, other than giving free performance gains to Bulldozer users?
  • saneblane - Friday, January 27, 2012 - link

    well if you think the hotfix is worth wild, then i guess AMD has done it's job. Their is always more people that are easily fooled than the ones who can see the truth. Free performance??? Give me a freaking break, i waited years for bulldozer, and your going to tell me about a cpu that cost more than an i5 2500 and losses in almost every benchmark and games.That this hotix is free perfomance, haha. Zambezi users are paying a lot for this so called "free" when even i5 2500 beat the crap out of it, i guess sandy bridge has a lot of "free" performance too.

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