20.5.2020

foto Petr Bravenec

Petr Bravenec
+420 777 566 384
petr.bravenec@hobrasoft.cz

AMD's Bulldozer processor do not have a good reputation. Today, it is quite useless to discuss why this is so.

For me personally, Bulldozer (and his successor Piledriver), on the other hand, is one of the most successful processors I've ever employed.

Thanks to eight cores I leared to think and program in parallel. Eight cores, after all, were the reason why I used the Bulldozer so often. And it doesn't matter that in single-threaded performance, this processor is weaker.

I have had a Gentoo distribution on my computer for over fifteen years. This distribution is specific in that that the whole system is compiled from source code. The bulldozer showed me it was possible to load all the cores to one hundred percent while the user did not notice anything - the mouse cursor moved smoothly and the office started nearly as quickly as in idle system. Despite the fact that the Bulldozer is in single-threaded performance as lazy as the older Athlon.

I learned to use virtual servers on a large scale. It is easy to virtualize when number of cores exist which can be allocated to virtual machines.

I appreciate the reliability of the processor. The processor worked until the last minute on one hundred percent. It never needed any security patch that would degraded his performance.

The processor is similarly reliable in terms of hardware. There is no danger that I would turn on the computer in the morning and the processor did not start, because just after a few years some hardware in CPU rotted. I'd rather replace one CPU from Intel, because of Intel Atom C2000 LPC error.

The bulldozer has always been very cheap. No other manufacturer offered comparable CPU for similar money.

Outside the company, we take care of three other Bulldozers. They run databases, web servers and some virtual machines. At the time when the Bulldozer was a new CPU, it was not able to find more suitable processor in reasonable pricing. Newer processors could only offer lower power consumption.

I replaced my own Bulldozer two years ago when I started some experiments with TensorFlow and the combination of ROCm + Bulldozer + Vega64 did not work.

Our last Bulldozer has been actually shut down by an SSD error. At the begin it was not clear why the computer did not work. No indices shown to the SSD error. When the old Bulldozer CPU were replaced with new Ryzen 5, then the SSD went to silicon heaven and now it was clear which component caused the crash. Without that fault, the Bulldozer would work next few years, probably.

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