Bulldozer, AMD’s crash modernization: frontend and execution engine

But as you might think, nobody at AMD envisioned it that way in the planning or design stages. No engineer would ever start working with the idea to “build a shit product”; a recent chat with an engineer who was at AMD during Bulldozer’s development gave us additional insight on what the original goals for the architecture were. AMD originally wanted Bulldozer to be like K10, but with a shared frontend and FPU. In one architecture, AMD would improve single threaded performance while massively increasing multithreaded performance, and move to a new 32 nm node at the same time. But those goals were too ambitious, and AMD struggled to keep clock frequency up on the 32 nm process. This resulted in cuts to the architecture, which started to stack up.

The last AMD processor I used pre-Zen was a Phenom II, which was a fine processor for the price. However, after that, it quickly became clear that Intel had taken the lead. As such, I never experienced this era of AMD, and I think many of you will have had the same experience. This makes articles like these incredibly interesting.

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