AMD Responds to Bulldozer Core Count Lawsuit
Samuel Wan / 2 years ago
Just one week ago, AMD was hit by a surprising lawsuit that claimed the microprocessor firm was misleading consumers. The chief allegation is that the Bulldozer CPUs were misrepresented as having 8 cores when, in fact, the 2 integer cores that made up each of the 4 modules cannot operate independently, only capable of issuing 4 instructions at a time. Now, we’re hearing from AMD who obviously see things in a different light, asserting once again that each integer core of a Bulldozer CPU can issue 1 instruction by itself.
“We believe our marketing accurately reflects the capabilities of the Bulldozer architecture which, when implemented in an 8-core AMD FX processor, is capable of running eight instructions concurrently”
While there is truth in the lawsuit that the shared fetch and decode blocks in Bulldozer do impact material performance, 2 integer units (cores) are still present in each module. Even if both can’t function at their peak performance at the same time, as long as they are operating independently, which they are, they’re functionally two cores. The biggest question to be addressed is whether or not the shared fetch and decode units would be enough to make the separate integer cores 1 core. Interestingly, the shared FPU is not an issue as the traditional definition of a “core” excludes floating point instructions.
With AMD on the financial ropes, this lawsuit is probably the last thing the need. It will be interesting to see the conclusion of this lawsuit as the definition of a core set by the court will likely have wide ranging impact on how CPUs are made and marketed in the future.