DonanimHaber have revealed early performance indications for AMD's much anticipated next-gen Bulldozer architecture, in the form of Zambezi CPUs. The benchmarks were sourced from an official AMD document, in three categories, Media, Rendering and Games, and the Bulldozer 8-core sampled ended up a whopping 50% faster than Intel's Core i7 950 and AMD's current flagship Phenom II X6 1100T.
Of course, such rumours should be taken with a hefty bag of salt, but if true, it marks a significant upgrade for AMD. To put things in perspective, the Core i7 980X, the current Intel flagship, is just over 30% faster on average than CPUs in the Core i7 950 class. If the Bulldozer sample is 50% faster, this means AMD will comfortably take the performance crown for the first time since Athlon 64 FX-62 back in 2006, despite the incoming Core i7 990X.
Intel does have it's high-end LGA2011 Sandy Bridge CPUs due in Q4 2011, which could bring the performance crown back to Intel. However, the 8-core Bulldozer could give the 6-core Sandy Bridge CPU very fierce competition.
It must be noted that the above performance benchmarks were performed on engineering samples. The final clocks and production sample will be revealed in February, with high clock speeds (3+ GHz) and a 125W TDP. All Bulldozer CPUs will be fabbed at Globalfoundries' 32nm process. Bulldozer will be available in three variants - four, six and eight core (or two, three and four module). Production is scheduled for March/April, with a release in Q2 2011.
Once again, considering the above information with skepticism. The benchmarks, benchmarks methods, etc. are not mentioned either. Judging by the purported source (AMD themselves) the benchmarks could be cherry-picked. However, if true, it could allow AMD to compete in the >$300 enthusiast markets after a long, long time. And at least for a short time, remarkably, AMD will have the performance crown. Could AMD finally revive the coveted "FX" branding?