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This is a bit unusual. I got an email from AMD PR this week asking me to correct the Bulldozer transistor count in our Sandy  Bridge E review. The incorrect number, provided to me (and other reviewers) by AMD PR around 3 months ago was 2 billion transistors. The actual transistor count for Bulldozer is apparently 1.2 billion transistors. I don't have an explanation as to why the original number was wrong, just that the new number has been triple checked by my contact and is indeed right. The total die area for a 4-module/8-core Bulldozer remains correct at 315mm2.

CPU Specification Comparison
CPU Manufacturing Process Cores Transistor Count Die Size
AMD Bulldozer 8C 32nm 8 1.2B ~2B 315mm2
AMD Thuban 6C 45nm 6 904M 346mm2
AMD Deneb 4C 45nm 4 758M 258mm2
Intel Gulftown 6C 32nm 6 1.17B 240mm2
Intel Sandy Bridge E (6C) 32nm 6 2.27B 435mm2
Intel Nehalem/Bloomfield 4C 45nm 4 731M 263mm2
Intel Sandy Bridge 4C 32nm 4 995M 216mm2
Intel Lynnfield 4C 45nm 4 774M 296mm2
Intel Clarkdale 2C 32nm 2 384M 81mm2
Intel Sandy Bridge 2C (GT1) 32nm 2 504M 131mm2
Intel Sandy Bridge 2C (GT2) 32nm 2 624M 149mm2

Despite the downward revision in Bulldozer's transistor count by 800M, AMD's first high-end 32nm processor still  boasts a higher transistor density than any of its 45nm predecessors (as you'd expect):

Transistor Density Comparison

Transistor density depends on more than just process technology. The design of the chip itself including details like the balance between logic, cache and IO transistors can have a major impact on how compact the die ends up being. Higher transistor densities are generally more desirable to a manufacturer (fewer defects per die, more die per wafer, lower costs), but from the end user's perspective the overall price/performance (and power?) ratio is what ultimately matters.

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  • philosofa - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    Perhaps it's been down-adjusted to only reflect the transistors (in their automatedly designed topology) that actually do anything - that would probably be the most consistent explanation. Reply
  • SunLord - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    More then likely the PR people were confused with the 2Billion transistors in the 16 core server parts and have sense been fired for it. Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    Not sure about being fired, but my guess is they just provided some bad info on press release.

    Maybe the 2B was actually for Trinity with its IGP included?
    Reply
  • B3an - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    If AMD cant do something as simple and tell reviewers the correct transistor count of there CPU then it's no wonder they cant make a CPU that actually performs good. So now, not only is the CPU is an epic fail, but so are the PR department. Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    Relax. Whether it had 2B transistors or it had 2, a press release is nothing to freak out about. And by the way, AMD CPUs are not bad. They are highly reliable and quite fast. What people so often forget is how hard it is to build something this complex and have it function at 99.99999999% reliability. 3.8M transistors per mm^2? People just fail to realize exactly how good we have it, and just how aggressive Intel is with their products now (thanks to AMDs existence).

    You can get a quad core CPU for $50 today, yet that ain't good enough.
    Reply
  • Arnulf - Saturday, December 03, 2011 - link

    "You can get a quad core CPU for $50 today, yet that ain't good enough."

    You can ?
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Monday, June 11, 2012 - link

    AMD calls it a quadcore, and calls the price $50, but it's only a dual core and the cost is substantially more, but you know how hard it is to get these cpu things correct.... especially for amd fans. Reply
  • SunLord - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    AMD let go most of it's marketing people and it's PR company around the launch of the FX series Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Monday, June 11, 2012 - link

    So the fair and just honest people left, and the gouge their neighbors eyes out dishonest stomp on anyone lying people stayed.

    Great.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    I wonder how much money the new design method is saving them, as it certainly isn't as good at producing high performance per watt as the old method of manually designing each transistor. I also wonder if they will go back to the old method of hand tweaking with Bulldozer's successor, maybe they just wanted to get something out the door for now then refine it later, like Phenom I - Phenom II. Reply

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