There’s Cores Everywhere: Why I’m Running a Bulldozer CPU

Lots of great stuff going on.  The one that I’m writing about today is my desktop system upgrade.  There is a stark reality when buying computer hardware now-a-days.  “You are not fast enough to keep up with your computer.”  It’s true.  There is nothing I can do to keep up with the speed of my computers.  If you are not into gaming or some other really resource intensive activity, I really cannot recommend that you go out and buy a $200+ processor.

Being that I am not the normal computer user, I don’t abide by the previous stated rule.  My main system has been running an Intel Q6700 for some time.  What a great processor it was! But, the time to change was now.

There comes a time when computer equipment gets old.  Old is, of course, relative.  In this case, old meant that it did everything fine, but after 5 years, something better has come along.

The operating system I run is built from scratch.  Everything that is installed is run through a compilation process that can take quite a while to complete.  This allows me to gain insights into how my computer runs that is useful for someone in my field.  The problem is that this process takes a significant amount of time.  A rebuild from scratch can easily take over a day.  That process needed to be faster.

To measure the speed difference on the new setup, I timed the building of one of the most important components of the system:

gcc build on old Q6700

real    28m7.051s
user    62m49.460s
sys    5m35.580s

gcc build on new FX-8120
real    18m57.720s
user    72m16.450s
sys    4m44.720s

It’s a single measure, so don’t take it as authoritative.  What I took away from this simple test is that my system is roughly 33% faster on this task.

So why choose Bulldozer CPU when all of the reviews say it is a disappointment?

Two of the reasons are already listed.  It’s faster for my uses, so it didn’t matter that it wasn’t the fastest.  The kicker was the price.  Sometimes, when you find a good deal, you get tilted in a specific direction.  This is especially true when I can’t max out the capability of either of the options anyway.

$333.33 went to the purchase of the FX-8120 CPU, ASUS Sabertooth Motherboard, and 8GB of ram (purchased in May of this year. Yeah, it took a while to get this post out of my head)

$179.99 was gained through the sale of old equipment

After subtracting some fees involved, I have about $175 invested in the upgrade.

Knowing that AMD is going to keep the same CPU socket for a few years and also knowing that the Sabertooth motherboard is still one of the best out there.  I am happy with the future prospects of this setup.

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