AMD's Bumps FX Series With New Piledriver Cores, Close Gap With Intel
October 23, 2012 6:34 AM
(The core's namesake)
Vishera FX is power hungry and still weak in single-thread performance, but is highly overclockable and cheap
In the consumer CPU market Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.'s (
today. The announced chips, which bear the FX designation, swap out
the 32 nm
for refined 32 nm
cores, offers quad-, hexa-, and octa-core configurations.
, a 32 nm
die shrink war is over
and Intel Corp. (
) has won, but AMD is still trying to stay competitive in the consumer PC market with its high-core-count, inexpensive second-generation processors on the 32 nm node.
Intel has not brought hexa- or octa-core
(22 nm) chips
to bear yet (though it does enjoy a
large and diverse lineup
), so AMD has the good fortune of having its second-generation 32 nm architecture compete with Intel's quad-core 22 nm parts.
As one might expect AMD chips earn wins in heavily threaded benchmarks,
, who tested the new
Series chips. In single-thread loads, though, even the lowly Core-i3
parts beat up on the cream of the
crop. That means that gaming -- which is mostly GPU bound and lightly threaded -- tends to wind up in Intel's favor.
Note, the maximum frequencies are for half-load; the maximum frequency for full load is 100 MHz slower in all cases except the FX-8320, where full-load is 200 MHz slower.
II. The Bad
Let's consider the bad news first. Looking at the price, that you get
performance in single-core loads than an
; dual-core; 3.3 GHz).
AMD did deliver on its promise of faster single-threaded execution;
is approximately 20 percent faster in
's testing than
. That said, the new core architecture only closed approximately half the gap in single-thread execution time -- the Core-i3 (
) is still roughly 20 percent faster than
in single-threaded loads.
only halfway closes the single-thread performance gap w. Intel's
[Image Source: BBC News]
The other bad news is that while power consumption has actually dipped slightly since
, it's still far higher than
So to recap, in single threaded performance and power consumption,
is better than
, but worse than
III. The Good
But there's also a fair amount of good news.
shone brightest (multi-threaded performance),
does even better, beating out
parts. Price-wise it's compelling to see the FX-8350 (
, octa-core; 4.2 GHz)-- a roughly $195 USD part -- beating the
; quad-core; 3.9 GHz Turbo).
The comparison is fair, as the cost of LGA-1155 motherboards (for
) and Socket-AM3+ motherboards (for
) is about the same -- starting at around $30 USD for the cheapst boards. Both chipmakers kindly opted to stick with their current socket design with their latest core generation, so many consumers will be able to upgrade without replacing the board.
An interesting observation by
is that overall while AMD still suffers the same weaknesses that it did 2 years ago, that its latest releases have pushed it closer to closing the single-threaded performance gap, while widening the multi-threaded performance gap. In other words, if AMD is able to keep up this trend, it could find itself beating Intel in both single-threaded
multi-threaded performance in a couple of years.
The new AMD parts are highly overclockable. [Image Source: Zazzle]
More good news comes regarding the overclockability. The quad-core FX-4300 was clocked up to 5 GHz (a 28.2% overclock) in
's testing (using AMD's stock closed-loop liquid cooling solution), which placed it on par with the hexa-core FX-6300 in multi-threaded loads. The octa-core FX-8350 clocked up to 4.8 GHz (a 14.3% overclock), earning the best scores in heavily-threaded loads. Beware, though -- a 4.8 GHz FX-8350 part consumes an epic 294.3 watts under heavy load.
IV. To Buy or Not to Buy?
and the new
core worth a purchase? That depends a lot on the consumer. As single-core performance generally dictates the consumer experience, one could argue that the answer is generally "no".
That said, the overclockability and great multi-threaded performance of the 32 nm part make it hard to overlook entirely, particularly when it's priced reasonably competitively.
is probably the better solution for most, but if you do bu a
chip, you won't be getting a bad deal.
(left) is a significant improvement from
(right). [Image Source: AMD]
The real potential for
likely lies in its sister-series, aimed at enterprise users. We should have some details on that in the near future to share with you.
In the mean time think of how the
core gains might be amplified by a highly-thread dependent load, such as hosting virtual environments for a thin-client deployment. We'll say this -- if AMD keeps the pedal to the metal on the enterprise parts side, it may have a more clear-cut winner for many applications.
(For those interested, AMD's core gets its name from the titular piece of heavy machinery, which drives "piles" into the ground, pillars which support buildings.
is named after a river in Russia.)
"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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