With the arrival of the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and other VR headsets later this year, the talk has turned to the hardware necessary to drive these displays. Unlike regular gaming, VR gaming will require much higher framerates, meaning higher performing hardware. While Oculus has released their own system hardware checker, it is missing many other potentially workable hardware, something AMD is remediating with their own CPU list.
As expected, the list contains the 2 top end 220W models, the FX 9590 and 9370, AMD’s top CPUs. Further down are the usual suspects for gaming systems, the FX 8370 and 8350 and the more budget FX 6350. Surprisingly, the 2M/4T Steamroller based A10 7890K and 7870K as well as the Athlon X4 880K and 870K. It looks like the list is mostly made up of faster-clocked CPUs either above 3.9Ghz with 3M/6T or based on the new Steamroller architecture. This is expected as VR requires a good amount of single-thread performance and higher frame rates than usual. It’s surprising that we don’t see the FX 4320 and 4350 given that those carry a hefty base clock as well.
Even with this list though, AMD has only tested the FX chips against VR, while the Steamroller chips are theoretically good enough. Intel still holds a strong lead in single-threaded performance so it really depends on how the VR titles if AMD will run well on them. AMD won’t have to worry soon though if Zen delivers later this year.
While Zen may still be a long way off, AMD isn’t just sitting around without new CPUs to launch. Stealthily launched, AMD is releasing a new FX-6330 chip to slot into their lineup but unfortunately only for the APAC (Asian Pacific) region for now. Set to replace the aging FX-6300 at a similar price point, the new chip is more of the same, with the same Piledriver architecture and 32nm process. The biggest change is the clock speed which gets a bump up to 3.6/4.2 Ghz, up from 3.5/4.1 Ghz. Cache sizes remain the same at 6MB of L2 and 8MB of L3.
With speeds like that, the 6330 pretty much slots right under the FX-6350 which features a higher base clock at 3.9/4.1 Ghz. While the new chip is likely only targetted to those already disposed to get the 6300 or 6350, it should offer a better for these customers. Competing against Intel’s i3, the 6330 is a decent offering as it should age better as DX12 lowers driver overhead and allows for better multithreading in games.
The biggest competition though will be existing stock of 6300 chips which should perform really similar to the 6330. The biggest impact will be felt by the new S3.0 stock cooler which should offer much better cooling performance with less noise than previous models. Overall, the 6330 is a decent chip at $109.99 USD but with Zen just around the corner, holding off may be the better option.
The 32nm “Vishera” processors from AMD have been around for a long-while; since October 2012 to be exact. Vishera was AMD’s Zambezi successor with Vishera being based on the Piledriver architecture and Zambezi on Bulldozer. Since the first release of Vishera, AMD has continued to refresh its FX product stack with new CPUs based on the same architectural design and AMD’s most recent releases maintains that trend. On September 2nd 2014 AMD officially revealed three new CPUs for the FX line; the FX 8320E, the FX 8370 and the FX 8370E. We are looking at the FX 8370E processor which is AMD’s attempt to tame the high TDP of their 8 core FX line down to 95W; previously the standard TDP stood at 125W.
There are two other releases which we will not be reviewing today. First is the FX 8370 (4/4.3GHz) which is a new flagship part which sits under the FX 9370 (4.4/4.7GHz) and FX 9590 (4.7/5GHz), but improves slightly over the FX 8350 (4/4.2GHz) in clock speed. Secondly is the FX 8320E which is an energy efficient variant of the already-released FX 8320 which is a 3.5/4GHz part. All of the FX 8XXX and FX 9XXX parts sport 8 Piledriver cores divided over four modules.
For the AMD enthusiast these newest releases may disappoint since they do not bring anything new to the market: instead they refresh existing technology. AMD is taking advantage of a matured production process instead of advancing the FX line onto their newest CPU architecture “Steamroller”. Steamroller is what the CPU component of Kaveri APUs are based on and it features improved IPC (Instructions per Cycle) performance and greater power efficiency. The decision by AMD to opt for the same technology means we are unlikely to see any ground-breaking results – instead we should expect AMD to rely on the use of lower prices to remain competent against their main rival Intel.
Interestingly AMD’s PR pitch for their newest E series energy efficient FX CPUs relies on rallying the cost advantage versus the Intel & Nvidia combination. AMD claim by choosing an FX CPU and Radeon GPU you can get better performance at the same price point. I think the R9 285 + FX 8370e is a smart combination as the objectives of both those AMD products have been to improve power efficiency over some of their more power-hungry siblings.
In our review of the AMD FX 8370e we will not be overclocking. My reason for this is that there is no point of pitching an energy efficient CPU if you’re going to throw those power savings away with an overclock, you might as well just buy the FX 8370 instead. You can still overclock the FX 8370e but don’t expect results to be significantly different from the FX 8350 or FX 8370 both in terms of performance and power consumption. You can find 5GHz OC results for the FX 8350 in our graphs.
Before we delve into the review I would like to briefly explain how the FX 8370E’s power saving mechanism works. Unsurprisingly it manages power consumption with clock speed controls. At idle it will clock down to its lowest ratio which is 7X giving a frequency of 1.4GHz and around 0.85 volts.
If you add a medium-high intensity multi-threaded workload it clocks around 3.6GHz.
Moving on to a high intensity load that utilises all the cores and we see it drop back to its base frequency of 3.3GHz. It simply cannot clock higher than this without exceeding its TDP specification of 95W.
The highest clock speed comes on single threaded applications. If you utilise only one core to its maximum you can clock up to 4.3GHz on that particular thread.
AMD may have given up the fight with Intel in the very high end market but in the sub-$200 “mainstream” market, where most CPUs are bought, AMD is still putting up a fight. The latest move by AMD will be to launch a refreshed range of Piledriver processors, three to be exact. Piledriver has had a shelf life of nearly 2 years making it one of AMD’s longest serving CPU architectures and there’s still no obvious sign of a replacement…. although we’ve already seen Steamroller on the FM2+ APU platform. The three new CPUs will be the FX-8370, FX-8370E and FX 8320E. As the names suggest these are all 8 core parts while the two “E” marked parts have reduced TDPs of 95W compared to the standard 125W TDP for 8 core AMD FX processors. The E probably stands for efficient or energy efficient. The FX 8370 is the new successor to the FX 8350, although it still sits below the FX 9590 and FX 9370. It has 8 cores, 8MB of L3 cache, a 125W TDP, a 4.1GHz base clock and 4.3GHz boost clock, it comes in at a price of $189 which is just below the $199 the FX-9370 costs and the $215 the FX 9590 costs. Next up is the FX 8370E which has identical specifications to the FX 8370 and costs the same but has a 95W TDP. Finally the FX 8320E is identical to the FX 8320 in price and specifications but has a reduced 95W TDP instead of 125W. AMD has likely been able to reduce TDPs of their Piledriver parts through a maturation and fine tuning of the Piledriver 32nm manufacturing process.
AMD’s Roy Taylor, the Vice President of Global Channel Sales, has revealed an upcoming AMD FX-Series processor on Twitter. He revealed a picture of a new product which is an FX-Series Processor with an integrated liquid cooling system. The packaging clearly indicates we will see a closed loop water cooler inside, probably an Asetek made AIO. The picture reveals very little about the upcoming product other than that it will be an AMD desktop FX series processor, which Roy Taylor is claiming is “something new”.
Presumably the new processor will join the ranks of the FX-9000 series and will be based on the current Piledriver architecture just with a slight speed bump which is kept in check with the water cooling. However, are higher clocks even possible with the FX-9590 already shipping with a 4.7GHz base clock and 5GHz Turbo? That paves the way for this to be a high-clocked Steamroller based unit to succeed the FX-9590. The announcement also coincides with Intel’s newly announced Devil’s Canyon CPUs. Of course, I could just be getting too excited and this could just be a retail boxed FX-9590 that comes with a bundled liquid cooling system. To date the FX-9590 has only been offered as an OEM chip, not in retail form.
If you follow our website and the technology industry more broadly then you may have heard a lot about Kaveri since it was officially launched on January 14th 2014. Kaveri is the codename for AMD’s fourth generation of desktop APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) after Llano, Trinity and Richland. In successive generations we have seen AMD’s APUs grow a lot stronger mainly in terms of graphics performance but also bringing refinements in terms of power consumption and CPU performance as well as new features.
So what does Kaveri bring to the table that is new? In terms of new architectures we see a transition from Piledriver (Trinity) to Steamroller on the CPU side and from VLIW4 (Trinity) to GCN 1.0 on the GPU side. Yet the most exciting and easily the most talked about new feature is the inclusion of AMD’s new HSA technology. HSA is AMD’s “Heterogeneous Computing” plan which includes two main components: hUMA (Heterogeneous Unified Memory Architecture) and hQ (Heterogeneous Queuing). hUMA allows for the sharing of system memory equally between GPU cores and CPU cores and hQ allows for both the CPU and GPU cores to independently schedule tasks.
There is of course more to Kaveri than Steamroller, GCN and HSA – but those are the main components. Other new additions include full support for AMD’s TrueAudio technology, Mantle support and an improved Unified Video Decoder and Video Compression Engine. However, before we delve into those new technical improvements and features, let’s first discuss what this article is all about.
Today we are examining AMD’s entire new range of Kaveri Desktop APUs – the A10-7850K, A10-7700K and A8-7600. In addition we will be comparing those to their equivalents from the last generation – the A10-6800K, A10-6790K and A8-6500T respectively. Then for a bit of perspective we are comparing those three parts with their main Intel rivals – the Core i3 4330 and Core i5 4440. What we’re looking to do is provide a complete perspective on how AMD and Intel’s offerings match up across a wide range of CPU, GPU and combined benchmarks covering areas like gaming, productivity and general system performance, as well as the generational changes Kaveri offer over Richland. Below you can see a summary of all the contenders in this comparison. Please note that the number of GPU cores are not comparable between all processors below, but are only for reference. GCN cores are much more powerful than VLIW4 cores while Intel’s “cores” work in a different way, they are technically “execution units” not cores.
When I get a full system in for review, typically I will find an Intel CPU lying at the heart of the system and whilst this is partly due to their high level of popularity,; along with their multitasking abilities – for some the overall cost factor can be a bit of an issue. Naturally this means that there is only one other route to go down and this is with AMD and their line of CPUs. From our own testing of AMD processors we know that they offer a slightly cheaper alternative to some of Intel’s top line chips – such as the i7-4770k, although we do find that in some tasks, they may struggle to keep up the blue teams performance. For gamers though, all-round performance is not the main priority – it’s having a system that can offer up a great level of gaming performance and for an affordable price.
Coming forward to the last few months, AMD recently announced the release of their latest CPU into the Piledriver group of FX chips – namely the FX-9590. Now like all new processor releases, it has come into the market with a mixed response from the enthusiast community, however it looks like it has proved its way and has settled itself down in the market as the new contender to Intel’s Ivy Bridge-E i7-4960X, offering a huge difference in price as we are used to seeing with AMD chips. We know as well that anyone looking for a high-end gaming system but on a tight budget is going to benefit from an AMD chip, although the trade-off is with performance in other workload areas as mentioned above.
Cyberpower PC as we saw at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show are right on the money when it comes down to building both entry-level and high-end systems and one of their latest systems to come to the market through their UK offices is the Ultra Fusion. This pure AMD system is built into the highly popular Cosmos SE chassis from Cooler Master and is set to offer some of the best gaming performance available for anyone who is a through and through fan of AMD – or even just a pure gamer at heart! Laid on to a Gigabyte motherboard and given some HyperX Genesis memory from Kingston, this closed loop water-cooled system certainly looks the part with its spread of blue lit fans, but the real question is, how does it stack up against an Intel / NVIDIA offering?
When I took a look at the Ultima 460i Scimitar from Overclockers UK a few months ago, one comment that I made about the system was its weight. This was partly down to the extensive list of water-cooling components that had been installed into the Cosmos II, but it also had a lot to do with the weight and bulk of the super tower chassis itself. Thankfully this little brother to the Cosmos II, is far more compact and therefore easier to handle and even with a full system built-in, it’s far lighter to move around.
Like most other systems that we’ve seen shipped out, alongside the system itself, we get the motherboard box included as well and inside this is all the manuals, warranty cards and accessories that comes with each of the components, just in case they are needed or if you wish to upgrade anything at a later date.
AMD’s FX-9590 CPU has just has its price cut in the UK from the £700 MSRP all the way down to a £300 MSRP. This means the FX-9590 is now around twice the price of the CPU it is based on, the FX 8350, which costs about £146. The retailer in question, Aria PC, did not specify if such a price drop was initiated by themselves or AMD but given the extent of the price reduction we can assume AMD has indeed lowered the price of the FX-9590 processor which is hardly surprising as it probably wasn’t selling very well at £650-700. The FX-9590 joins the HD 7990 in getting a massive price cut, for those who do not remember AMD chopped the price of the HD 7990 down $300 just a few weeks ago from $999.99 to $699.99.
AMD’s FX-9590 runs at 4.7GHz stock and turbos up to 5GHz so requires some serious cooling to keep it tamed. A Corsair H100i or Cooler Master Seidon 240M is recommended. It is also recommended that only high-end 990FX motherboards from Gigabyte, MSI, ASUS or ASRock are used with the latest BIOS updates. Though the FX-9590 is an OEM part there is a direct AMD warranty available for a period of 2 years.
With AMD still some way off a new motherboard platform release motherboard vendors are limited to just revamping old designs with new features, such as we saw Gigabyte do recently with the 990FXA-UD7. Their latest updates are being allocated to the mid-range 990FXA-UD3 AMD motherboard and these updates take it to revision 4.0. The major changes include a refreshed CPU VRM design with Gigabyte’s digital power engine and a 10 phase VRM.
Furthermore the components used on this motherboard include newer and better chokes, capacitors, and MOSFETs as well as upgraded chipset and VRM heatsinks. Additionally Gigabyte have added their newest version of the UEFI setup program to the 990FXA-UD3 Rev 4.0.
Other than those changes the 990FX-UD3 is still the same core motherboard designed to support AM3+ Vishera (Piledriver and Bulldozer) CPUs as well as older AM3 CPUs from the Phenom II X2/4/6 and Athlon II X2/3/4 series. There is support for 64GB of dual channel 2133MHz memory and two PCIe 2.0 X16 slots as well as two PCIe 2.0 X4 slots that are both X16 physical. Two PCIe 2.0 X1 slots and a legacy PCI top off the rest of the PCI(e) expansion. There are 6 SATA III 6Gbps ports from the SB950 Southbridge and two eSATA 6Gbps ports from a Marvell controller. There are four USB 3.0 ports (Etron EJ168 powered), 8 channel Realtek ALC889 audio and Realtek 8111F ethernet. Pricing will match that of the older SKU at $140.
AMD’s FX-9590 CPU is going to be a special limited edition processor from AMD. You can read more about the specifics here but it will basically boast the title of the first commercially available CPU that is capable of 5GHz out-of-the-box without any overclocking. In terms of pricing we were aware from the pre-order pricing that the region would be around $900 and that pricing seems to have stuck. The FX-9590, according to TechPowerUp, is available at three websites for the following prices:
So if you live in the USA and you’re interested in picking up an FX-9590 you’re basically going to have to expect to shell out at least $880 to $960 depending on what pricing your retailer chooses. It is also worth considering AMD didn’t want these CPUs to be sold separately so many big retailers may choose to respect AMD’s wishes and not sell these individually.
In the UK we have seen these retail CPUs selling for around £700 which is about €850. This is a staggering amount of money considering you can get a Intel Core i7 3960X for a similar price.
AMD motherboard haven’t really seen much change over the past couple of years and since the release of Bulldozer back in October 2011 we haven’t seen any new chipsets for the AM3(+) socket. Due to this fact motherboard vendors have mainly been opting for either BIOS updates to keep these motherboards supporting new technology or revision updates occasionally to bring the motherboards up-to-date. Gigabyte is the latest vendor to do this by upgrading its 990FXA-UD7 motherboard to revision 3.0. This was probably a move done to ensure that Gigabyte have the latest and most up to date flagship AM3(+) motherboard on the market in time for the new FX-9000 series processors AMD released recently.
Gigabyte skipped revision 2.0 and went straight to 3.0 and quite a lot has changed as a result. We find an update to Ultra Durable 4 and a 10 phase CPU VRM, slightly reinforced over the older version to allow for FX-9000 overclocking. The CPU VRM features driver MOSFETs and a rather large heatsink to cool everything. This heatsink is connected to the chipset via a heat pipe too. The memory support is up to 64GB of 2000MHz+ memory and expansion slots include four PCI Express 2.0 X16 slots with the following electrical configs x16/NC/x16/NC or x16/NC/x8/x8 or x8/x8/x8/x8.
Additionally there are two more full sized PCI Express 2.0 slots, wired to 4X, connected to the Southbridge and there is a legacy PCI. Storage is provided by six SATA III 6Gbps ports from the Southbridge and two more SATA III 6Gbps ports from a Marvell 88SE9172. USB 3.0 is provided by two Etron EJ168 controllers for two USB 3.0 via the rear plane and two via a header.
The rest of the connectivity and features are nothing out of the ordinary:
8 Channel HD audio
Optical and Coaxial SPDIF
ALC 889 Codec
Gigabit Ethernet – Realtek 8111F
PS/2 combo port
Multiple USB 2.0
AMI UEFI BIOS – Gigabyte Dual UEFI Tech
The expected price is $200~ and we should see availability soon.
AMD has always been very poor at Super Pi test scores since the Bulldozer architecture was released. You only need to take a quick glimpse at the graph below to see that both Bulldozer and Piledriver based AMD CPUs flat-out suck, there is no other way to put it. The reason is because the benchmark is very old and uses an instruction set that just doesn’t work very well with AMD.
Unsurprisingly it turns out that the program not AMD CPUs are what is causing the unusually low scores. The Stilt from Finland, according to the HWBot forums, have developed a fix for AMD Bulldozer/Piledriver on Super Pi. For the real world this is totally irrelevant but for the extreme overclocking and benchmarking community this is quite a huge break through.
Apparently the Stilt used BIOS developers guides, that are made available to motherboard vendors, to figure out this performance issue and devise a solution. It’s an impressive achievement and shows how just one person can develop something the entire motherboard industry ignored/missed. The patch for Bulldozer/Piledriver systems can be seen here.
A rough idea of performance is that a 4.1GHz Richland A10-6800K managed 17 minutes and 34 seconds with this patch while without the patch a 5GHz Richland A10-6800K could manage only 18 minutes and 15 seconds. The patch clearly makes a huge difference and we look forward to seeing some more results.
AMD has just revealed to us today their updated 2013 to 204 server roadmap. AMD’s server roadmap is often an indication of the consumer CPU market in that new architectures tend to hit the server platforms about 3-6 months before the consumer platforms. That said what is quite interesting about this new roadmap from AMD is we can clearly see the introduction of the new Steamroller architecture from 2014. This is based on a 28nm process and has 4 cores. Furthermore AMD is implementing its HSA application support that it has been working on for quite some time since joining the HSA foundation.
While Steamroller is coming in 2014 it appears we have to wait to beyond 2014 to get a release on “more than 4 core” Steamroller Opteron CPUs. This suggests that Piledriver based Opterons will be the mainstay of the AMD high performance server portfolio until at least 2015. Another interesting development revealed by the roadmap is that of the codename “Seattle” CPUs. This is AMD’s first venture into the world of ARM and their Seattle CPUs are based on the ARM Cortex A57 architecture and will probably be multicore CPUs up to four cores. Furthermore these won’t just be CPUs but SoCs (system on chip) meaning it is likely AMD will be integrating its Radeon or FirePro class graphics onto these ARM SoCs.
AMD recently released two brand new processors to its FX portfolio. These consisted of the FX-9590 and the FX-9370 processors. Below is a quick recap of the details about those two processors from our previous article:
The FX-9590 and FX-9370 CPUs both run AMD Turbo Core 3.0 which allows the FX-9590 to turbo up to a maximum 5GHz and the FX-9370 to turbo up to a maximum 4.7GHz. According to AMD both these CPUs have eight Piledriver cores. The base clock of the FX-9590 is 4.7GHz while the base clock of the FX-9370 is 4.4GHz. Both have 8MB of L2 and L3 cache and reportedly support up to DDR3 2400MHz memory. Apparently the OEM/System integrator pricing for these CPUs is $800 for the FX-9590 and $400 for the FX-9370.
Up until now we weren’t sure if they would be system integrator exclusives or if they would be available to consumers as retail boxed units as well, but AMD has now confirmed the status of these new products. AMD have recently told the Tech Report that these new processors will not be available to consumers. In fact they are now going to be System Integrator parts ONLY. That means you can only buy these in pre-built systems, of course that probably won’t stop some people whipping these out of systems and putting them up on eBay, or even some system integrators selling them as OEM parts. However, AMD will endorse none of this and will not sell these as individual boxed retail units.
The reason for this all comes down to the 220W TDP. This creates motherboard compatibility issues and cooling solution issues. These concerns are explained more below, with a quote from our previous article:
There is some worry among motherboard vendors as most AM3+ motherboard sockets are only designed for around a 125W TDP with a little bit of overclocking headroom. Apparently the FX-9590 and FX-9370 have 220W TDPs meaning motherboard vendors will have to issue a compatibility announcement, some lower end and mid range motherboards just won’t have the VRM to support these new CPUs. Although if these CPUs are only released through the OEM system integrator channel, then compatibility issues shouldn’t be a problem as system builders will be given details on which motherboards they can put these CPUs in.
We heard a lot of rumours about AMD preparing some kind of “5GHz” FX processor and quite frankly after the Centurion FX processor rumour fizzled out we thought that was the end of that. But then something more plausible arrived about a week back as we heard about the AMD FX-9000 series CPUs and these were to be 5GHz processors but the 5GHz represented the maximum turbo frequency not the base clock. Today AMD have informed us of the official release of the FX-9000 series of CPUs which indeed are the latter, CPUs capable of reaching a max Turbo of 5GHz.
These new CPUs from AMD consist of the FX-9590 and the FX-9370. According to AMD these new CPUs will become available immediately but the initial release will be through system integrators and OEMs only. AMD did not mention if we will see consumer availability that allows you to buy these units individually but I think we can expect this in the next few months.
The FX-9590 and FX-9370 CPUs both run AMD Turbo Core 3.0 which allows the FX-9590 to turbo up to a maximum 5GHz and the FX-9370 to turbo up to a maximum 4.7GHz. According to AMD both these CPUs have eight Piledriver cores. The base clock of the FX-9590 is 4.7GHz while the base clock of the FX-9370 is 4.4GHz. Both have 8MB of L2 and L3 cache and reportedly support up to DDR3 2400MHz memory.
There is some worry among motherboard vendors as most AM3+ motherboard sockets are only designed for around 125W TDP with a little bit of overclocking headroom. Apparently the FX-9590 and FX-9370 have 220W TDPs meaning motherboard vendors will have to issue a compatibility announcement, some lower end and mid range motherboards just won’t have the VRM to support these new CPUs. Although if these CPUs are only released through the OEM system integrator channel, then compatibility issues shouldn’t be a problem as system builders will be given details on which motherboards they can put these CPUs in.
Apparently the OEM/System integrator pricing for these CPUs is $800 for the FX-9590 and $400 for the FX-9370.
What are your thoughts on these new CPUs from AMD?
A while back we brought you the rumour that AMD was preparing a 5GHz Centurion FXprocessor. That in fact turned out to be a false rumour that apparently had no accurate grounding, particularly as people were suggesting the chip would be guaranteed to run at 5GHz on air yet many industry sources confirmed that would not be possible. Now we have a similar story emerging from a SweClockers report, who I might add are normally quite accurate with their leaks and reports.
The report says that AMD is preparing two new FX processors based on Piledriver and Vishera. The FX 9000 and FX 8770 CPUs. Not much is known about the FX 8770 other than it will be lower down in terms of specifications compared to the FX 9000. The FX 9000 on the other hand is reported to run at 4.8GHz stock with a 5GHz turbo mode. This CPU will have a huge 220W TDP compared to the 125W TDP on the FX 8350 which is already too hot and power hungry for most people’s liking.
Below you can see the known specifications of these two CPUs, thanks to WCCFTech for putting this table together.
Like with the Centurion FX rumour I am highly sceptical of these rumours although 4.8GHz stock and 5GHz turbo does seem a bit “more realistic” than Centurion FX’s “5GHz on air” expectation. AMD recently teased on its Facebook pagethat “We’ve made something for gaming combat so you can always be ready for war. Can you guess what our announcement might be? Stay tuned…”. There is definitely something special coming from AMD but whether that is a new CPU, a new GPU or a new APU is anyone’s guess.
AMD have a tradition of cutting their prices down incrementally over time. Not only does it help them shift a few more units but it also allows them to keep “old tech” attractive even when they release new models. Their latest round of price cuts is no exceptions and we can see some very attractive price drops from the AMD camp:
AMD has been cutting prices from the Llano FM1 platform, the Trinity FM2 platform, the Piledriver AM3+ platform and the Deneb AM3 platform. It is interesting to see AMD still cutting prices on the somewhat “ancient-but-legendary” Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition processor, now down to a tiny $81. This makes an excellent choice for anyone wanting four real cores and overclockability but doesn’t want to pay the premium for today’s technology.
The Llano platform has had the biggest cuts as AMD clearly wants to shift stock of the A6 3600, A8, 3800 and A8 3820. There are no cuts on the A6 3670K or A8 3870K as these two units are clearly selling well thanks to their unlocked multipliers. Trinity also gets a discount and the A8 5600K being reduced by 9.9% is my favourite reduction.
Over with Piledriver and AMD’s recently released FX 6350 and FX 4350 processors mean the price of their slower counterparts, the FX 4300 and FX 6300, have been hacked down. The FX 6300 sees a healthy 15% discount making it only $112, which is only $4 more than the FX 4300. The FX 8320 also gets a price chop of 9.5% making it more competitive against Intel offerings in the same price point.
What are your thoughts on this latest round of price cuts from AMD?
Back at the end of last year AMD released two new processors to its FX series in the form of the FX 6350 and FX 4350, both of these parts were reserved as specifically OEM-only parts – meaning sold in trays or in pre-built systems. It wouldn’t of been impossible for you to get a hold of them as a few smaller retailers and sellers were selling them individually, but any big and reputable retailers wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) of been selling them. Now AMD has decided that it is going to bring the FX 6350 and FX 4350 processors to the retail channel, a.k.a in a box for you to buy individually with a full AMD warranty at big websites like Amazon, Scan, Ebuyer, Newegg, NCIX, etc.
Both the FX 6350 and FX 4350 are based on the 32nm Vishera silicon, and the second generation Piledriver micro architecture design. AMD is going to be targeting the $130 and $140 price points with MSRPs of $122 and $132 for the FX 4350 and FX 6350 respectively. Both parts have some incredibly impressive clock speeds for such affordable CPUs. The FX 6350 features a stock clock speed of 3.9GHz with a 4.2GHz Turbo frequency, 6MB/8MB of L2/L3 Cache and a TDP of 125W. The FX 4350 features a clock speed of 4.2GHz with a Turbo frequency of 4.3GHz, 4MB/8MB of L2/L3 cache and a 125W TDP. Both parts feature unlocked base-clock multipliers, modern instruction-sets such as AVX, AES-NI, SSE4.2, SSE4.1, FMA2, and XOP.
Availability is immediate in the retail channel and you can already find these parts listed at Newegg.com (FX 4350, FX 6350). What are your thoughts on these two new CPUs from AMD?
AMD has been somewhat noncompetitive of late when it comes to the enthusiast segment of the processor market. Arguably its FX 8350 achieves general parity with the i5 3570K but everything higher than that seems to leave AMD trailing in the distance. That said it is understandable that AMD is focusing primarily on APUs and graphics cards with its typically gamer friendly methods that involve the Never Settle (Reloaded) bundles.
Despite AMD’s FX processors being overshadowed by Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge-E, AMD hasn’t lost hope in them just yet. This rumour is a bit of a spectacular one but our industry sources would suggest it is actually realistic. AMD is apparently preparing a Vishera based Super FX processor which is codenamed the Centurion. This CPU from AMD will be guaranteed to run at 5GHz on air cooling, although the exact specifics of voltages and supporting hardware required are unknown.
These chips will probably represent the absolute créme de la créme of the Piledriver production process and have been cherry picked to hell and back. 5GHz on air will certainly be an impressive achievement, something even Intel’s 2500Ks struggled to match in most cases. Yet, there is a HUGE catch, and we mean HUGE. Sources indicated that this limited edition AMD Centurion Super FX processor will have a price tag of $795. If you consider you can currently pick up at FX 8350 for $200 then paying $795 for what is a glorified and more overclockable FX 8350 is eye watering. We are hoping AMD have done more than just cherry pick because power consumption and temperatures will need to be on the money if this chip is to be competitive.
It certainly isn’t going to be one for the mainstream user, but for the die-hard AMD enthusiast I can see this being popular. What are your thoughts on the AMD Centurion?
In a recent presentation by AMD’s PR and Marketing department it showed off the technology behinds its new Steamroller core design. The new AMD micro-architecture is on track to be released this year in the form of AMD Opteron server class processors. This is a hugely surprising development as Q3-Q4 2014 was cited as the most likely release frame for the new AMD CPU architecture. The updated Opteron roadmap, which you can see above, states 2013 as the release year for Steamroller Opterons but nothing much has been said about the consumer side of things.
Reports suggest AMD has pushed forward its plans for Steamroller by nearly a year, probably because it feels it is being left behind by Intel unless it does things a lot faster. The new range of Steamroller CPUs are expected to be compatible with the current selection of sockets and will support native PCI Express generation 3 support. Backwards socket compatibility is one of the AMD trademarks so we are glad to see they are retaining this.
Consumers should probably expect to see Steamroller arrive in 2014 at some point with Q2 seeming the most likely period. But what to expect in terms of performance? Well reports are quoting 5-10% more single core performance and a 30% improvement in operations per cycle for the CPU as a whole compared to the Bulldozer architecture. In essence the cores will work drastically better together than they did in Bulldozer/Piledriver but single core improvements will only be typical of generational improvements.
What are your thoughts on AMD bringing the launch forward? Is it a good idea for them to remain competitive? Do they risk releasing a half-finished product?
You can see more details from the slide presentation below and read more detail on Steamroller at the source link.