AMD has been a little quiet as of late – The current range of AMD FX CPU’s were released just over a year ago and the AMD/ATI 7 series graphics cards were around towards the end of Q1 earlier this year. To solve their boredom, out comes a revision of the AMD FX Range shortly after the new low end A-Series CPU’s.
So what is new?
In short, 4 new processors that is essentially a revision upgrade to the existing AM3+ FX Bulldozer range. They are faster and cheaper than their older counterparts so it’s expected they will simply replace the older CPU’s.
How to spot a new ‘Piledriver’ CPU?
Fairly easily, take a look at the second number in the model number. If it’s a 3 then it’s one of the new CPU’s. They are:
Looking at the price points, the FX-8350 will replace the FX-8150, the FX-8320 will supersede the FX-8120, the FX-6300 will take the place of the FX-6100 and the FX-4170 and FX-4100 will be shown the door by the FX-4300.
So why so soon?
Normally processors have a little longer shelf life however it’s not uncommon for a Intel or AMD CPU line up to be replaced within a year. The Bulldozer launch was a little flaccid. It was like people ordering a pizza only to find the only topping available was ice cream so it’s not really a surprise to see these processors available for PC’s and Custom PC’s so soon.
Are they any good?
AMD Claim they are “up to” 23% faster than the old Bulldozer series, this is one hell of a claim. These are the results from a synthetic benchmark;
As you can see, the FX-8350 is not much faster than the old FX-8150 and the FX-6300 is not exactly destroying the older FX-6100.
Same story applies to testing in Cinebench. The new processors only offer marginal gains over the new tech, certainly not the potential 23% claim AMD make.
At this end of the scale gaming performance is relatively unchanged. There are marginal differences between the old and new CPU’s and as you can see there are marginal differences between all of the CPU’s as gaming performance relies more on the graphics card than the CPU.
Oh! A noticeable improvement! The new FX-8350 is 15.6% faster than the old FX-8150. Clearly it does depend on the benchmark to see the gains the piledriver series has to offer.
Back in the day, AMD FX Processors were the best. Intel was constantly in the shadow of AMD however since the birth of Intel’s Core 2 technology, the times have changed. Bulldozer was a letdown partly because AMD brought back the ‘FX’ branding and everyone was expecting/hoping that AMD would return to being the market leader due to the last time a ‘FX’ CPU was around. It wasn’t the case and this time around people were not expecting miracles.
For the most, the Piledriver series brings a welcome performance increase for less cost. All be it a small reduction in cost and depending on the environment a relatively small performance hike. Also, as they are AMD 3+ chips there is no need to go running out to buy a new motherboard if you wanted to upgrade.
The real positive that comes from this is comparing the new chips to the mid range Intel line up, the Core i5 range. Granted, Piledriver does not really compete with Intel’s i7 line up and probably won’t in the near future but consider this – An AMD FX-8150 is the same money as an i5 3470 but out performs it in most of the benchmarks. In fact the FX-8150 could almost be compared to an i5 3570K and that is a further £20! The other advantage is all the AMD CPU’s have an unlocked multiplier meaning they can be much better overclocked than a non ‘K’ Intel variant bringing further bang for buck should users wish to overclock their new AMD FX CPU.
So, plenty of advantages, but the new AMD FX suffer a few inherit issues – They use more power than comparable Intel CPU’s and they get creamed when it comes to single threaded applications and games which for most won’t be a deal breaker but something for all to consider.
We welcome the change and will be implementing the new processors into our custom PCs very soon.