8-core enthusiast Piledriver CPUs set their sights on Intel's Core i5
AMD has finally launched the latest incarnation of its FX processor line, previously known as Piledriver. Known to be on the way for months thanks to several roadmap leaks, the new processors eschew the integrated graphics of Trinity in favour of multiple CPU cores.
As the Piledriver architecture is based on the existing Bulldozer core, AMD has remained on a 32nm fabrication process and used the same AM3+ CPU socket as last year’s FX models. This means existing owners will only need to apply a BIOS update to their motherboards to install these latest chips, rather than pay for a completely new board.
A whole host of architecture improvements has led to a claimed performance boost of around 15% compared to the previous generation running at the same clock speed.
The top-end FX-8350 will be the first AMD processor to ship with a 4GHz default clock speed, as well as the ability to reach 4.2GHz using AMD Turbo Core. As with the rest of the range, the CPU is fully unlocked ready for overclocking – a feature AMD is promising has improved since last year.
You should see up to 20% performance improvements in certain tests when running at 5GHz – supposedly a common result when overclocking new FX chips. These roomy overheads are apparently present across the board, meaning you should see higher overclocks regardless of the chip you choose.
Even with eight physical processor cores onboard, AMD is aware FX can’t compete with Intel’s incredibly powerful Core i7 processors and is therefore being sensible with pricing. In the US, you’ll be able to pick up an FX-8350 for $195, some $40 less than the equivalent Intel Core i5. The six- and four-core chips also cost considerably less than Intel’s entry level CPUs, meaning you could get more bang for your buck in certain situations by choosing AMD.
We’ve had early access to Piledriver FX, so if you want to know what kind of performance to expect in the real-world tests performed by our multimedia benchmarks, be sure to go and read the full review.