AMD FX-8350 CPU: Piledriver Arrives

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AMD FX-8350 CPU: Piledriver Arrives

November 20, 2012 by Lawrence Lee

Product
AMD FX-8350
AM3+ Processor
Manufacturer
Street Price
US$210

The start of 2011 saw Intel release their Sandy Bridge CPU platform to the world to high acclaim. The new chips delivered strong performance, superb energy efficiency, and to ice the cake, each and every processor came equipped with relatively fast integrated graphics. Not content with their sizable performance lead over AMD, Intel raised the bar rather than resting on their laurels, placing even more pressure on the perennial underdog to come up with an answer.

All eyes fell on AMD in the summer when their Bulldozer microprocessor architecture was due to launch, but after a series of delays, it was well into autumn before any of the new silicon made it into outside hands. The result of all this anticipation was only bitter disappointment. The new FX line, codename Zambezi, set an unfortunate precedent — it was actually slower in some tests than its predecessors. The flagship 8-core FX-8150 turned only to be only a minor improvement overall compared to their previous fastest multi-core chip, the Phenom II X6 1100T.


The AMD FX-8350.

We've already gotten a sneak peak at what the updated CPU cores can do; the recently released Trinity APU platform was based on the same Piledriver architecture AMD is calling Vishera for their high-end desktop AM3+ socket. Unfortunately, it's an iterative design — the manufacturing process, die layout, and hardware features remain the same, though the inner workings have been tinkered with to achieve higher clock speeds without raising the thermal envelope. Their new headliner, the FX-8350, and the older FX-8150 are both 125W chips but the newcomer has a 400 MHz advantage in base clock speed. With a street price of the US$210, the FX-8350 is also $35 cheaper than the previous flagship was at launch.

AMD AM3+ CPU Lineup
Model
Cores
Clock
(Max Turbo)
L2 Cache
L3 Cache
TDP
Street Price (US)
FX-8350
8
4.0 GHz
(4.2 GHz)
8MB
8MB
125W
$210
FX-8150
8
3.6 GHz
(4.2 GHz)
8MB
8MB
125W
$190
FX-8320
8
3.5 GHz
(4.0 GHz)
8MB
8MB
125W
$180
FX-8120
8
3.1 GHz
(4.0 GHz)
8MB
8MB
125W
$160
FX-6300
6
3.5 GHz
(4.1 GHz)
6MB
8MB
95W
$140
FX-6200
6
3.8 GHz
(4.1 GHz)
6MB
8MB
125W
$135
FX-6100
6
3.3 GHz
(3.9 GHz)
6MB
8MB
95W
$115
FX-4300
4
3.8 GHz
(4.0 GHz)
4MB
4MB
95W
$130
FX-4170
4
4.2 GHz
(4.3 GHz)
4MB
8MB
125W
$125
FX-4100
4
3.6 GHz
(3.8 GHz)
4MB
8MB
95W
$105
Vishera processors highlighted in yellow.

A smattering of Vishera chips have been released to complement AMD's current series of processors based on the older Zambezi core. Notable additions include the FX-6300 and FX-4300, which lead their respective hex and quad core lineups in price despite having slower clock speeds than the previous leaders, taking advantage of user preference for more energy efficient 95W parts.

When considering the cost of a system, the CPU is only part of the equation as the price of motherboards varies greatly from platform to platform. In the chart above, we added the current street price of the chips compared today to those of an average compatible motherboard from Newegg. The following criteria were used for the motherboards: retail versions, Asus/Intel/Gigabyte/MSI branded, microATX/ATX form factor, SATA 6 Gbps and USB 3.0 controllers (outrageously priced models were omitted). The average motherboard price turned out to be US$261 for LGA2011, US$137 for LGA1155, and US$115 for AM3+.



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