• What
    is this?
    You've landed on the AMD Portal on AnandTech. This section is sponsored by AMD. It features a collection of all of our independent AMD content, as well as Tweets & News from AMD directly. AMD will also be running a couple of huge giveaways here so check back for those.
    PRESENTED BY

Last year's launch of AMD's FX processors was honestly disappointing. The Bulldozer CPU cores that were bundled into each Zambezi chip were hardly power efficient and in many areas couldn't significantly outperform AMD's previous generation platform. Look beyond the direct AMD comparison and the situation looked even worse. In our conclusion to last year's FX-8150 review I wrote the following:

"Single threaded performance is my biggest concern, and compared to Sandy Bridge there's a good 40-50% advantage the i5 2500K enjoys over the FX-8150. My hope is that future derivatives of the FX processor (perhaps based on Piledriver) will boast much more aggressive Turbo Core frequencies, which would do wonders at eating into that advantage."

The performance advantage that Intel enjoyed at the time was beyond what could be erased by a single generation. To make matters worse, before AMD could rev Bulldozer, Intel already began shipping Ivy Bridge - a part that not only increased performance but decreased power consumption as well. It's been a rough road for AMD over these past few years, but you have to give credit where it's due: we haven't seen AMD executing this consistently in quite a while. As promised we've now had multiple generations of each platform ship from AMD. Brazos had a mild update, Llano paved the way for Trinity which is now shipping, and around a year after Zambezi's launch we have Vishera: the Piledriver based AMD FX successor.

At a high level, Vishera swaps out the Bulldozer cores from Zambezi and replaces them with Piledriver. This is the same CPU core that is used in Trinity, but it's optimized for a very different purpose here in Vishera. While Trinity had to worry about working nicely in a laptop, Vishera is strictly a high-end desktop/workstation part. There's no on-die graphics for starters. Clock speeds and TDPs are also up compared to Trinity.

CPU Specification Comparison
CPU Manufacturing Process Cores Transistor Count Die Size
AMD Vishera 8C 32nm 8 1.2B 315mm2
AMD Zambezi 8C 32nm 8 1.2B 315mm2
Intel Ivy Bridge 4C 22nm 4 1.4B 160mm2
Intel Sandy Bridge E (6C) 32nm 6 2.27B 435mm2
Intel Sandy Bridge E (4C) 32nm 4 1.27B 294mm2
Intel Sandy Bridge 4C 32nm 4 1.16B 216mm2
Intel Lynnfield 4C 45nm 4 774M 296mm2
Intel Sandy Bridge 2C (GT1) 32nm 2 504M 131mm2
Intel Sandy Bridge 2C (GT2) 32nm 2 624M 149mm2

Vishera is still built on the same 32nm GlobalFoundries SOI process as Zambezi, which means there isn't much room for additional architectural complexity without ballooning die area, and not a whole lot of hope for significantly decreasing power consumption. As a fabless semiconductor manufacturer, AMD is now at GF's mercy when it comes to moving process technology forward. It simply has to make 32nm work for now. Piledriver is a light evolution over Bulldozer, so there's actually no substantial increase in die area compared to the previous generation. Cache sizes remain the same as well, which keeps everything roughly the same. These chips are obviously much larger than Intel's 22nm Ivy Bridge parts, but Intel has a full node advantage there which enables that.

Piledriver is a bit more power efficient than Bulldozer, which enables AMD to drive Vishera's frequency up while remaining in the same thermal envelope as Zambezi. The new lineup is in the table below:

CPU Specification Comparison
Processor Codename Cores Clock Speed Max Turbo L2/L3 Cache TDP Price
AMD FX-8350 Vishera 8 4.0GHz 4.2GHz 8MB/8MB 125W $199
AMD FX-8150 Zambezi 8 3.6GHz 4.2GHz 8MB/8MB 125W $183
AMD FX-8320 Vishera 8 3.5GHz 4.0GHz 8MB/8MB 125W $169
AMD FX-8120 Zambezi 8 3.1GHz 4.0GHz 8MB/8MB 125W $153
AMD FX-6300 Vishera 6 3.5GHz 4.1GHz 6MB/8MB 95W $132
AMD FX-6100 Zambezi 6 3.3GHz 3.9GHz 6MB/8MB 95W $112
AMD FX-4300 Vishera 4 3.8GHz 4.0GHz 4MB/4MB 95W $122
AMD FX-4100 Zambezi 4 3.6GHz 3.8GHz 4MB/4MB 95W $101

The table above says it all. TDPs haven't changed, cache sizes haven't changed and neither have core counts. Across the board Vishera ships at higher base frequencies than the equivalent Zambezi part, but without increasing max turbo frequency (in the case of the 8-core parts). The 6 and 4 core versions get boosts to both sides, without increasing TDP. In our Trinity notebook review I called the new CPU core Bulldozed Tuned. The table above supports that characterization.

It's also important to note that AMD's pricing this time around is far more sensible. While the FX-8150 debuted at $245, the 8350 drops that price to $199 putting it around $40 less than the Core i5 3570K. The chart below shows where AMD expects all of these CPUs to do battle:

AMD's targets are similar to what they were last time: Intel's Core i5 and below. All of the FX processors remain unlocked and ship fully featured with hardware AES acceleration enabled. Most Socket-AM3+ motherboards on the market today should support the new parts with nothing more than a BIOS update. In fact, I used the same ASUS Crosshair V Formula motherboard I used last year (with a much newer BIOS) for today's review:

The Test

For more comparisons be sure to check out our performance database: Bench.

Motherboard: ASUS Maximus V Gene (Intel Z77)
ASUS Crosshair V Formula (AMD 990FX)
Hard Disk: Intel X25-M SSD (80GB)
Crucial RealSSD C300
OCZ Agility 3 (240GB)
Samsung SSD 830 (512GB)
Memory: 4 x 4GB G.Skill Ripjaws X DDR3-1600 9-9-9-20
Video Card: ATI Radeon HD 5870 (Windows 7)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 (Windows 8)
Desktop Resolution: 1920 x 1200
OS: Windows 7 x64/Windows 8 Pro x64

General Performance
POST A COMMENT

239 Comments

View All Comments

  • Got my first AMD - Thursday, May 08, 2014 - link

    I OC my 8320 to 4.7 GHz and only have to raise the voltage .0125 from stock. Why is it that you think AMD is worthless. They are all for the consumer and I am grateful for it. I'm really sick of your ignorance. Really sick of it. Reply
  • cbrown - Thursday, June 12, 2014 - link

    What everyone will get "sick" of in a hurry is if AMD falls on its face with its "crap" cpu manufacturing... Intel will double their pricing on cpus again, same as they were during the time period AMD released it's "crap" slot athlon 500. AMD also has a decent gpu to fall back on since they bought ATI which was a smart move.

    *AMD released Slot A Athlon 500 Intel slashed it's prices in half same day to match.

    *If ATI hadn't stepped up to the plate and suceeded when nVidia bought 3dfx Everyone would be crying about the prices of gaming cards

    *Sure AMD is lagging behind right now but never underestimate the importance of competition and the effect it has on affordable upgrades for everyone...

    I love AMD for the pricing they have brought to us this day and time... with cpu's AND gpu's
    I am fixing to build my FIRST intel platform since the since amd released the slot a athlon simply because I want a hackentosh... there is simply too much heartache building one on a AMD CPU/MOBO combo for the simple fact apple does not support them. I dont know if you would call me a amd fanboy or not, your opinion, I simply have supported a company that brought affordability to everyone.... I am either MAC (intel, no choice really) or AMD for the windows platform...

    Anyone that cannot see the reasoning behind this, now I would say they are a intel fanboy though.... Everyone has the right to choose.....
    Reply
  • sleekz - Thursday, May 02, 2013 - link

    Priced cheaply, but they don't match price/performance wise. Price is not a valid argument against intel. Reply
  • Abdussamad - Monday, August 12, 2013 - link

    Do the math on electricity consumption and you find it is not priced decently at all. Let's say you run a system with an idle FX 8350 for 8 hours a day everyday for 5 years and electricity costs you $0.16 per kwh:

    (( 8 hours * (74.2 - 57.5) * 365 days * 5 years ) / 1000) * 0.16 = $39

    (74.2 - 57.5 is the difference in idle power consumption between an fx-8350 and i5-3570)

    So add $40 to the price of the FX 8350 before you do a comparison. More if you run your system 24/7.
    Reply
  • lostinspacex - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    duuude its 40 dollars in 5 years, you spend more going to a restaurant once , and u are multiplying watts with kilowatts xD, basic math mistake Reply
  • chekk42 - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    Look closer. The math is correct. However, yes, $40 over 5 years is not really a concern. Reply
  • ninza228248 - Monday, April 14, 2014 - link

    After 5 years add $40 to AMD and you will get mind blowing processor compared to Intel Core i5-3570 or any intel processor after 5 years in that price bracket... Reply
  • Operandi - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Looks like Piledriver delivered. Granted the bar was set pretty low with Bulldozer but this at least has a use case, highly threaded applications but considering this is a process node behind Intel I’d say its pretty good. If they can keep this pace up and hit IPC a bit harder AMD could be back in a pretty good position. Reply
  • silverblue - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    At least now they can say they beat Intel in a lot of multithreaded situations. Losing to Intel AND using more power was unpalatable. I'd like to see an undervolted 8350, perhaps AMD's conservative side is rearing its ugly head again.

    I'm a bit concerned that, even with hard-edge flops and the RCM, the clock speed difference is about 11% for the same power. I'd have thought that even the former would shave off a decent amount, unless RCM doesn't work so well at higher speeds. Still, there's one disadvantage to be had - overclocking won't work so well due to the flop change.

    If AMD can beat Intel now in multithreading in most circumstances, Steamroller is just going to let them pull away. Single-threaded workloads are the worry, though. Still, at least they can say that they finally beat Nehalem even in single-threaded work. I did lament the lack of an appearance of Phenom II, but looking at the results, they've buried that particular ghost.
    Reply
  • Finally - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Undervolting, you said?
    Here you go: http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/prozessoren/201...
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now