AMD [NASDAQ:AMD] today announced at E3
that they would be adding two new FX processors to their current lineup of FX processors. These chips are designed to complement their best offerings in the CPU category and are potentially designed to compete with Intel's Haswell Core i7 offerings.
AMD's new chips for the FX family of products
are going to be given a new number series, the FX-9000 series. The FX-9370 is AMD's 4.7 GHz turbo clock (not a sustained speed), while the FX-9590 is AMD's offering which is supposed to turbo up to 5 GHz, the highest that has ever been commercially offered by either AMD or Intel, or any x86 licensed company for that matter. Intel got close with some of their net-burst based Prescott chips
, but some people within the company realized that faster is not always better as they were driving themselves into a bad place of trying to squeeze more performance out of the same cores. Following Prescott, Tejas was slated to follow with even more power consumption and clocks but was later killed before it ever launched. While AMD isn't necessarily using the same cores and trying to up the frequency, one would not necessarily say that AMD's CPU architectures have varied greatly in the past few years.
These new FX-series chips
still feature AMD's Piledriver cores
, which means they're an improvement over their older Bulldozer chips in many ways, but still not Steamroller cores
, which are slated as the next generation for AMD. Essentially, these chips should deliver similar performance as the FX-8300 series of chips, but adding performance for clockspeed scaling. While we have absolutely no idea what kind of performance or price to expect from these chips quite yet, it's fair enough to assume that since the fastest FX-8300, the FX-8350, is clocked at a maximum turbo clock of 4.2 GHz, we can probably see a performance increase of 15-20% over the current chip. The biggest factor will be AMD's pricing for this chip, as the current FX-8350 sells for about $199
and it will be difficult for AMD to charge too much more considering Intel's Haswell i7 and i5 offerings.
We would also be interested to see how much more power the FX-9590 consumes when compared to the FX-8350, since it usually requires quite a bit more voltage to enable higher clocks like 5 GHz. AMD did break the world record for a CPU overclock with the FX series of chips at 8 GHz, but overclocking ability isn't always indicative of actual performance in most scenarios. There's a good chance that this 5 GHz chip could offer even better world records, but once again, it isn't always the best thing to be the world record holder. Intel has proven that IPC
improvements generally result in better performance and that higher clockspeeds are not always a better thing, especially when a higher cost is paid for power and heat. This is likely a binned chip coming from AMD as they haven't announced any process improvements or new steppings for their CPUs.
We did some more digging and were able to find out that this new part is a 220w TDP part (compared to 125w on the FX-8350), and will be available to system integrators only. In addition to that, system integrators will be pushed to implement at the very least water cooling in order to cool this chip. Some people or integrators may even be tempted to install some sort of phase-change cooling like back in the days of BioHazard PC's Rapture
to enable even higher clocks. While we don't have any concrete performance figures quite yet, we'll be sure to get them to you once we have a system in our hands with one. The pricing is still unknown, but I have a feeling this won't be a cheap chip by any measure or even if we'll ever see it sold as a component only sold separate from a system.
While we can see that AMD is trying to reach for the performance segment, I'm not quite sure that it's enough to really say that they're competing. A 5 GHz is without a doubt an impressive offering any way that you cut it, but it also brings back memories for many of us during the Pentium 4 days, when AMD was laying the smackdown on Intel. A 5 GHz chip does make it easier for system integrators to offer faster CPUs at guaranteed clocks, even if they do consume considerably more power. AMD is showing that they want to compete in the performance segment and we are really interested to see what they'll do with their Steamroller based chips soon.
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