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Tuesday, September 02, 2014
AMD Introduces New 8-core FX-series Processors

While Intel was announcing a high-end unlocked 8-core CPU based on its Haswell architecture last week, AMD was briefing the press on new unlocked octa-core CPUs -- the 4GHz FX-8370 and 3.3GHz FX-8370E, and the 3.2GHz FX 8320e.

The three new FX processors are designed for home PC builders looking to make their own desktops for just under US$1,000 to as much as $1,500.

FX chips are AMD's highest performing processors and are popular with gamers who overclock their chips and use separate graphics cards. However, AMD isn't making head-to-head performance comparisons between its latest FX-series processors and Intel's top-shelf parts. AMD is competing on price, pitting its best CPUs against Intel's second- and third-tier processors, such as the the Core i5 and Core i3 series.

The fastest of the new processors is the $199.99 FX-8370, which has a maximum clock speed of 4.3GHz and draws up to 125 watts of power. The other processors, which draw 95 watts, are the $199.99 FX-8370E, which scales to 4.3GHz, and the $146.99 FX-8320E, which has a maximum clock speed of 4GHz.

    AMD FX-9590 AMD FX-8370 AMD FX-8370E AMD FX-8320E
X86 Cores  
Max/Base (GHz)  
5/4.7 GHz
4.3/4 GHz
4.3/3.3 GHz
4/3.2 GHz
Suggested Graphics  
AMD Radeon
R9 290X
AMD Radeon
R9 280X
AMD Radeon
R9 285
AMD Radeon
R9 285
Suggested Board & Memory  
AMD 970
AMD 970
Suggested E-tail Price USD$  

The chips are based on the Piledriver architecture, which is now two years old. AMD's latest architecture is Steamroller, which is being used in laptops and some desktops.

AMD stuck with Piledriver on the new FX chips because Steamroller has thermal limits that won't allow for the use of eight cores, according to AMD.

The FX chips don't have integrated graphics processors, but that may change in the future.

In the area of content creation, AMD says its eight-core FX-8370 and FX-9590 can significantly outperform Intel's quad-core Core i5-4690K in tasks such as converting images from RAW format to JPEG. AMD claims also its FX-series processors are a better choice than Intel's when it comes to content creation. But they don't compete with anything beyond an Intel Core i5.

And don't forget that Intel builds its fourth-generation Core processors using a 22nm manufacturing processor, while AMD still relies on a 32nm process to build it FX-series parts. And the fifth-generation Core processors Intel is about to launch are built using a 14nm process. In addition, Intel's most powerful consumer CPUs, the Haswell-E series, have thermal design power (TDP) ratings of 140 watts. AMD's best CPU, FX-9590, has a TDP of 220 watts. AMD?s new FX-8370 fares a little better, with a TDP of 125 watts; and its FX-8370E and FX-8320E both have TDPs of 95 watts.

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