AMD has been trying to get ahead in the multicore CPU game for a while now, but Intel has very easily and quite convincingly beaten most of what is thrown at them. AMD fans had become mere spectators while Intel was stockpiling its arsenal with variants upon variants of its Sandy Bridge processors. But it might just be time for AMD to get back into the game, quite literally, with the 8 Core FX series.
The top end model, FX-8150 which costs $245, has 8 cores which run at a clock speed of 3.6GHz and is easily overclockable upto 4.8GHz with the included Overdrive software. Although these sound great on paper, but in real world application would they be able to challenge the rein of Intel’s second-gen Core series ? Let’s have a look at the new FX family first.
The main advantage AMD has over Intel is its VFM(Value For Money) ratio. Consider that the top-end FX-8150 costs about $55 less than its Intel Core i7 counterpart providing similar levels of performance. Here’s the comparison.
So, should you just dive in and jump ship ? Not just yet. If you have a look at the comparison of the FX-8150 with Intel’s core i7 2600K you would notice that FX-8150 has twice the number of cores, 200MHz more stock clock speed and about 400MHz higher turbo mode than its Intel counterpart and that too at a higher TDP of 125 watt when compared to Intel’s 95 watt (Higher TDP means that more power would be required to cool the CPU when it works at its maximum potential) all the while providing similar performance. It just shows that specs on paper may not apply directly to real world scenarios, atleast not until applications and games can make use of the 8 core architecture.
One more thing to note about AMD’s Bulldozer multicore architecture is that, two cores on a die form a part of a pair and share resources among them, therefore they are not independent as traditional cores are(Intel’s Core architecture). Just reiterating the fact that they would not scale up to the way generally adding cores does.
Now we are at a better stage to answer the question put earlier. Should we jump ship to AMD’s new FX series. The answer would be yes for anyone who wants to build a HTPC, or multimedia centric gaming rig and with the money saved, along with some more a $250 discrete graphics card. AMD’s recent products have shown that they are more than capable of handling the competition even if not beating them, the FX series may prove to be a turning point where AMD would be able to gain back some of the mainstream market rather than just the enthusiast variety.