AMD’s Piledriver CPUs: 8-Core Chips, FX-8350, More

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Today, AMD rolls out an update to their performance/enthusiast-oriented FX series of CPUs. Unlike the new A8 and A10 APUs, these guys don’t put graphics on-die: instead, they spend that die space adding in more transistors to perform your calculations faster.

Inside of the new chips beats AMD’s new microarchitecture heart, known as Piledriver. The company is promising a 15% increase in performance over last year’s Bulldozer tech, which is about in line with their promised roadmap of the past couple of years.

AMD FXWhat makes these new CPUs a more interesting option, however, isn’t just their speed. AMD is being extremely aggressive in pricing the new lineup, with the most expensive option, an 8-core FX-8350, coming in at under $200. That’s a big change from last year, where the chips premiered at $100 higher, and it shows how much trouble AMD has in convincing consumers and corporations to buy into their CPUs.

AMD has had an extremely difficult time in catching up to Intel; where they once enjoyed a substantial lead, they’ve fallen behind. And now that they’ve gone fabless in an attempt to streamline their operations, they’re forced to deal with however GlobalFoundries runs their manufacturing processes – which means another generation of CPUs at 32nm. As a result, the TDP hasn’t really changed.

Still, the new CPUs are promising, and at first glance, seem to be catching up to where Intel currently sits. Like the last couple of generations of AMD CPUs, the chip manufacturer went with a eye to extreme parallelism. While the Piledriver CPUs can’t beat Intel’s dual-core i3 chips in some heavily single-threaded tasks, they can actually surpass some Core i7 CPUs in multithreaded applications.

In terms of performance per dollar, the new chips are pretty enticing. In fact, they make Intel just look overpriced.










   CPU Cores 



   Max Frequency 





   L2 cache (KB per core) 





   L3 cache (Total, in MB) 

   External Memory

1866 MHz

1866 MHz

1866 MHz

1866 MHz





   AVX Instructions 

   AES Support 


In an attempt to make the chips remain attractive for enthusiast users, all of the FX chips are unlocked. If you’re willing to pursue it, you can take advantage of the open multipliers and clock speeds to eke out more than the 15% increase that AMD is promising.

If AMD continues along this performance growth trajectory, they have a real chance at becoming more competitive with regards to Intel. Next year’s Steamroller update is promising (according to AMD) a further 15% performance increase – that said, Intel isn’t quite resting on their laurels, and if AMD wants to remain relevant, they can’t afford to stop and take a breath.



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