• 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

241 Comments

View All Comments

  • klatscho - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    but at least priced decently. Reply
  • leexgx - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    still like how AMD think they have 8 full cores in there (some sites list the Modules not FP cores in their lists)

    8x is 4 Modules (4M/8T)
    6x is 3 Modules (3M/6T)
    4x is 2 Modules (2M/4T)

    they hardly outperform stock clocked matched cpus (that they listed)
    Reply
  • leexgx - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    also to add if you own an Bulldozer (or Vishera) type of cpu you should all ready have these patches installed
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2646060
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2645594
    Reply
  • Penti - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    There are 8 fully pipelined integer cores in there, they are just very weak. Some of it is the shared frontend/decoder some of it is the integer execution units themselves. Weak SIMD/FPU-performance isn't the only thing it got. It just does so much less. You don't have two pipelines with separate resources to achieve SMT/HT. They need wider execution here. Preferably dropping the shared front end thing too. Makes no point of having it around, focus on making it faster and dump all that cache which does no good. Mobile/Notebook chips can't really have 16MB of cache any way. Just a few MB. Reply
  • DDR4 - Wednesday, November 07, 2012 - link

    It's just a marketing thing, the cores don't have that much power, AMD's just looking to do better than Intel in one area. Reply
  • P39Airacobra - Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - link

    And you base this on the first that came to your mind to make you feel better about you over paying for your wimpy little 4 core Intel CPU with half the power of a FX-8320. LOL Reply
  • P39Airacobra - Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - link

    Just kidding I have a i5 myself, But guys you really should stop being such fanboys. AMD has a great Chip here with the FX-8320 and FX-8350. They are priced much lower than the top i5 CPU, And they will perform just as well in gaming if not better. And who cares about it using 125 watts? 125 watts is a bit more than what Intel's i5's use , But it can still be ran more than fine with a High end GPU with just a decent 600watt mainstream PSU like a CX600. Reply
  • spooky2th - Tuesday, June 03, 2014 - link

    Intel i5's can handle faster memory than any amp chip. They have a stronger MC plus they OC very well too. With the 1155 socket the amd chips were barely keeping up. Since haswell the speed champs are intel cpu's hands down and with the z97 boards and the new processors that will only work with the 97 boards, look out amd! Better OC'ing and handling faster memory than before! Reply
  • Homeles - Sunday, October 28, 2012 - link

    Because performance = core count. Brilliant. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - link

    You know, you look at this crap amd chip in the review, and then it hits you... hard

    You can lock sandy b 2500K at 4,500.00 mhz all day long on every motherboard out there, all 4 cores, with no voltage increase, w the crap stock intel fan for years on end, never a hiccup, and smoke the every living daylights out of everything amd has.

    I mean, I find it very interesting that with videocards we STILL hear about overclocking, but when it comes to cpu's, suddenly all the OC fanboys of amd fall dead freaking silent on the matter.

    Sorry, just cannot help noticing when the wannabe emperor is stark naked and moments ago his glorious worshippers were pointing and admiring and swooning over just how fast the amd jaybird can run when pushed, and then.... suddenly, the MASTER OC CHIP OF ALL TIME, the Sandy Bridge... is rather ignored... and the naked jaybird streaking thing becomes the dejected peasants silence...

    Really sick of it man. Really sick of it.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now