I have to say that the results of this test session have practically fully confirmed what we have already seen before in the first review of Socket AM3+ processors with Piledriver microarchitecture. The only difference is that this time we looked not only at the top CPU model, but at the entire product line-up. And this allowed us to somewhat revise our attitude to new AMD products. Here is why.
The flagship FX-8350 really does look very interesting. It is significantly faster than the previous generation AMD processors and can successfully compete against top LGA 1155 Ivy Bridge CPUs in case of multi-threaded load. Keeping in mind its affordable price, FX-8350 can be recommended for inexpensive desktops dealing primarily with such resource-demanding tasks as HD content creation and processing or final rendering. However, it is also important to keep in mind some of its drawbacks before you decide on this product. This processor is enormously power-hungry, and on top of that it is not universal as it doesn’t work fast in every-day general purpose tasks, which are mostly unable to split the load into eight parallel threads. I would also like to point out that 3D games are also among the problematic tasks for AMD processors.
Nevertheless, if you like FX-8350, then you should also consider FX-8320. This model is much cheaper, but offers practically the same level of performance – it will do great in professional applications. Moreover, since all contemporary Socket AM3+ processors belong to the Black Edition series, i.e. have unlocked clock frequency multipliers, FX-8320 can easily be overclocked to the level of the flagship CPU or even beyond that. This allows us to state that AMD FX-8320 is one of the most interesting choices for computer enthusiasts in terms of price-to-performance (multi-threaded). I wish it could eliminate the shortcomings that Vishera have: high power consumption and low performance in lightly-threaded applications. So, frankly speaking, FX-8320 is a good niche product, but not a general-purpose solution.
The six-core Vishera modification, FX-6300, seems to make a pretty weak overall impression at first glance. One of the four dual-core modules in this processor is disabled that is why its peak performance is relatively low compared with Intel’s quad-core processors even under multi-threaded load. This is quite logical, because two contemporary AMD cores are pretty much as fast as one Intel core: this is exactly what we saw throughout our today’s test session. However, the first impression is not always the right one, and it immediately disappears once you check out the price list. AMD priced their FX-6300 in such a way that it becomes a direct competitor to Core i3, instead of Core i5. And this strategic move offers Vishera new possibilities: they can be considered a really interesting alternative to Intel’s dual-core processors. Moreover, in this case FX-6300 even has a few trumps up its sleeve. For example, it can be overclocked unlike Core i3 processors.
However, the youngest memory of the new Vishera family, FX-4300 processor, turned out a total disappointment. Here AMD has obviously got carried away when chopping off its functionality: they not only disabled half of its cores, but also took away half of the L3 cache memory. As a result, FX-4300 is not any faster than FX-4170 with Bulldozer microarchitecture and is just a little more energy-efficient than the latter. So, the quad-core Vishera processor is noticeably slower than Intel Core i3, but at the same time it is priced very close to FX-6300. So, it looks like this particular processor model won’t be of any interest even to the loyal AMD fans, who will most likely prefer to go with a similarly priced A10-5800K with an integrated graphics core and higher clock frequencies.
That said, the appeal of AMD processors with Vishera design is not really in the advantages of the Piledriver microarchitecture, but in their low prices. In this respect, the two models in the middle of the line-up, FX-8320 and FX-6300, look best of all. These are the processors we would recommend checking out, if you are not discouraged by higher power bills. And please keep in mind that AMD processors perform best in multi-threaded tasks, but they are not as universal as Intel products. Therefore, Socket AM3+ platform probably won’t be a good choice for everyday use, and will best fit into an inexpensive workstation system.