AMD Strengthens FX Microprocessors with Piledriver

AMD Introduces FX Chips with Piledriver Micro-Architecture

by Anton Shilov
10/23/2012 | 07:19 PM

As expected, Advanced Micro Devices on Tuesday updated the family of its highest-performance desktop central processing units. The new FX chips utilize new Piledriver micro-architecture and operate at higher clock-speeds, thus deliver about 15% higher performance compared to last year’s FX products.


“Gamers and PC enthusiasts who buy AMD FX processors have even more to cheer about with the increased speeds and value we are delivering starting today. After introducing the industry’s first and only eight-core desktop processor last year, we now have even faster stock frequencies and an all-new, high-performance x86 core architecture to satisfy power-users,” said Leslie Sobon, vice president of desktop and component products at AMD.

AMD FX "Vishera" central processing units sport up to eight Piledriver (second-generation Bulldozer) x86 cores with 1MB L2 per core, dual-channel DDR3 memory controller, 8MB L3 cache, Turbo Core 3.0 dynamic performance boosting technology and new instructions. Piledriver’s Front End now has a more precise branch predictor and a larger instruction window. The execution units acquired an enhanced scheduler and learned to process individual instructions faster, such as integer and floating-point division, for example. Moreover, the developers claim that they have increased the L1 TLB size and improved the data prefetch and arbitrating algorithms in the L2 cache.

Piledriver x86 cores use a new resonant clock mesh technology developed by Cyclos Semiconductor, which allows to cut power consumption by 10%, or boost clock-speed by 10% (compared to Bulldozer) without increase of TDP. As a result, AMD FX-8350 is the first multi-core desktop chip to officially conquer 4GHz clock-speed milestone, something that took many years to achieve. Thanks to the new technology, one can expect AMD’s team of professional overclockers to achieve never-before-seen 9GHz frequency (current record is 8.7GHz) with the new FX-8350 models.

The new AMD FX chips are compatible with AM3+ infrastructure as well as Scorpius platform featuring AMD 990FX core-logic sets. Given their higher performance out-of-the-box as well as potential for development, owners of AMD’s FX chips from last year should consider an upgrade opportunity.

While AMD put a lot of effort into improving the Piledriver and Vishera, due to general limitations of the Bulldozer-class micro-architectures, the new chips cannot offer performance comparable to Intel Corp.’s Core i7-3770K as well as Core i5-3570K “Ivy Bridge” microprocessors. As a result, AMD has to sell the new products at lowered prices between $122 and $195.

AMD positions its FX series for gamers and enthusiasts in budget, who cannot afford more expensive offerings from Intel. Considering the fact that performance in modern video games mostly depends on capabilities of a graphics processing units, such approach is completely justified.