by Anton Shilov
04/12/2013 | 04:10 PM
Advanced Micro Devices decided to leave the market of high-end microprocessors a long time ago, when it turned out that it could not compete against Intel Corp.’s offerings with the micro-architecture it had. Even though the current micro-architecture – Bulldozer/Piledriver – is still a way behind Intel’s Ivy Bridge and Haswell in terms of efficiency, it has one important trump: ease of overclockability. As it appears, AMD wants to play that trump.
AMD is preparing a release of a new code-named “Centurion” limited edition FX chip that will conquer 5.0GHz clock-speed, presumably with all of its eight cores, and will therefore will be competitive against Intel’s Core i7 high-end desktop (HEDT) products in LGA2011 packaging, reports Hexus web-site. While the 5GHz clock-speed is not a problem even for current AMD FX-8350, the Centurion is supposed to reach the frequency with air cooling and remain stable inside desktop PCs.
The code-named Centurion chip is expected to be priced at $795, which is two times higher than the price of the most powerful Intel Core i7 microprocessors in LGA1155 or LGA1150 form-factors and clearly puts the AMD FX against Intel’s HEDT lineup in LGA2011 packaging. The new AMD chip will inherit Vishera design as well as Piledriver micro-architecture with all the pros and cons.
AMD’s current top-of-the-range eight-core FX-8350 microprocessor is clocked at 4.0GHz and in terms of performance is typically behind Intel Core i7-3770K (4 cores with HT, LGA1155) as well as Core i7-3970X (6 cores with HT, LGA2011). While in video games its performance can easily be improved by overclocking, in applications where performance difference equals or exceeds 50%, a 20% clock-speed boost will hardly help much.
While AMD must compete for the high-end of the microprocessor market, it will barely be able to do so with the current Piledriver micro-architecture since the latter needs high clock-speeds to perform on par with the rivals, which means increased thermal design envelopes and difficulties with binning (which results into high costs). Perhaps, AMD Steamroller micro-architecture will put AMD back into the high-end game.
Nonetheless, it is absolutely possible that AMD might release a limited edition Centurion chip for its fans. Such AMD FX central processing unit should offer high performance, further overclockability potential and, most importantly, attract attention to the brand in general and FX chips in particular. Several years ago AMD already offered so-called TWKR chips, which were available in quantity of less than 100 units worldwide, but which attracted loads of attention to Phenom II processors in mid-2009.
AMD did not comment on the news-story.