Processors

AMD FX-8350 Review – Piledriver Comes to Socket AM3+

Price Reference:

  • Lots of computing power for its price
  • Low power consumption as compared to its predecessor
  • Compatibility with all AM3+ motherboards
  • 1866 MHz DDR3 support
  • Excellent performance in heavily threaded tasks
  • New efficient Piledriver cores
  • Overclocks well
  • Same old 32nm manufacturing process
  • Almost same architecture
  • High power consumption as compared to Intel products
  • Low performance in lightly threaded tasks as compared to Intel products

Let’s recap some information about the AMD’s latest FX series Vishera processors before we come to a final conlusion. These use the same high-level architecture as the Bulldozer based Zambezi chips launched last year. AMD swapped last year’s Bulldozer cores with new Piledriver cores. Even at low level, Piledriver didn’t bring anything exclusively new to the game. The engineers just improved the old cores and tweaked a few things to make it more efficient; both in terms of power consumption and computing ability. All these little improvements bring up the new Vishera processors.

The Vishera brings around 15-20% performance improvement as compared to last year’s chips and that alone is an achievement given that AMD didn’t make any architectural changes and stayed as same manufacturing node. However, it only matters to technical people or the company itself, what matters to the users is that Vishera can do better than Zambezi with staying in same power envelope and for much lesser price. The 8-core FX-8350, that we tested today, is launched at only $195 while its last year predecessor was initially launched at $245.

If we only look at AMD side of things, the FX-8350 is easily a lot better than the FX-8150 and it’s worth every penny. However, things get bad for it when Intel’s chips come into the picture. It can’t keep up with Intel’s Core i5-3570K in lightly threaded tasks but talking about heavily/multi-threaded tasks it beats the competition by a good margin. Benchmarks like CineBench and x264 HD Benchmark paints a clear picture of FX-8350’s strengths where it even beats the Core i7-3770k which costs almost twice as much. But the main issue is that, a typical desktop load consists of low-threaded uneven tasks and that doesn’t fall in Vishera’s strengths. I would like to put this way: AMD Vishera has lots of potential but there is an incompatibility between typical desktop load and its potential. It isn’t really that easy to recommend to causal users but it can be good for inexpensive workhorses.

Power consumption is also an issue with AMD processors. They consume a lot more as compared to their Intel counterparts. However, AMD has improved considerably since last year and it’ll only get better in future.

All in all, AMD FX-8350 is easily recommendable to someone who will be doing lots of resource-hungry tasks like video transcoding or 3D modelling but for general desktop users and gamers, Intel still takes the cake.

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