AMD has unveiled its first 4GHz processor in the shape of an updated FX desktop line, which also features up to eight of the firm's Piledriver cores, promising greater performance at a lower price than rival chips from Intel.
Available immediately, the updated FX chips, codenamed Vishera, are aimed chiefly at enthusiasts and gamers, and are effectively AMD's top of the line non-server processors.
"The FX fits right on top of our product stack. The E-Series is our introduction chip for everyday PCs, the A-Series is positioned for consumers who are looking to spend up to $100 on a graphics card, and FX sits on top for users spending more than $100 on a graphics card," said Adam Kozak, AMD's Client Desktop marketing manager.
However, while the E-Series and A-Series are accelerated processor units (APUs) with built-in GPU cores, the FX chips are more conventional multi-core integer processors and so must be paired with a discrete GPU for graphics functions.
At launch, there are four new FX chips, with the top of the line FX-8350 featuring eight Piledriver cores and a base clock speed of 4GHz for a price of $195.
A second eight-core chip, the FX-8320, has a clock speed of 3.5GHz for $169, while the six-core FX-6300 is also clocked at 3.5GHz and costs $132. A four-core version, the FX-6300, is clocked at 3.8GHz and costs $122.
As usual, AMD said that it is aiming to offer more cores at a lower cost than rival chips from Intel, with its nearest rival to the FX-8350 costing $235 but featuring only four cores, AMD claimed.
These new chips are essentially an update of the FX processors AMD introduced last year, but using the newer Piledriver core design in place of Bulldozer. This means that it has the same module design, where two integer cores share an L2 cache and a floating point unit.
However, numerous enhancements such as improved branch prediction, larger L1 caches and improved scheduling give a boost to performance.
"Essentially, this all leads to higher performance than our previous flagship. We're seeing anywhere from seven percent up to 15 percent, half of which comes from instruction per clock (IPC) improvements and the other half from frequency improvements," Kozak said.
All of the chips are unlocked and can be overclocked up to about 4.8GHz or 5GHz, according to AMD.
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