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AMD FX-8350, -8320, -6300 'Vishera' review: finally good enough?

Can the new Piledriver cores provide the AMD FX processors with a much-needed boost?

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Introduction

The first generation processors based on AMD's Bulldozer architecture did not meet expectations, so AMD is making a second attempt today, with FX 2.0 or Vishera. The Piledriver cores are a refinement and further development of Bulldozer, that are supposed to address the shortcomings. Hardware.Info extensively tested the new processors to find out how successful AMD's second attempt is.


We had to wait almost four years for the original FX processors, and when the chips finally arrived their performance was a real letdown. AMD failed to achieve the performance it had hoped for with its FX processors based on the Bulldozer architecture. The fastest processor in the series from AMD, the FX-8150, was comparable to the Core i5 2500. The Core i7 2600K and the Intel Core i7 1366 processors remained out of reach. When Intel launched its Ivy Bridge generation and it replaced the high-end segment with Socket 11 models, it seemed as if the fatal blow had been dealt to AMD. And despite the fact that AMD tried to attract buyers by significantly lowering prices, statistics from our Price Comparison Tool and the participating retailers indicate that sales figures were very poor.

Today AMD is trying for a second time, with what we can call 'FX 2.0'. The second generation FX processors (codename: Vishera) that AMD is introducing today are based on the Piledriver architecture. AMD did this before with it Trinity processors with integrated GPUs. Piledriver is a further development of the Bulldozer architecture where AMD solved the main issues and thereby improved the performance. Further optimisations have enabled AMD to let the new processors to run at much higher clock frequencies, in excess of 4 GHz. An improved architecture in combination with higher clock frequencies could make it so that the FX processors finally make an impact.

Today AMD introduced two 8-core, one 6-core and one quad-core model. The new flagship model, the FX-8350, will cost about £160 which is still far below the price of the Intel Core i5 3570K. It's clear that AMD is not challenging Intel in the high-end segment, but wants a piece of the much more lucrative pie of the affordable PC market.

In this review we will find out whether the new FX processor are a good alternative for consumers who'd otherwise automatically choose a Core i5.

AMD FX-8350


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