After a long wait, AMD has finally lifted the veil from the line of FX processors, which use the new Bulldozer processor microarchitecture the company has been working on for years. These first processors are, according to AMD, built “to cater to people who want maximum performance and upgradability.” In other words, AMD is leading with its big guns first, and will bring out less expensive parts later.
Let’s get down to brass tacks. The flagship is the FX-8150, an eight-core processor with a base clock of 3.6GHz. It features a CPU Turbo Core of 3.9GHz and a separate CPU Max Turbo of 4.2GHz. All of this is served up with a nice, big 8MB lump of L2 cache. This model is expected to arrive at a retail price of $245.
The two separate turbo modes represent the maximum speed the processor can achieve by default at different levels of load. CPU Turbo Core, the lower number, is the maximum turbo that can be achieved while all cores are active, while the higher CPU Max Turbo can be reached when only half of the cores are active. Further, manual overclocking can be achieved thanks to unlocked processor multipliers on all FX products.
Also available at launch will be the FX-8120, an eight-core processor with clock speeds of 3.1GHz, 3.4GHz, and 4.0GHz, starting at $205, and the FX-6100, a six-core processor with clock speeds of 3.3GHz, 3.6GHz, and 3.9GHz, starting at $175. Other models, including low-end quad-core processors, will be available at an unspecified later date.
All FX processors, regardless of core count and features, will use the existing AM3+ motherboard socket, though only current 9-series chipsets offer official support. Otherwise, backwards compatibility is in the hands of motherboard manufacturers.
Now that we’ve plowed through the technical details, you may be wondering how the performance of this new chip is expected to compare to Intel’s finest. According to AMD’s presentation, the flagship FX processor seems to be better than or equal to a Core i7-2600K in many benchmarks. This would make AMD competitive, particularly at a price of $245. However, because the benchmark data was provided by AMD, we’ll have to wait for independent testing before making any final judgment.