The fourth memory channel and a few other tweaks – including that massive amount of L3 cache – mean that it’s a huge chip both in terms of transistor count (2.27 billion) and physical size, 435mm². Consequently, a whole a new socket, the LGA 2011 and a new supporting chipset, the X79 Express, are in order. Being a ‘K’ class chip means that its multiplier’s are unlocked, allowing it to be easily overclocked for even more grunt.
PCMark7 overall score
Longer bars are better
Cinebench R11.5 Index Score
Longer bars are better
AMD and Intel X264 V4.0 video encoding rate
Average frame rate: longer bars are better
So, for the time being at least, if you've the budget, then it’s the Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition for pure performance. Yet in reality, the Core i7 3930K makes a whole lot more sense, it’s a hell of a lot cheaper and practically just as fast. Going down the AMD route offers a different way of looking at a fast PC. Yes there’s a big compromise in overall performance although the price of the FX-8150 being less than half the price of the Core i7 3930K will allow much more flexibility.
At around £184, the FX-8150 is a bit of a bargain. Indeed, the price is attractive to system builders, providing plenty of leeway to beef up the hardware specs they want to add for an AMD-based, high-end performance system. So if you need to save cash for more RAM, a faster GPU or a decent-sized SSD, then AMD provides a pretty respectable option. ®
AMD and Intel extreme desktop CPU workout
But is extreme what is needed?
It's touched on in the article in a couple of places, but not really expanded upon. Probably because the article is focused on "extreme CPU workout", but things like the socket compatability are quite significant. I have an old AMD Phenom II X6 processor. At some point I will likely want to put in a new CPU, perhaps when Piledriver (the next gen Bulldozer) arrives. At this point, I can just pop it into the existing motherboard. AMD have long been better on compatability. The AM2 socket lasted for a long time.
Also, the CPU is seldom the bottle neck for most users. So yes, if you have tonnes of money and the will to spend it, you can get yourself a high-end Intel and a top of the range SSD. But for the rest of us, it's better not to blow all the money on the processor and spend a bit more on the SSD in terms of performance. In terms of overall experience, it's even better to spend a bit more on a decent monitor if you're going to be staring at it all day. If you're a gamer, better spending the money on a better or second graphics card too.
It depends what you need. I guess my opinion is that you spend your budget on the priorities and pushing your processor to the best around is one of the last things you do if you still have budget left over. I think this will be especially true with the ultra-thin style laptops that are coming out where AMD's new APU designs make them more efficient and capable than Intel's (and hopefully cheaper). AMD is clearly targetting the vast majority of buyers, rather than the extreme performance market which must be tiny compared to everyone else.
Just some thoughts on AMD vs. Intel. I think AMD are actually going to have a few very good years coming up. Intel has seized the top of the hill and AMD is busy hoovering up the low-lands all around it, it seems to me.
Re: But is extreme what is needed?
Indeed, AMD (and Intel if it's honest) has realised that the CPU power race ended the minute dual core CPUS came out. At that point 90% of the worlds PCs users were sorted for life with regards to doing their day to day computing.
The fact Intel pushes out these £800 fastest CPUs is great and all but how many do they actually sell? Especially to the domestic market. Only a very small percentage of the worlds PC users actually read the tech reports on CPUs.
They are really nothing than a marketing tool and internet buzz creating. I've never seen one of these chips in the wild.
So AMD is wise to just concentrate of getting hold of Joe Average with a nice average CPU for a lower than average price.
Just waiting for the herd of ....
...socially awkward PC enthusiasts that class themselves as 'Hardcore' because they have the £800 to spend on a CPU (guess why folks) that they only use for running pointless benchmarks on all day and nothing else. To say that "OMFG the AMD is so lame and the IPC of the INTEL is just so much better cos in X benchmark it does this and in Y benchmark it does that...."
FFS quit with the benchmarks and lowering the timings on your Extreme Dragon Hell For Leather Quad Turbonutter ram to get that FPS score from 146FPS to 146.6FPS.
You are wasting your life! Go outside and find a girlfriend or some real friends at least.
It doesn't impress normal people with normal lives.
I prefer more cores to faster cores
because it runs my code faster. On 8 or 16 cores I also tend to get a slightly better load balance than on 6 and 12, because the binary tree structure used in the gather phase of many algorithms is nicely balanced. Furthermore, hyperthreading is great mainly if the different threads share a lot of the data they work on, so the you do not get cache contention issues. In my code I find it does not contribute anything, and can actually harm performance.
The same does not hold for a lot of code out there. Horses for courses. For my desktop, the AMD chip is best (but not with a AMD/Radeon graphics board, because we also use CUDA), others may be served better with Intel chips.
Re: Just waiting for the herd of ....
I spend most of my day in front of a PC. I run CAD applications where interactive mouse movements trigger hundreds of millions of processor cycles which I have to wait for.
A few hundred quid extra for a processor which saves me a fraction of a second thousands of times a day is money well spent, it is also a small fraction of the cost of the software it runs.
'socially awkward PC enthusiasts' are not the only people interested in and prepared to pay for high processor performance.