MSI Redefines AM3+ Value
It is no secret that AMD’s AM3+ motherboard ecosystem has languished for the past year or so, with very few examples of new products hitting the scene. This is understandable since AMD has not updated the chipset options for AM3+, and only recently did they release updated processors in the form of the FX-8370 and FX-8370e. It has been two years since the release of the original FX-8350 and another year since the high TDP FX-9000 series of parts. For better or for worse, AMD is pushing their APUs far harder to consumers than the aging AM3+ platform.
MSI has refined their "Gaming" series of products with a distinctive look that catches the eye.
This does not mean that the AM3+ ecosystem is non-viable to both AMD and consumers. While Intel has stayed ahead of AMD in terms of IPC, TDP, and process technology the overall competitiveness of the latest AM3+ parts are still quite good when considering price. Yes, these CPUs will run hotter and pull more power than the Intel parts they are directly competing against, but when we look at the prices of comparable motherboards and the CPUs themselves, AMD still holds a price/performance advantage. The AM3+ processors that feature six and eight cores (3 and 4 modules) are solid performers in a wide variety of applications. The top end eight core products compete well against the latest Intel parts in many gaming scenarios, as well as productivity applications which leverage multiple threads.
When the Vishera based FX processors were initially introduced we saw an influx of new AM3+ designs that would support these new processors, as well as the planned 220 watt TDP variants that would emerge later. From that point on we have only seen a smattering of new products based on AM3+. From all the available roadmaps from AMD that we have seen, we do not expect there to be new products based on Steamroller or Excavator architectures on the AM3+ platform. AMD is relying on their HSA enabled APUs to retain marketshare and hopefully drive new software technologies that will leverage these products. The Future really is Fusion…
MSI is bucking this trend. The company still sees value in the AM3+ market, and they are introducing a new product that looks to more adequately fit the financial realities of that marketplace. We already have high end boards from MSI, ASRock, Asus, and Gigabyte that are feature packed and go for a relatively low price for enthusiast motherboards. On the other end of the spectrum we have barebone motherboards based on even older chipsets (SB710/750 based). In between we often see AMD 970 based boards that offer a tolerable mix of features attached to a low price.
The bundle is fair, but not exciting. It offers the basics to get a user up and running quickly.
The MSI 970 Gaming motherboard is a different beast as compared to the rest of the market. It is a Gaming branded board which offers a host of features that can be considered high end, but at the same time being offered for a price less than $100 US. MSI looks to explore this sweet spot with a motherboard that far outpunches its weight class. This board is a classic balance of price vs. features, but it addresses this balance in a rather unique way. Part of it might be marketing, but a good chunk of it is smart and solid engineering.
Pushing the 8 Cores
It seems like yesterday when I last talked about an AMD refresh! Oh wait, it almost was. Some weeks ago I was able to cover the latest AMD APU offerings that helped to flesh out the Kaveri lineup. We thought AMD was done for a while. Color us wrong. AMD pulled out all the stops and set up an AM3+ refresh! There is a little excitement here, I guess. I am trying to contain the tongue-in-cheek lines that I am oh-so-tempted to write.
AMD is refreshing their FX lineup in the waning days of Summer!
Let me explain the situation from my point of view. The FX lineup for AM3+ has not done a whole lot since the initial release of the Piledriver based FX-8350 and family (Vishera). Piledriver was a pretty significant update from Bulldozer as it slightly improved IPC and greatly improved power consumption (all the while helping to improve clockspeed by a small degree). There were two updates before this one, but they did not receive nearly as much coverage. These updates were the FX-6350 and the FX-9000 series. The FX-6350 is quite popular with the budget enthusiast crowd who still had not moved over to the Intel side of the equation. The FX-9000 series were OEM only initially and reaching up to $1000 at the high end. During that time since the original Vishera chips were released, we have seen the Intel Ivy Bridge and Haswell architectures (with a small refresh with Haswell with the 2nd gen products and the latest Socket 2011 units).
Subject: General Tech | June 26, 2014 - 02:36 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: xeon, video, seiki, podcast, nvidia, msi, Intel, HDMI 2.0, gt70 2pe, gt70, gameworks, FX-9590, displayport 1.3, coolermaster, amd, 4k
PC Perspective Podcast #306 - 06/26/2014
Join us this week as we discuss our Budget PC Shootout, the Coolermaster Elite 110, an AMD GameWorks competitor and more!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Maleventano
Welcome to our beta podcast!
Quakecon is coming up, as is our Hardware Workshop!
Week in Review:
0:24:00 Noctua NH-U12S CPU Cooler Review
News items of interest:
0:42:00 You got your FPGA in my Xeon!
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: Processors | August 23, 2013 - 03:28 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: piledriver, FX-9590, amd
Over the last couple of days we had heard rumors about a potential price drop on the 5.0 GHz (Turbo Speed) AMD FX-9590 processor that was released in June. As the week progressed, the likelihood of this being true skyrocketed as several online outlets are showing much lower than expected pricing on the 8-core 220 watt CPU.
Two different UK-based online and retail outlets were showing the FX-9590 for sale for as low as £279 or $434 USD. That is a big price drop from £699 rate ($1008 USD) and obviously is causing quite a stir in the community. This puts the latest entries in the world of AMD FX just above the other parts like the standard FX-8350 in terms of cost which was definitely NOT the case in June or July.
In the US, the FX-9590 is still selling at Newegg as an OEM part but the current price is stuck at $879!
So why all the fuss? AMD claims that these are NOT price drops at AMD's request and that instead are the result of "business to business" negotiations. The official statement from AMD is as follows:
AMD channel partners are able to deliver the AMD FX-9000-series processor, AMD’s fastest and most powerful desktop processor, in highly customized systems and solutions in a manner that provides AMD fans access to the technology. We are excited to see high levels of interest in our AMD FX 9000-series processors, and will continue to work with our valued channel partners to ensure our products are readily available to the enthusiast community.
If you're like me, you don't really take anything interesting away from this statement other than "no comment." So what is really happening?
First, according to AMD the FX-9590 was never intended to be sold as an OEM part and rather was supposed to ship only in pre-built systems from companies like iBuyPower or in bundles that include a motherboard and cooler along with the processor. If these bundles were slow sellers though it seems plausible that the retailers would find ways to expire the bundle program and "accidentally" start selling the processors alone. Based on photos from ReviewBros that appears to be the case.
Photo source: ReviewBros
In reality though, this is the pricing that we would have liked to see the FX-9590 ship at originally and the first sets of reviews (that we were not included on) might have been much more positive. At $430 USD the FX-9590 competes with the higher end Core i7 Haswell processors in terms of performance but obviously uses quite a bit more power to get there.
If you are interested in buying a bundle or a system with the FX-9590 I do expect there to be some updates to pricing from all of the same system builders that launched with the processor originally to reflect these "business to business" happenings. I have already expressed interest to AMD and a couple of boutique builders in reviewing a system with these pricing and placement adjustments.
As for the idea of a "price drop", things are just more complicated than that. AMD tells me that because it was never intended to sell as an OEM part any pricing changes are not a result of AMD's demands. Honestly I don't know why AMD is so opposed to just saying there has been a price drop other than the negative reaction of the initial launch buyers; but that is always the case in the enthusiast market.
Regardless of the verbiage, the fact is that you'll likely be able to find the AMD FX-9590 and its 5.0 GHz Turbo clock rate available at lower prices in systems and on store shelves (though without AMD's consent) for much closer to the actual performance/value they offer. I'll take it.
Subject: Processors | July 19, 2013 - 04:13 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vishera, TWKR, piledriver, FX-9590, Centurion, amd
As we have been discussing the 220W TDP 5GHz AMD FX-9590 recently it seems a good idea to show what level of performance you can expect from this chip. Hardware Canucks had a chance to benchmark the performance of this chip using both synthetic benchmarks and some gaming tests. When they tried to overclock the chip they ran into difficulties with not only heat, as you would expect but they also ran into an issue with power, they maxed out the amount that the board could provide. Single thread performance is not up to par with SandyBridge-E but in properly designed multi-threaded programs the performance is impressive, though perhaps not for an $800+ chip.
"With the FX-9590, AMD has taken their Piledriver architecture and pushed it to the absolute limit. By running at an astounding 5GHz, this new CPU is the fastest in the FX-series stable."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- AMD FX9590 @ Kitguru
- AMD A10-6800 and A10-6700 'Richland' APU @ eTeknix
- Desktop CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- 48 desktop and 66 mobile processors tested in Cinebench 11.5 @ Hardware.info
- Intel Core i7-4770K Quad-Core Processor Review @ Techgage
Subject: Systems | July 17, 2013 - 12:12 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: vision m35, velocity micro, FX-9590, FX-9370, amd, 5ghz
Boutique system manufacturer Velocity Micro has announced its new Vision M35 gaming desktop powered by AMD’s latest FX-9000 series processors.
The Velocity Micro Vision M35 can be configured with a variety of hardware components on the company’s website. The system can be housed in a number of traditional Velocity Micro cases with internal hardware that includes either an AMD FX-9370 or an AMD FX-9590 processor, up to 32GB of DDR3 RAM, both SSDs and HDDs in various capacities, and up to a 1200W power supply. Graphics card options include a number of cards from both AMD and NVIDIA’s latest series (AMD 7000, NVIDIA 600/700). By default, the Vision M35 comes pre-loaded with Microsoft Windows 8 x64, but users can elect to install Windows 7.
The AMD FX-9000 series processors are the real news here, and Velocity Micro is among the first boutique vendors to use them. As a refresher, the FX-9370 and FX-9590 are 8-core processors with 16MB of cache based on the company’s Piledriver micro-architecture. The FX-9370 has a base clockspeed of 4.4 GHz and a turbo clockspeed of 4.7 GHz while the FX-9590 comes clocked at 4.7 GHz base and 5.0 GHz turbo. Despite being aimed at the enthusiast crowd, these chips will only be available to OEMs and system builders and not as retail parts.
The new AMD-powered Velocity Micro Vision M35 is available now online with a base price of $2,799. I was able to configure a M35 with the following specifications for $3,169 (and managed to get a quote of $2,969 after a $200 off coupon selectable on the configuration page).
- Velocity Micro QX-W chassis
- 850W power supply
- AMD FX-9590 CPU
- 8GB DDR3 RAM
- AMD Radeon 7950 GPU
- 120GB Intel 520 SSD
- 1TB 7200 RPM hard drive
- Integrated GbE and audio
- (No keyboard or mouse or other accessories selected)
Granted, its on the pricier side, but its not a bad system as far as pre-built boutique PCs go. And for AMD fans, systems like this (and these) are going to be the only official option for getting a FX-9590 processor.
Subject: Systems | July 16, 2013 - 01:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vishera, TWKR, piledriver, FX-9590, FX-9370, Centurion, amd
If you are looking for an AMD system you can really brag about then the arrival of FX-9590 powered systems at popular retailers like NCIX and system builders like Puget Sound and CyberPower. Clocked at 5GHz stock it is the highest frequency consumer CPU on the market and as long as you can tame the 220W TDP you might be able to take the chip even higher. Not every retailer has listed their new systems at the time of posting but right now you can pick up a GENESIS system from Origin that sports a watercooled FX-9590 and depending on your choices the GPU(s) can be watercooled as well.
Velocity Micro also has a system ready for purchase and the Gamer Scorpius 9500 from Cyberpower will be ready in the very near future. As you are unlikely to see these CPUs for sale in retail boxes this may be your only chance to get a hold of one of these chips. The prices of the systems will vary widely depending on what components you want inside but keep in mind that you are buying a completely build and thoroughly tested machine with a warranty so don't dismiss these systems without comparing the pricing to what you would pay to build a machine yourself.
Subject: General Tech | June 13, 2013 - 04:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vishera, piledriver, FX-9590, FX-9370, Centurion, amd
The Tech Report managed to get some more information out of AMD about the new FX-9000 series that the net has been buzzing about. We now have confirmation that the base clocks for the FX-9590 and FX-9370 are 4.7GHz and 4.4GHz. They also confirmed that 220W TFP is relatively accurate which will make these the hottest chips on the market. While you won't see these chips officially for sale outside of specially built systems, there is a chance a few might pop up on eBay and if you are curious how they might perform there is a link in The Tech Report's article to an overclocked Vishera which will give you a rough idea.
"On Tuesday, AMD introduced its new FX-9000-series processors. The company quoted their peak Turbo speeds (5GHz for the FX-9590, 4.7GHz for the FX-9370) and a rough time frame for availability ("this summer"), but it revealed little else. We were left wondering about base clocks, power envelopes, and potential retail availability."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Dummy batteries let you use an AC adapter @ Hack a Day
- AMD's Seamicro SM15000 server gets Red Hat Openstack certification @ The Inquirer
- AVG buys remote monitoring player LPI Level Platforms @ The Register
- Notebook ODMs bracing for price war @ DigiTimes
- Red Hat: We do clouds at one third the cost of VMware @ The Register
- ASUS RT-AC66U 802.11ac Wireless-AC1750 Router Review @ Legit Reviews
Subject: Processors | June 11, 2013 - 11:13 AM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: vishera, TWKR, piledriver, FX-9590, FX-9370, Centurion, amd
We have all heard the rumors, but it appears to be true. We had originally heard about a “Centurion” product which would be for extreme overclockers on the AMD side, running at 5 GHz with a 220 watt TDP. Now we finally get to see what all the fuss is about. AMD is releasing two new Vishera based processors that, for the time being, will be limited to system integrators and will be available later this summer.
The top end product is the FX-9590 which has a top turbo speed of 5 GHz. This will be a full four module implementation with the 8 MB of L3 cache. AMD did not give any other details for this particular part. We do not know what the base clock is, we do not know what the TDP is, and we can only assume that the northbridge/L3 cache will be clocked at the standard 2.2 GHz that we have seen on previous Vishera parts.
The second product is the FX-9370 which is again a four module part that has a top turbo speed of 4.7 GHz. Remember that the four modules each have two “cores”, so it is still considered an eight core part. These processors are unlocked, so they can be further overclocked if one so desires. TDP and other details were again skipped for this particular part.
These parts will be going to system integrators first, and I am not entirely sure that AMD will sell them on the market direct to consumers. If AMD does in fact sell to consumers (not implied at all in the press release) then they likely will have to bundle it with a very robust cooler. Probably something along the lines of what we saw with the original FX-8150 LCS bundle.
Consider that the FX-8350 is a 4 GHz base clock product with a max turbo of 4.2 GHz and having a TDP of 125 watts, we probably have to assume that the 220 watt number bandied about is accurate. A pretty beefy air cooler would be required, or the aforementioned liquid cooling system. AMD also likely had GLOBALFOUNDRIES change the “mix” when fabricating these parts. These batches probably feature more leaky transistors that can achieve higher speeds without an extreme amount of voltage.
This is an interesting move by AMD. Remember those TWKR chips that they released that were designed for LN2 use? There were a very limited number of those units, and we can imagine that while the FX-9000 series will be in greater numbers they still will not be commonplace on the retail market. SI’s like Maingear will be introducing systems this summer featuring these chips. Performance will be good with these solutions, but the tradeoff is of course power consumption and heat production as compared to similarly performing (and stock clocked) Intel i7 3770K and 4770K parts.
AMD is doing their best to address the enthusiast market, but until Kaveri hits the streets we will not see any major upgrades beyond these parts.
We received some further info about this chip. The TDP is up in the 220 watt region. It utilizes Turbo Core 3.0 to help achieve those speeds, so it seems that some of the work that went into Richland has made it into these latest FX processors. BIOS updates are probably a must. These chips will only be going to system integrators (SIs) and will be bundled with a liquid cooling system. We have no idea what the price will be since these will only be sold to SIs. Systems should be available after July 16.