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AMD FX-8350 and FX-6300 Processor Review: Vishera Breaks Cover

Author: Josh Walrath
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Conclusion

 

When I first heard about Vishera last year, I was excited for AMD, especially in light of how disappointing Bulldozer/Zambezi turned out to be.  Piledriver was supposed to cure all ills with Bulldozer, and allow the architecture to fly free.  Well, perhaps that is overstating it too much.  We did expect an improvement, and we were hoping they could at least be competitive with what Intel has to offer at those price points.

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The processor sweatshop revealed.  Copious amounts of dust helps to simulate real world conditions.

More and more information leaked out and we started to figure out that Vishera would be an improvement, but it would not come close to matching Intel in overall performance.  It certainly would not be matching Intel in power consumption either!  Intel has that nice process lead, and 22 nm sprinkled with FinFETs makes GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ 32 nm SOI product look ancient.  Perhaps I could inject more hyperbole here?

So what do we actually get with this release?  Well, it is a bittersweet release for AMD.  The pricing on these parts is not only competitive, it undercuts Intel by a significant amount across the board.  The 8350 is very competitive with the 3570K, and it can be had for $30 less.  The 6300 will walk all over the Intel products that exist at the $132 price point, and in fact is more competitive in terms of performance with the $185 Intel products.  Again, we get a nice $50 discount for essentially the same performance.  In these cases though, expect the AMD CPU to consume more power.  Would it be enough to make one nervous about energy bills?  Not really.

Vishera does have a nice increase in per clock performance over Zambezi.  It has allowed them to lower the clockspeed on the 6300 and 4300 parts, all the while maintaining a small performance lead over the higher clocked previous versions.  The 6300 does edge out the 6200 in most real world applications, and it does so at a 95 watt TDP vs. the 6200’s 125 watt.

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A tray of processors typically means a good week's worth of benchmarking.  My wife hates AMD.

AMD has fixed most of the issues with Zambezi with Vishera.  I was hoping for a larger increase in performance overall, but for that we are going to have to wait for Steamroller.  We do get a nice increase in performance, and just as importantly we see AMD fixing the TDP issues of the architecture.  This has allowed them to not only increase IPC, but to also get the top end products closer to the speeds they were initially designed for.  In this case the 4 GHz clock of the FX-8350 is right where the original Zambezi was supposed to be.

In the end I feel that AMD has swept aside a bit of a stinker and has introduced in its place a very competent part.  It is not a world beater.  It is not the second coming of the K8.  It does make AMD far more competitive with Intel, and a viable choice for consumers shopping at those price points.  An enthusiast style motherboard and FX-8350 will end up costing the same amount as an i7 3770K chip by itself.  In the vast majority of real world usage scenarios, there will be very little difference between the FX-8350 and the similarly priced i7 3570K.  Gaming should be more limited by the GPU, and since we have a plethora of multi-threaded applications which can utilize the full potential of the FX-8350 and FX-6300, they will continue to compete well with what Intel has at those price points.

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AMD claims that most of these processors can reach 5 GHz with high powered cooling solutions.  Either very large air coolers or the self-contained LCS systems should allow overclocking to this level.

I was hoping for some better success with overclocking, but my issue is more about heat than it is about the chips not wanting to run at those higher speeds.  The FX-8350 easily bumped past 60C at load when overclocked to 4.6 GHz with 1.5v.  More aggressive cooling would have seen the chip move well beyond that point.

AMD is keeping their head above water, and it looks like with Vishera we will actually see some product refreshes over the next year.  Certainly the FX-6300 and FX-4300 will be getting updates, but I fully expect to see a 4.2 GHz base clock FX-8300 series processor down the line.  As long as AMD is able to hang on and be a viable choice in the CPU market, then we as consumers will continue to be better served by both AMD and Intel.  If AMD were to falter and vanish, then we would be stuck with a monopoly on the desktop PC side.  At least in mobile we have some very aggressive ARM based products out there, but the desktop and server world will be poorly served by only one manufacturer.

October 22, 2012 | 10:24 PM - Posted by Humanitarian

" While Zambezi was not exactly stillborn, it was more than a tad under-cooked" Haha, oh Josh, I love your analogies.

Overall it was as expected, which is a shame because I never expected much from this. I don't think it's a big enough improvement for me to switch up from my zambezi but may pull some new people in with that price point.. Afterall, it's what AMD need if they want to have a financially viable business.

October 22, 2012 | 09:43 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"Copious amounts of dust helps to simulate real world conditions."

LOL Josh is the best hardware reviewest on the interwebz.

October 22, 2012 | 09:53 PM - Posted by niteowler

No Cinebench R11.59 single core results? Move my 1100T up to 4 ghz just like the FX-8350 and it beats it in most situations easily. It's been two years and AMD can't even supply me with a worthy upgrade. Another year...... another dud.... sigh

October 22, 2012 | 09:57 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Move that 8350 up to 4.4 or 4.6 and then take another look.  Can't overclock one without the other.  Add in some NB/L3 overclocking and the processor really perks up.  Remember, these results were all stock clocks.

October 22, 2012 | 10:10 PM - Posted by niteowler

Their lack of performance gains is frustrating. Not trying to put a downer on your article but I've been AMD for a long time now and I'm tired of making excuses for them.... aren't you?

October 22, 2012 | 10:14 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

I think my conclusion holds up well.  This is essentially a part that should have been released last year.  Only now do they have a competent next gen part that competes with what Intel has at that price range.  I do miss the days of competition where AMD had the original K7 and K8.  So, they have a good part that has finally reached market and will attract some buyers.  It doesn't beat up the competition in any meaningful way, but it is a good step forward for the company.  Hopefully Steamroller continues this trend.

October 22, 2012 | 10:32 PM - Posted by niteowler

With the money trouble that their in, Piledriver is not going to be the shot in the arm that they need. AMD could go away by Steamroller's arrival.

October 22, 2012 | 10:57 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Well, their financial situation is much more stable now and they actually have some money in the bank.  They will get through Steamroller, but beyond that is a big crap shoot.  While their ex-CFO did leave them in good financial shape, we have to wonder how much he undermined the foundation of the company with his policies.

October 22, 2012 | 11:08 PM - Posted by niteowler

Not to argue your point but AMD just announced quarter 3 results of a $157 million loss and well as hundreds of layoffs for employees planned. I wouldn't exactly call anything about that as "stable".

October 22, 2012 | 11:32 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Well, they consolidated debt, built up cash reserves, and paid down a lot of stuff all the while renegotiating contracts to be less financially binding.  They are in a better overall shape now then they have in years, and while this past quarter was a big negative... they are still ahead of where they were 2 years ago by a long shot.

October 29, 2012 | 04:03 PM - Posted by carinca (not verified)

1100T's limit is 4Ghz
8350's limit is 4.9-5Ghz
Let's compare them now.
And a 1100T at 4Ghz doesn't win in all scenarios against a 8350 a 4Ghz.

October 23, 2012 | 07:24 AM - Posted by brisa117

That's some fast "DDR-2" on the test page : P

Must have cost you an arm and a leg.

October 23, 2012 | 07:56 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Haha, you should see the hammer I had to use to get those damn DDR-2 modules to fit into the motherboard I used!

Thanks for the head's up... fixed.

October 23, 2012 | 07:40 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Lets see how it does at 5GHZ and nice NB speed....

October 23, 2012 | 07:57 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

I'm requesting one of their LCS and will attempt to get there.

October 23, 2012 | 08:02 AM - Posted by Mr. Old School (not verified)

Perfect timing, i'm building a new rig and getting ready to purchase the mobo and CPU next month. I've been using AMD CPUs since 1994. I'll probably go with the 6300 and then upgrade further when they get around to releasing a new chipset, I also prefer sticking with the lower wattage parts.

October 23, 2012 | 11:03 AM - Posted by Nilbog

Great Article as always Josh!

Finally!
Its refreshing to see AMD with a competing part.
Unless i was reading wrong, it looks like they finally surpassed the X6. About damn time, way to go.
Geeze that i7 is freakin fast though.
Although it would be nice to see this vs an i5 to get a better idea of performance.
I am really happy for AMD.
Next CPU better have the 3.0s on the Mobo though. I want to see comparisons of Intels USB 3.0 and PCIE 3.0 vs AMDs

I am finally starting to understand where AMD is going with this architecture. I am really looking forward to seeing where they will go with this later on down the road.

October 23, 2012 | 11:38 AM - Posted by aparsh335i (not verified)

It's funny because i always want AMD to make some big comeback, we need to keep that competition stiff with Intel so they don't get lazy.

I was thinking in my head - this FX6300 is priced low and games fine, maybe i'll try it in my next build.

Then i remembered i5-2500k is only $159.99 @ microcenter....why the heck would i even use an FX6300? The i5-2500k will still be faster, overclock higher, and do all of this while using less power and putting out less heat.

Cmon AMD!!! Step it up!

October 29, 2012 | 04:07 PM - Posted by carinca (not verified)

the i5 2500k doesn't cost 159$
stop lying.

October 30, 2012 | 10:33 PM - Posted by mctigue1973 (not verified)

I'm going on my 8th gaming rig and I'm sticking with AMD. Intel cpu's dont't hold up as good is AMD. With out over clocking i had a FX 6200 walk all over a Intel I7 2700k. and then replaced it with my friends I7 3770k and no diffrents at all. same boards, same ram, same SSD size and brand. Even same MSI GTX 580 video card. So don't beleave every thing you read. Most people are not testing cpu's right OR they are being pay to talk down AMD. I have been working on computers long enuff to know whats up.

November 2, 2012 | 09:07 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

What a crock of shit! walk all over a 2700k! Blah Blah Blah.
there only just keeping up with the i5, are they not!. Would you be on you 8th gaming rig this year cos you keep blowing them up as you don`t have a clue what your doing?

January 23, 2013 | 06:48 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

FX 6300 "walk all over" a 2700k!!?? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA\\

KOoL sToRy BrO!!!!!

I especially like the part where you swapped out AMD processors and Intel Processors "Using all the same motherboard and Ram"....Which is impossible

Time to get real here

October 23, 2012 | 11:39 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Josh, did you bench at min rez for comparison? I would like to see it vs an i7 would be cool.

October 23, 2012 | 11:57 AM - Posted by Oskars (not verified)

Could there be multi gpu tests in a seperate review, with hd 7870 and 7970, maybe even 7770 series performance level cards? To see at what point FX Vishera crossfire or sli is adequate. Games with old and new engines could be differentiated...

October 23, 2012 | 06:50 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Might take a while to do it (to-do list is rather long these days), but I think this would be an interesting aspect to test.

October 23, 2012 | 01:05 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Let's see an Interlagos 16-core version of this part. AMD is behind at single-threaded performance so they should emphasize their strength which is multiprocessing.

Also let's see a dual-CPU capable version of Vishera, and some cheap desktop motherboards with dual sockets. Multi-threading is here to stay.

November 14, 2012 | 05:26 PM - Posted by Lou (not verified)

Cheap dual socket opteron boards are not available. Our best price for dual socket is about $500-$600. Single socket 16 core may be interesting in some tests though.

October 23, 2012 | 09:45 PM - Posted by Wolvenmoon (not verified)

How much is it going to cost me to stick 16 cores worth of piledriver on one motherboard?

October 24, 2012 | 02:16 PM - Posted by razor512

Please if possible do another round of benchmarking with the 8350 at 4.8GHz, and the 1100T at 4GHz

Almost every review I have seen so far, shows the 8350 hitting 4.8GHz before the heat overpowers what most heatsinks can handle.

The average overclock for the 1100T is 4GHz (though some users are able to hit 4.4GHz on liquid cooling)

anyway, most of the people who are reading this article are most likely overclocking their CPU. If I build my own system targeted at performance, I am going to overclock.

The newer FX chips run at a significantly higher clock speed and even at those high clock speeds, struggles to beat the 3.3GHz 1100t.

For the users overclocking their Phenom II x6's to 4GHz, how viable will the 8350 be when overclocked to 4.8GHz as compared to the 1100t?

Remember, the Phenom II has a higher IPC so a 700MHz overclock will do a lot more for it than an extra 800MHz will do for the 8350.

October 29, 2012 | 04:10 PM - Posted by carinca (not verified)

The 8350 beats the 1100T in every scenario just fine and the difference is more than obvious.
The 8350 is AMD's fastest cpu in everything by a good margin.

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