AMD Vishera (Piledriver-based) Desktop CPU Pricing Leaked By Retailer

Subject: Processors | September 29, 2012 - 10:46 PM |
Tagged: vishera, piledriver, amd, am3+

Trinity APUs are not the only Piledriver-based processors that AMD will be releasing this year. Trinity is coming next month, but later this year AMD should be putting out Vishera processors based on Piledriver CPUs cores – and without integrated GPUs. And now, thanks to a retailer leaking details on its website, we now know some basic specifications – and more importantly – pricing.

For the uninitiated, Vishera is AMD’s next generation processor. It will use the existing AM3+ socket, and is built on a 32nm HKMG manufacturing process. Further, the CPUs are based on the Piledriver architecture which features a number of efficiency improvements over Bulldozer.  Thanks to the architecture tweaks, and Cyclos Semiconductor’s resonant clock mesh technology that reduces the amount of power needed to keep the clock frequency synced across the entire chip. The architecture tweaks result in improved instructions per clock (IPC), improved floating point performance, leakage reduction, AMD Turbo Core 3, and new FMA3, AVX, AVS1.1, AES, and F16C instructions among other improvements.

For more information on the Piledriver architecture, and where AMD is taking it with Vishera, read the “AMD: Vishera and Beyond” editorial we recently posted. Also relevant is our mobile Trinity (A10-4600M) review which gives some small hints at the kind of CPU improvements we can expect with desktop Piledriver CPU cores versus the previous generation.

According to eTeknix, the recently leaked information from Bottom Line Telecomunications includes clock speed, core count, amount of cache, TDP and pricing for four of AMD's upcoming FX series Vishera processors: the FX 4300, FX 6300, FX 8320, and FX 8350. The FX 4300 is a quad core processor clocked at 3.8GHz with 8MB of cache and a 95W TDP (thermal design power). It was priced at $131.62 on the company's website. The FX 6300 CPU brings the core count up to six, and increases the cache to 14MB. It keeps the same 95W TDP as the FX 4300 but is clocked at 3.5GHz and costs $175.77.

The FX 8320 and FX 8350 are both eight core processors and have a 125W TDP. The FX 8320 is a $242.05 part with 16MB cache and comes clocked at 3.5GHz. The FX 8350 keeps the same 16MB cache but is clocked at 4GHz and, as a result, costs more at $253.06.

The FX 8320 in particular appears to be a neat processor, and will likely be the more popular of the two FX 8000 series as enthusiasts will overclock it match (or exceed) the FX 8350 while paying the cheaper price (since the only thing you are really giving up with the lower-end part is clockspeed, and not cache)!

It will be interesting to see if the Piledriver-based chips are worth the price though, since we have yet to see independant CPU performance benchmarks for either Vishera or Trinity. The following table is the leaked information from shopBLT mentioned above in table form.

shopBLT Item # Manufacturer Part # Description Price
BPW4489 FD4300WMHKBOX FX 4300 QC CPU AM3+ 8MB 95W 3.8GHz Box $131.62
BPW4488 FD6300WMHKBOX FX 6300 6C CPU AM3+ 14MB 95W 3.5GHz Box $175.77
BPW4487 FD8320FRHKBOX FX 8320 8C CPU AM3+ 16MB 125W 3.5GHz box $242.05
BPW4486 FD8350FRHKBOX FX 8350 8C CPU AM3+ 16MB 125W 4GHz Box $253.06

Speaking of pricing, AMD will not only be competing with Intel's Sandy Bridge processors, but its latest Ivy Bridge chips as well, so pricing will be key to AMD selling its CPUs. In the following chart, we compared AMD's upcoming Vishera processors (based on the leaked information above) to Intel's latest Ivy Bridge parts. Because we do not know what the performancer of Piledriver will be, we matched up the Bulldozer CPUs to the Intel competition based on pricing. Essentially, we attempted to find the the Ivy Bridge CPU with the closest price tag to the Vishera processors' price. Intel's 22nm process has definitely given the company a leg up on TDPs, but you do get as many as twice the cores (and cache) with AMD for the price. The FX 8350 is an odd part in that it does not have a good Ivy Bridge equivalent, because there is no approximately $250 Ivy Bridge CPU. The next-closest CPU is the Core i7-3770 at just-over $300. Note that it may end up being that a lower priced chip will actually perform equivalently (or outperform) to the FX 8350 – we just do not know at this point and the only basis for matching these up for sake of comparison is price right now.

  AMD       Intel      
Processor Model FX 4300 FX 6300 FX 8320 FX 8350 Core i3 3220 Core i5 3550P Core i5-3570K Core i7 3770
No. of cores (HT) 4 6 8 8 2 (4) 4 4 4 (8)
Cache 8MB 14MB 16MB 16MB 3MB 6MB 6MB 8MB
Clockspeed (turbo) 3.8GHz 3.5GHz 3.5GHz 4GHz 3.3GHz 3.1GHz (3.5) 3.4GHz (3.8) 3.4GHz (3.9)
pGPU n/a n/a n/a n/a HD2500 n/a HD4000 HD4000
TDP 95W 95W 125W 125W 55W 77W 77W 77W
Price $131.62 $175.77 $242.05 $253.06 $129.99 $189.99 $229.99 $309.99

The Intel processors were chosen base on pricing and not performance per-se. Note that the i5-3550P does not include integrated graphics.

Another interesting match up is the comparison between AMD's next generation Vishera processors and its current generation Zambezi Bulldozer CPUs.

View Full Size

The FX 4300 cache number seems like the only oddity, but is based on leaked information above.

Assuming that the leaked pricing ends up being accurate, AMD has put itself in an odd position with Vishera. Across the board, the Piledriver-based chips are notably more expensive than the Bulldozer predecessors. The next generation chips are offering up higher clockspeeds – and in some cases – lower TDPs. On the other hand, they are coming in at a premium, and AMD is already facing stiff competition from Intel’s Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge processors.

AMD will really have to bring the promised performance improvements in order to move its Vishera chips at these prices. Performance is key, and unfortunately that's one aspect of Piledriver that we don't yet know beyond AMD's claims. Personally, I'm hopeful that they will deliver on the claimed efficiency tweaks and that Vishera will be a success. At the very least, it should offer a nice upgrade for owners of AM3+ motherboards.

After the Trinity launch, we should have more information on the the level of CPU performance we can expect from Piledriver. Keep an eye on PC Perspective for more information on Vishera and the Piledriver architecture in general as it comes in!

Read more about AMD's Piledriver microarchitecture.

Source: eTeknix

October 1, 2012 | 04:06 AM - Posted by cosminmcm (not verified)

Piledriver doesn't have more cache than Bulldozer, only higher frequency. The difference is that for Bulldozer it only shows the L3, and for Piledriver it shows the whole L2+L3.

October 1, 2012 | 04:39 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

Hi cosminmcm, thank you for the catch! I've updated the article to reflect the correct figures for Bulldozer when taking into account the L2 cache. After digging a bit deeper into other leaks, you're right, I was only looking at L3 cache figures for BD, not realizing AMD is using L2+L3 to get to the simplified xMB "cache" spec (or at least the shopBLT retailer does :p). The FX 4100 and FX 4300 still do not match up, so perhaps that retailer just got the 8MB figure wrong as the rest of the chips do have the same amount of L2+L3 cache.

I'm sorry for the mixup :).

October 1, 2012 | 02:12 PM - Posted by dreamer77dd

Now is L2 cache faster then L3 cache?
Is it better to have L2 cache then L3 cache?
Is havign more L2 cache going to increase performance or would L3 cache be better fit?
i think it help readers to know but this all means.

October 2, 2012 | 02:30 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Generally speaking, no L2 cache is not faster than L3. The basics to understand with regards to the L1, L2, and L3 caches are that the smaller the number the closer that memory is to the CPU = faster (less latency). The other thing to note is that the further the caches get from the CPU (i.e. L2 and L3) the bigger they tend to grow.

There has been an ongoing debate as to the "perfect" cache sizes, but really it all depends on the architecture itself. That's why you'll see some newer generations with smaller L3 caches (or L2 if thats all they have) that will outperform older generations with larger caches.

L3 caches are more common now with multi-core processors because thats the biggest of them all and its kind of designated to be the "shared pool" memory between all the cores on a processor die. Unlike L1 and L2 caches which nowadays tend to be Core specific to each and every core.

Hope that clarifies things a little. The cache sizes aren't really the best way to gauge performance, although it really does all depend on the CPU's architecture itself to make that call as there is a such thing as too small (lose processing potential) and too big (longer latencies). Kinda like finding that right porridge :)

October 1, 2012 | 03:46 PM - Posted by boothman

Was really hoping for an 8-core 95w part. I read that might be the case, but the info was very preliminary. Still cant wait to see how it scales against Bulldozer!

October 2, 2012 | 02:33 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Seems like they might have sacrificed that for the ability to put an 8-core chip out there with that 10-15% performance gain they got from the tweaks, rather than make things more efficient like some of the other models. I'm sure the 32nm process isn't helping move things along either especially when slapping 6-8 cores on a die with a starting clock speed nearly 4Ghz.