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AMD launches eight-core Piledriver Vishera FX processors

Wants to bulldoze memories of Zambezi
Tue Oct 23 2012, 05:00
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CHIP DESIGNER AMD has released its Piledriver desktop processors codenamed Vishera.

AMD showed off Vishera at IDF last month where The INQUIRER snapped a photo of an overclocked chip running at 5GHz. Now the company has taken the wraps off its eight-core Vishera chip, a processor that it hopes will finally bury memories of its disappointing Bulldozer Zambezi chip.

AMD's Vishera processors will continue to use Socket AM3+, meaning it is a drop-in upgrade for those customers lumbered with Zambezi processors.

The firm announcing four models all branded with the FX moniker. The low-end Vishera chip is the quad-core FX-4300 clocked at 3.8GHz boosted up to 4.0GHz, with 4MB of Level 3 cache.

The firm has kept feature parity throughout its Vishera FX range aside from core count and total Level 3 cache. Therefore AMD's six-core FX-6300 still sports the same 1MB of Level 2 cache per core but has a total Level 3 cache of 8MB and is clocked at 3.5GHz that can be boosted up to 4.1GHz.

AMD's top two Vishera parts, the FX-8320 and FX-8350 sport eight cores and have 8MB of Level 3 cache. The difference between the two chips is their clock frequencies, with the FX-8320 running at 3.5GHz and boosted to 4.0GHz while the FX-8350 is clocked at 4.0GHz and is boosted to 4.2GHz.

The firm's decision to clock its FX-8320 and FX-8350 so closely is largely academic, as all Vishera chips feature an unlocked multiplier. AMD even plays up the overclockability of Vishera and touts 5GHz as being reachable with water cooling. Insiders have even said it can reach 5GHz with strong air cooling.

As for AMD's Piledriver architecture, the firm claims it offers improved branch prediction and improvements to Level 2 cache efficiency and scheduling. Overall the company is sticking to its longstanding line that Vishera is a 15 percent performance increase over Bulldozer, and while that might well be true, Bulldozer was so far behind its competition in single-threaded performance that a 15 percent gain is needed simply to achieve parity, let alone a lead.

Nevertheless, AMD's decision to stick with Socket AM3+ means that Vishera will be a simple drop-in replacement for three year old chips, and for some users having eight cores for the price of an Intel Core I5 chip without having to change motherboards could be a tempting proposition. µ


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