Kaveri, Steamroller and stuff

So I need to upgrade at some point and I was planning on grabbing a 4670K and a Z87 motherboard because while it's a bit steep in terms of price up front, that'd last me quite a few years esp thanks to its overclockability. But it's looking like money will be a bit tight for awhile so I've got a few things I need to know.


I've heard that the FX CPUs are completely done and AMD is only doing APUs, GPUs and server CPUs from here on out. Is this true? That's a damn shame because an eight-core on Steamroller would kick tail if the architecture is as much of an advancement as they predict. Hell, even a six-core on Steamroller would probably have better multi-threaded performance than an i5.

But I guess not ALL is lost if they don't... I've also heard rumours that Kaveri quad-core APUs will be comparable to Sandy Bridge i5 CPUs (probably not quite as much overclock headroom as sandy though lol)... that would work out well for me because that'd still be around a 100% improvement + the ability to overclock vs this old Q6600 CPU and APUs are relatively inexpensive, especially the motherboards (A88X motherboard is like $70). I guess we won't know for sure until reviewers get their hands on them in Jan/Feb but how likely is there to be much merit to these claims?

its kind of a weird situation as they say they are only doing quad cores but there were some chips sent out to Asian OC-ers that were 6 core FM2, not FM2+. but they were kinda of poor performing and has alot of stability issues from what i read.

The console is dead....


Based on what I've read, Kaveri is expected to have about a 30% jump in IPC because they're splitting out the decoders instead of sharing them. That might indeed put the high-power Kaveri chips very close to Sandy Bridge 4-cores, which tend to be about 40% faster per core than present AMD chips.  Kaveri will also have an increase in GPU capability over A10, and it will include memory coherency between CPU and GPU, reducing copying.

Which of your PC's tasks do you want to speed up?


its kind of a weird situation as they say they are only doing quad cores but there were some chips sent out to Asian OC-ers that were 6 core FM2, not FM2+. but they were kinda of poor performing and has alot of stability issues from what i read.

Yeah.. I just find it odd that they would stop selling desktop enthusiast CPUs when they can offer insane multi-threaded performance... with a improved architecture like Steamroller those would destroy. I guess they're just sick of having to get by on very small profit margins and in the APU market they don't really have anything to compete with. But damn I'd love to see an FX-6500 :P

The console is dead....

I don't really care about the GPU portion for my own personal use, I have a GTX 560 that I still haven't seen work at full potential since the Q6600 bottlenecks it lol. I had just heard that the Kaveri APUs CPU portion would perform comparably to something like a 2500K. If not I guess I'll just grab a 970 mobo and 6300 or 8320 or something, depending how the budget looks. Just a shame because that means I can't go mATX since the mATX AM3+ mobos seem really iffy

When it comes to gaming, AMD FX-series chips are fine. I have an FX-8150 (which you can still find for $160 here and there, or $200 including a liquid cooler). I pair it with an EVGA 660ti and it rocks. I max out older games or basic new games and play games like Crysis 3 at respectable levels. 

With an 8350 and a GTX 770 or 7970,  you can pretty much max out anything. You will also be able to to quite a bit of advanced work using SQL & Visual Studio. The only place where having an i5 or i7 comes in handy is with programs that require single-core performance or hard-core graphics programs. 

If you have a regular job (I am a programmer/analyst) or you just game, then FX CPUs are great. If you only game at 720p (like most cheap HD TVs), then an APU such as the A8 is more than enough. An 8-core with a deent small card (7750, or the 6770 that I saw at BestBuy for $80) will play any and all games.  For gaming you need to have multiple 780's or 7970s to get to a place where a CPU matters.

Less than one percent of power users need the extra juice Intel has to offer. Most people are just wasting their money. I have an i7 at work, and there is no difference between it and my home computer, and I do some pretty hard-core quant stuff in finance. \the only reason why guys like Logan need socket 2011 chips is becasue they are doing graphics work that really punishes hardware. If you are just building models in SAS/SPSS/R or writing SQL queries (or excel-based DCF and Monte Carlo sim's), an AMD FX-8320 or 8350 will be more than enough. For gaming,  both chips are more than capable unless you are getting a couple of GTX 690s to run 4k graphics.

I should have mentioned I'm just gaming at 1080P. I already have a GTX 560 which will make do. I imagine it can play Battlefield 3 at high-ultra, but my Q6600 has bottlenecked it and i saw identical framerates (45-55) on low settings 800x600 as medium-high at 1920x1080.

I know I wouldn't see any noteworthy difference /now/ for the Intel chip outside of WoW which I'm kind of falling out of. My thoughts were just that the 4670K would have about the same multi-threaded performance as an 8320, and lower power consumption, and probably more overclocking headroom.. so it seemed like the type of choice that'd be good for long-term since I don't want to be upgrading my CPU/motherboard every 2 years.

But I'm considering AMD because obviously the prices are much better... and I was wondering about the APUs because they're usually very cheap, so if Kaveri quads were about as good as SB i5s I'd just grab the FM2+ socket so I could make a mATX build. But it looks like my best option budget-wise (unless something is announced in the near future about Steamroller enthusiast chips) is an FX 8320 and 970 mobo. Maybe I'll shell out a bit extra for a 990 so I can OC further but I don't want the power consumption to be much higher. Another thing is I imagine a Steamroller CPU would have better power efficiency and get much better performance/watt than one of the current piledriver CPUs.

So it looks like I'll either be getting the 8320 & 970/990 if it turns out there aren't any six or eight-core Steamroller CPUs being released. If a Steamroller-based Athlon is released by the time I upgrade and it does in fact have about the performance of SB i5, I'll probably get that so I can go mATX and save a swamp of money since Athlons and FM2+ motherboards are really cheap.

Me too, I want to upgrade but I cant justify spending so much (double) on a marginally faster Intel CPU (4770K), I know AMD has been tightly squeezed recently financially speaking so they have had to really prioritize their resources on what they think will make them the most money and on pushing their long term plans (which means HSA, low-power [mobile] parts, desktop/server apus) but I would really have liked to have seen a steamroller replacement for the FX8350 with their promised 30%+ IPC at same frequencies.

I think AMD is onto a real winner with their APUs and their graphics solutions in general now. Can't wait for some OCd Kaveri Mantle benchmarks of BF4. However I am thinking no announced FX refresh might mean the end of the AM3+ socket given the emergence of DDR4.

I'd heard that in Steamroller each core gets its own decoder rather than sharing them, so rather than having the module setup that we know now (where an 8 core is more comparable to a quad core with HT) it would be true eight cores... maybe they're going to do a surprise Phenom III X4, X6, X8 lineup to accommodate DDR4 and new steamroller desktop CPUs... ahhh probably just wishful thinking

Don't overlook the FX-83XX CPU's just yet. They seem to be performing better with age. What's happening is the devs of new games are starting to tap into the potential of optimizing for 4+ cores. Some games like BF4 are able to use up to 8 cores and thus we've seem some benchmarks showing better performance with the FX-8350's over i5's.

That trend is going to continue, so if you go with an FX-8350, it will probably stay relevant for just as long or longer than current gen i5's will. Just food for thought.

With Kaveri APU's I'm more intrigued with the implementation of Mantle and how we'll be able to use the iGPU, not paired with a discreet GPU but in conjunction with a discreet GPU in sharing certain tasks. That will be very interesting to see...

Yeah, most of the rumors and speculations on some of the other forums is that there is no steamroller cpu coming to the AM3+ socket, there may be a updated piledriver released, like trinity/richland for the apu.

I think that we won't see steamroller cpus/apus with more than 4 cores until the end of 2014 and it will either be on a new socket with DDR4 support, or the will unify the apu socket, maybe FM3, so that it can support high end cpus.


I know - i just think an i5 would last me longer comfortably, since they typically have more overclocking headroom (3.4GHz - 4.4GHz is 30%, 4GHz to 4.7GHz is only 17.5%) and the power consumption of the i5 while overclocked would be lower than the 8350 at stock lol. Assuming all cores are utilized, the FX 8350 only slightly edges out the 4670K in multi-threaded performance, so even if game devs can take advantage of all 8 cores it will only run marginally better than on the 4670K. But then it would cost me $150 more just to go the route of an i5.

FX 8320 - $180 after tax, 970 motherboard - $80 after tax

4670K - $270 after tax, Z87 motherboard - ~$140 after tax

I don't think the electric bill would equate to that unless I had it running under heavy load 24/7 lol. I'll probably end up going that route. Then I have more money leftover for games and/or rent/food. :D

Except the FX83xx is alot faster (provided all cores are utilized) than the 4670k which already turbos too 3.8GHz (which is only a 15.7% increase to 4.4Ghz compared to 12% for your 83xx target, however it starts of with like 8/10ths the performance of 8350). I don't think there will be another socketlaunch soon because that would result in less sales by increasing the costs of upgrading when compared to just using the existing socket, so it makes more sense to just launch a steamroller equivelant to the current FX parts. Especially when considering that DDR4 is not really ready yet and we won't see any intel DDR4 compatible consumer parts untill Haswell-E late next year, and skylake(?) the year after.

What I am excited for with DDR4 is larger memory capacities, 32GB modules already exist and there is talk of going upto 128GB (obviously that is a bit in the future though), there was even an expectation of a 12core haswell-e for a while too. Its a shame, an FX9370 (4.4ghz, 4.7ghz boost) could have been up there with a 4930k in raw power with a 30% IPC increase, then intel would be forced to drop more cores into the consumer line to compete given that they can't really raise clocks because of cooling issues from numerous causes.

I feel they really should have pushed for and tried to maintain a Socket AM3+ steamroller release in Q1 (or possibly Q3 13), I know it might have pushed their already stretched finances alot, but a PhenomIII comparable to an 4930k would have sold like hotcakes, and combined with the R9-290 (which they didn't need to mess up with their stock coolers) would have really provided much needed brand perception(people buy intel because intel.).

Because I did a small form factor m-ITX build for my gaming rig, I had no choice but to go with Intel because nobody makes AM3+ m-ITX motherboards. I could have gone FM2/+ but currently the best FM2 CPU on the market is the Athon X4 760K (which is the Richland A10-6800k APU with the iGPU disabled) . While it is a decent CPU that provides excellent performance per dollar and responds really well to overclocking, when it comes to the most demanding games, it falls short. I wanted something that would last me a couple years yet and be able to handle more demanding stuff. Hence, I went with an i5. 

Don't get me wrong, I love the i5. It takes anything I throw at it and it's the 4570, so not even the top of the line part. But my point is, for that level of performance in SFF, no equivalent AMD options even exist. 

Now, when Kaveri is released and Mantle is being implemented in future games, that could be a serious game changer (pun intended). If the 4-core APU's start competing with the i5's more closely, just from the CPU stand point, and the fact that Mantle may allow the the iGPU to assist discreet GPU's for even more performance, that would be huge. That would be something Intel can't do. 

Right now is a tricky time to be upgrading as there are some very interesting changes on the horizon for AMD. I don't think it would be a mistake to go either route as the current Intel Haswell CPU's are still very strong and will continue to be for some time yet. But I also see the FX-8 core CPU's having long lives as well. 

You really can't go wrong either way at this point. 

I dont get why people hate on amd. I can buy an 8350 for 200$ right now and it would do do pretty much the same as an i5 which is in the 8350s price range. It's a good cpu for the price it comes at. A 780 is 500$ and a 290 is 400. People say the 290 sounds like a jet. Stick it in the define r4 you're already putting it in. Why do people hate on good quality products from a good company at an affordable price. 

eliteism mostly, also people that don't want to accept that my $150 part can beat their $230 part, don't want to accept that nvidia is the fist one to rip them off untill amd releases something that will directly compeate and they have to lower prices to what they're actually worth

Not sure if this has been posted yet:

So no 6 or 8-core steamroller cpus/apus until at least the end of 2014. I would guess they must be planning some type of update for the piledriver cpus though. AM3+ is good for another year.

I think I'll get the 8320. Where I live it's like $40 more expensive for the 8350, I'd rather just OC the 8320 a bit when needed to catch up. I heard people getting 8320s to 4.5GHz all the time but hear people struggling to 8350s past 4.7GHz so I don't think the difference is anything substantial in terms of the clock speed ceiling.

Shame there's no update to the desktop CPUs aside from 220W monsters lol. I think even if I OCd a 8350 to 5GHz it still wouldn't draw 220W XD