AMD Heading In the Right Direction, FX-8370E and Radeon R9 285
AMD doesn’t know how to do teasers right. They make a huge campaign to get people hyped up about an APU that isn’t even a flagship part, but when they release a new flagship FX CPU as well as new GPU architecture, they simply announce a straightforward live event. That’s alright because on the bright side, it looks like AMD is heading in the right direction when competing with Blue and Green. It’s time to get hyped up with the upcoming releases of the FX-8370E and the Radeon R9 285 featuring better power efficiency with better performance.
Many of us have been biting our nails in anticipation for AMD to get back in the game with high end FX CPUs. Whether you’re an AMD fan, or just wanting Intel to be challenged to do greater things, the announcement of the FX-8370E is great news. While it’s possible the entire FX line will be getting refreshes over the next year or two, the 8 core chips are the only ones getting the attention for now. The FX-8300 and 8370 are pretty straightforward. There’s some adjustments to frequencies but both are rated at the usual 125w TDP. What is interesting is the new FX “E” chips. The FX-8320E will have the same 3.5 GHz base with a 4.0 GHz turbo, the FX-8370E will slightly boost clock speeds to 4.1 GHz with a 4.3 GHz turbo, but what’s impressive is that they managed to do this at a 95W TDP for both SKUs! Not to mention, the L2/L3 Caches stayed the same while using Piledriver architecture. Exactly how the engineers managed to accomplish this is uncertain, but the potential with these new designs leads to some exciting possibilities for overclocking. Also, this is a great sign towards AMD becoming legitimately competitive with Intel in the power consumption arena. AMD didn’t stop at the CPU designs though.
This Saturday will be AMD’s major “30 Years of Gaming” event in which they will introduce their new Tonga based GPUs. They’ve been on a roll for a while now but when it comes to power efficiency AMD has left a little to be desired. Starting with the R9 285 Tonga Pro, that all begins to change. It’s set to release on September 2nd with the R9 285X slated to release shortly after. If you hadn’t guessed, the name scheme sets them up to be direct replacements for the 280 and 280x, but the power comparisons are looking very impressive. Compared to their predecessors having 250w power ratings each, the new cards are sitting at just under 150w and 200w respectively. That’s an impressive power drop considering both variants are supposed to move up the performance bar as well. Just how impressive the Tonga GPU is will depend on reviews, but even if there’s only slight performance improvements, the wattage drops are already looking very promising.
It’s nice to see that AMD can design power efficient chips with some pretty dramatic drops. On the CPU side we saw a 30w drop in power and on the GPU side we got to see at least a 50-100w drop depending on which variant you’re looking at. These are pretty huge jumps and AMD is just beginning. While they may have some catching up to do in performance, seeing them make this huge of an improvement is a good sign that by the year 2016 the competition could be very tight again. Consumers will win by not only having better options at different budgets, but technology as a whole will win with everyone fighting harder to make advances. Now if AMD can just learn to tease these announcements instead of second-tier APUs, this writer would be extremely happy!