According to an unnamed AMD source the company’s new FX-9590 and FX-9370 are clocked at 4.7GHz and 4.4GHz, respectively, and have a total power draw in the range of 220W. These might be the the ones to hold the fort until actual new FX silicon based on 28nm Steamroller cores.
When AMD announced the chips earlier this week at E3, the company highlighted that it was pushing the 5GHz barrier with these new chips but was coy on releasing the actual base clock speeds. While the company emphasized that coming close to the 5GHz barrier would come when the chip was in boost mode, it didn’t disclose the jump the chip would have to make in order to get there.
AMD’s source also disclosed that these chips would not be available through ordinary retail channels, but rather through “system integrators”. It’s not known what that means, but the likely reason for this is that these chips will require some monster cooling to function properly given a power draw that is nearly 125W higher than AMD’s current flagship chip.
Given the chip’s extreme cooling requirements, it is only likely to appear in the most expensive of gaming systems; the cooling rig alone would likely add hundreds to the MSRP of any system.
With these two chips it seems like AMD is trying to get the most mileage possible out of its 2013 core lineup. The two FX series chips will be powered by the Piledriver architecture (which once had the codename Vishera) and will utilize the AM3+ socket. According to a roadmap from AMD, Piledriver will be the core that lasts the company through 2013 on the performance level (with Steamroller and Jaguar following in their respective categories).
AMD pushing its Piledriver core to extreme levels like this makes for some exotic press, but the reality is these hyper-speedy chips will only see the light of day in a handful of systems. As 2014 will likely bring new cores, the cost-benefit argument for upgrading now won’t be there for most people. AMD knows this, and is simply trying to generate a PR coup in the high performance desktop sector for the sake of hype.
Stunts like this don’t have staying power, and reek of desperation on the part of a manufacturer. Most consumers will balk when they see the MSRP that these FX-9590 and FX-9370 systems have meaning market penetration will be small. The pro-AMD blogs will rave over the sheer clock speed they have, but the hype will fade.
These new chips are far from being benchmarked in real world scenarios. Can they compete against the best Haswell and Ivy Bridge chips Intel has on the market? Maybe. While AMD might be able to brag that it will have a 5GHz chip on the market, when it comes to real world performance this chip could burn out — figuratively and literally — and become another Bulldozer.