AMD has come a long way from the days of being a licensed producer of Intel processors. Does the new Vishera range of processors herald a new era for the beleaguered manufacturer, or is it a last ditch attempt at clinching the lead in the desktop processor arena?
I remember the first time I held a 1GHz processor in my hand. It was the year 2000 and I felt that the future has finally arrived. AMD and Intel were locked in a battle to be the first to ship production spec processors that reached the magical 1GHz mark, and AMD beat Intel to the post with a few days to spare, SRAM cache limitations be damned.
Over the years various performance bottlenecks have been dealt with, and healthy competition has ensured a steady supply of faster processors to satisfy our gaming needs. Arguably Intel has held a slight lead in the gaming CPU area in recent years, and the impact has been felt in the market.
AMD aims to reclaim the performance crown with the Vishera series of processors.
We were given the top of the range FX-8350 processor to review, and we put it through a range of 3DMark and PCmark tests.
On paper the FX-8350 is impressive. It boasts 8 cores running at a base clock speed of 4GHz, with a Turbo boost up to 4.2GHz, and 16MB total cache. All of this at a very competitive Suggested System Builder Price of R2,599.00 to boot.
In order to get the best out of the new processor we needed a rig worthy of the performance promise, and the folks at Evetech provided us with a pre-built gaming rig.
- AMD FX 8350 (4.0GHz, 16M Cache, 8x Cores, 4.2GHz Turbo) Eight Core CPU
- MSI 970A-G46 970GX AM3+ SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 SLI/XFire ATX AMD Motherboard
- MSI Twin Frozr Radeon HD 7950 3GB 384bit Overclocked Edition DDR5 DX11 Graphics Card
- NZXT Tempest 410 Elite Pro Case
- Corsair Gaming Series GS800 800W 80+ High Performance Power Supply
- Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1866MHz High Performance Gaming RAM
- OCZ Agility 3 120GB SSD
- 24X Dual Layer DVD Writer
First off we ran the 3DMARK11 benchmark set to “extreme” to push the rig to its maximum, and as expected it performed well. The Evetech machine returned a very good score of X2509, with the CPU intensive Physics score being 6860.
Next up we ran the PCMARK7 benchmark suite, and again the results were good.
The Computation Score reflects the performance of mostly the CPU and the GPU. It is calculated from the performance in the areas of Data Decryption, Video Playback, Video Transcoding and Image Manipulation.
Since our tests for this review were aimed at focusing on the FX 8350 Processor these test scores were important as a reflection of the performance of the flagship processor in the Vishera range.
Since the MSI Motherboard that we used in the Evetech rig did not have on-board graphics we had to be content with the Radeon HD 7950 skewing the results somewhat.
The PCMARK7 Scores
- Data Decryption (Bits Per Second): 139024461
- Video Playback and Transcoding (Frames Per Second): 23.04
- High Quality Video Transcoding (Bits Per Second): 139024461.39
- Image Manipulation (Pixels Per Second): 9550943.03
The solid performance of the FX 8350 led to an overall PCMARK Computation score of 5480, and a CPU heavy Creativity benchmark score of 5394.
Taking all the other hardware into account, the overall PCMARK score was 4483. Since the Evetech PC is unashamedly marketed as a Gaming Rig, and we were interested in the CPU performance, we did not run the Lightweight, Productivity, or Entertainment Benchmarks.
How does this transform into real world performance value?
Given AMD’s history of offering high performance hardware at very competitive pricing, the new Vishera range of processors offer a very real alternative to the latest offerings from Intel. It is entirely possible to build a very capable gaming rig for under R10,000.00 using AMD Architecture.
For more information on the Vishera range of processors, below is a list of the processors in the range and their related specifications, along with Suggested System Builder Price.