AMD continuously makes the future look better. Their GPU architecture is taking a turn towards power efficiency, their APUs keep pulling out impressive performance for modern games, and HSA still looks like it has a ton of potential for the future of computing. The problem is when the future becomes today, the excitement can turn to disappointment. I’m at a point of no return with the expectations I have for AMD. So far, with the release of new FX series mobile APUs and an interesting new 990FX motherboard, I’m hoping for the possible release of a new AM3+ CPU.
At this point, if AMD doesn't deliver some high end by 2016, there is going to be disappointment. On the other hand, I think some good things are going to happen very soon. First, let’s look at the new release of an FX series APU. AMD hasn't released these for full review yet, but quite few people got their hands on a few hour preview. Considering that these were being compared to i7s, in most cases the results were impressive. These APUs aren't blowing away any performance numbers, but let’s take in all considerations. First off, the FX-7600P is only a 35w chip, but the single thread performance is almost to the level of the the previous A10-5800k. That may not sound all that impressive, but the A10 is a massive 100w chip, and has a 4.2Ghz turbo compared to the measly 3.6Ghz turbo of the FX chip! Also, the graphics performance is the best yet with this APU being able to handle every game at 1080p with playable frame rates. This is something the Intel i7s can’t even do. If AMD managed to squeeze this much performance out of low clock speeds and power efficiency, it’s possible that a developed desktop chip could actually start closing the gap on Intel’s performance.
Now a while back, AMD announced that they weren't giving up on the high end segment and that a complete overhaul of the architecture would be coming out. The problem is, it isn’t due out till possibly 2016. That’s a long time to wait but then Sapphire starts showing off a new motherboard that has a custom built block designed to cool the entire board with liquid cooling. The only reason for this would be for some heavy duty overclocks, but the question comes up, “Why now?” The 990fx chipset has been around forever and while the FX series has made some overclocking records, isn’t it a little late to be trying to jump into the game? On the other hand, what if AMD let some manufactures know that they plan on releasing some FX refresh chips on the AM3+ to help enthusiasts hold out until the 2016 release of their new architecture and what if that release was around the holidays this year? This pure speculation and outside of the reasoning, I haven’t seen any leaks that indicate this is actually happening, but one can always hope.
AMD may have some catching up to do but I feel like they are headed in the right direction. As an FX-8350 user, I really enjoy my chip but I would love to see AMD close that gap with Intel while still giving enthusiasts major overclocking potential. While everything written is pure speculation and could be far from the truth, if AMD starts announcing some new high end chips soon I just want to say, “First!”
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