Advanced Micro Devices is flexing its muscles a bit with the release of the industry's first commercial 5GHz CPU, unveiling the eight-core FX-9590.
AMD, which sees the gaming industry as a growth opportunity, rolled out the FX-9590 and FX-9370—at 4.7GHz—June 11 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles. The two new CPUs are based on AMD's "Piledriver" architecture, which came out last year and offers significant improvements over the previous "Bulldozer" core in several areas, including energy efficiency.
The chip maker already has had some significant wins in the gaming industry in recent months, including a deal to supply chips for Microsoft's new Xbox One gaming and entertainment console that could be worth as much as $3 billion to AMD. AMD officials see the industry as a key part of their plans to expand the company's reach and reduce its reliance on the contracting global PC market.
The FX-9000 Series CPUs—particularly the FX-9590—are an example of that effort, according to Bernd Lienhard, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD's Client Products Division.
"At E3 this week, AMD demonstrated why it is at the core of gaming," Lienhard said in a statement. "The new FX 5 GHz processor is an emphatic performance statement to the most demanding gamers seeking ultra-high resolution experiences, including AMD Eyefinity technology. This is another proud innovation for AMD in delivering the world's first commercially available 5 GHz processor."
AMD, Intel and other chip makers over the past several years have moved away from chip speed as a key metric for processors, focusing more on such features as core count and energy efficiency. However, in the lucrative gaming industry, chip speed is important.
Both of the new CPUs are part of AMD's FX portfolio of chips. Each comes with eight Piledriver cores, are unlocked for easy overclocking and feature AMD's Turbo Core 3.0 technology, which enables maximum computing capabilities for compute-intensive workloads by dynamically optimizing the performance across the CPU cores.
The new CPUs will be available this summer, according to AMD.
AMD—along with other tech vendors like Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Dell—has been hurt by the slowdown in PC sales worldwide, as business users and consumers spend more of their money on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Under CEO Rory Read, AMD is making significant changes in its business, from adopting ARM's chip designs for low-power, dense microservers to possibly building chips to run Android and Chrome systems.
Officials also have targeted several growth areas, including dense servers for such environments as cloud computing, ultraportable compute devices, its new semi-custom chip business and the embedded space, for such applications as gaming, industrial and communications.
At the Game Developers Conference in March, AMD officials unveiled their Unified Gaming Strategy, an initiative to become a tech leader in the industry by driving gaming across a range of devices and environments, from consoles, tablets and PCs to the cloud.
"Real-time gaming through the cloud represents a significant opportunity and AMD is poised to lead in this vertical thanks to our extensive graphics hardware and software capabilities," David Cummings, senior director of professional graphics at AMD, said in a statement at the time.
The deal with Microsoft to supply chips to the Xbox One console was a win for AMD's semi-custom chip business and aspirations in the gaming industry. The announcement in May came a month after Sony officials said they will use AMD chips in their upcoming PlayStation 4 gaming console, and several months after Nintendo said the company will use AMD chips in its Wii U gaming device.