Advanced Micro Devices is making its latest push against Intel for the gamer and PC enthusiast customer segment, releasing the latest of its FX series of desktop processors that offer as many as eight cores, more speed than previous versions and the company's new Piledriver architecture.
AMD on Oct. 23 unveiled the first four "Vishera" chips, which range from the four-core FX-4300 to the eight-core FX-8320 and FX-8350. Also included is the FX-6300, a six-core processor. Company officials said the Piledriver architecture will offer users up to a 15 percent increase in performance, and that the power boost will come at a lower price than that of comparable Intel processors. Pricing for the chips ranges from $122 for the FX-4300 to $195 for the FX-8350.
AMD officials said the FX-8350 costs about $40 less than Intel's Core i5-3570K; the price of the FX-4300 is about the same as that of the Core i3-2120.
All the chips are unlocked, enabling users to over-clock them to get higher speeds out of all those cores. The chips range in speed from 4.0GHz to 4.2GHz, but the higher-end chips reportedly could be over-clocked to hit speeds of as much as 5GHz.
"Gamers and PC enthusiasts who buy AMD FX processors have even more to cheer about with the increased speeds and value we are delivering starting today," Leslie Sobon, vice president of desktop and component products at AMD, said in a statement. "After introducing the industry's first and only eight-core desktop processor last year, we now have even faster stock frequencies and an all-new, high-performance x86 core architecture to satisfy power users."
The new chips come at a time when PC sales are struggling, thanks to the uncertain global economy, the rise of tablets and smartphones, and the anticipated release of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system. Desktop PCs in particular are feeling the pinch, continuing to lose ground to notebooks in the PC space. Analysts with IDC and Gartner said that PC sales in the third quarter fell between 8 and 9 percent from the same period in 2011.
However, there are still people who want their desktops, according to Sobon.
"You remember desktops, right? Those things that were supposed to die with notebooks and will most certainly die with tablets?" she asked in an Oct. 22 post on AMD's game blog. "Wrong. Never underestimate the power of a vocal, loyal, educated group of enthusiasts. Whatever the industry, they are highly influential. And they deserve to be."
The new Vishera chips are aimed at those enthusiasts.
"As we seem to move ever more toward a 'my device is cooler looking than yours' world, maybe it's easy to forget what isn't the 'shiny object' anymore," Sobon wrote. "The ubiquitous desktop tower of the '90s. But to a PC Enthusiast—and there are tens of millions of them—within that tower lies a customized, personalized vessel for tweaking, tuning and over-clocking through the formula of your choice: air, water, nitrogen, helium. The passion of the PC Enthusiast is singular in this industry. Yes, there are the Apple and Google fanatics. But nothing compares to the individuals who 'Build Their Own.'"