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FX-4170 Quad Core or Not?

I've read conflicting statements on various forums that the AMD FX-4170 is not a 'true' quad core. Can anyone here link me to a definitive answer to whether it is or not? I'm not having very good luck searching for an authoritative answer. Although, I did find this:
http://www.cpu-world.com/CPUs/Bulldozer/AMD-FX-Series%20FX-4170%20FD4170FRW4KGU.html

They state that it has 4 cores, 4 threads, and L1, L2, and L3 cache just like the Phenom II X4s. Why do some folks insist that it isn't a true quad core?
Tom's CPU hierarchy chart even places it at the top of the phenom II X4s in ranking.
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  1. Best answer
    The reason this it is claimed is due to the fact that AMD has chosen change the definition of what a "core" is.

    This article might explain it better than I could articulate it in my own words.
    http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/bulldozer_benchmarked_and_analyzed_amd_back_game
  2. In simple terms no its not a true quad it consists of bulldozer modules that share certain resources that would previously have not been shared.
  3. nekulturny said:
    The reason this it is claimed is due to the fact that AMD has chosen change the definition of what a "core" is.

    This article might explain it better than I could articulate it in my own words.
    http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/bulldozer_benchmarked_and_analyzed_amd_back_game

    Thanx. Good little article.
    So, instead of 4 cores, it has 2 duo cores? That seems like the same thing to me. (Being unlocked ain't bad either)
    I guess the other obvious question this newb would ask is... if that's so bad, why does Tom's CPU Gaming Hierarchy chart rank the 4170 above the 'true' quad core Phenom IIs?
  4. box o rocks said:
    if that's so bad, why does Tom's CPU Gaming Hierarchy chart rank the 4170 above the 'true' quad core Phenom IIs?


    Clock speed. But wr6133 answered it pretty well. The shared cache and resources of each BD module make it so that each core doesn't perform as well as a non-BD core would. Not the best design in the world.

    And it's only 2 integer cores and 1 FPU per module, so not the conventional definition of a quad core.
  5. DJDeCiBeL said:
    Clock speed. But wr6133 answered it pretty well. The shared cache and resources of each BD module make it so that each core doesn't perform as well as a non-BD core would. Not the best design in the world.

    OK. I'm beginning to understand. I just re-read the article, too. It's a quad core, albeit a crippled quad core.
    So, if I understand correctly (and if the chart is right)... the faster bad AMD proc is better than the slightly slower good AMD procs when it comes to gaming?
  6. For purely gaming purposes, yes.
  7. OK. Great. Thank you all. I may just go with the 'quad' core 4170 for my AM3+ board. I'm strictly interested in a gaming, and I need a processor for it. I can't wait till fall for AMD to maybe come out with their replacement chip (Piledriver?) I'm tired of waiting and Newegg has the 4170 for $10 off. (Woo-hoo $10)
  8. Piledriver still long time in the future, but as it does fix some the resource problem, some reviews said it most about 10-15% improvement (from trinity APU).

    positive thinking it will be at most 10-20% in desktop. it not worth to wait that long (except u had some thing to keep for a while)
  9. Btw, one of MaximumPC's complaints was that Win7 scheduler wouldn't handle the 2 duo cores as efficiently as a four discrete cores. I found this in one of the Newegg reviews for the FX-4170. This pair of patches seems to fix that. Just wanted someone else's opinion on it:

    "Early MS Hot Fix Updates for AMD FX Procs

    Pros: AMD FX processor, here’s what you can do to update your version of Windows 7:

    1) Download the scheduler update (KB2645594) and install. This will tell the scheduler that your AMD FX processor contains dual-core modules (in fact this is similar to the SMT path that the other guys use). In essence, threads 1-4 now get assigned to their own module first.

    2) Download the core parking scheduler update (KB2646060) and install. This will prevent Windows 7 shutting down unused cores prematurely when there are threads to be assigned (there’s a performance penalty parking and then un-parking a core).

    Cons: I wish I did not have to do these updates.

    Other Thoughts: The best possible cases for improvement are applications that use 1-2 cores in your AMD FX processor. In our testing using the AMD FX-8150 processor, we found the best improvement in wPrime, Left 4 Dead 2, and Lost Planet. Below you’ll find links to the patches:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2646060

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2645594 "

    A follow-up question would be, would Win7 Update recognize the FX proc and do this automatically or does one have to do the hot fix manually?
  10. You'll do better for cheaper buying a Phenom II and overclocking it.
  11. wr6133 said:
    You'll do better for cheaper buying a Phenom II and overclocking it.

    What's wrong with overclocking the FX-4170? And what (Box) Phenom II X4 is faster at less than $130?
  12. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103727

    You'll take that to 980BE speeds on the stock cooler (3.7GHz) if you want to go further you will need an aftermarket cooler if you want to OC the FX you will also need an aftermarket cooler.

    Gaming that Phenom will do better as games will not take advantage of the FX architecture (infact little does) if we are talking OC's the FX 41xx will need to be anything up to 20-25% faster clock speeds to beat the phenom now if you get your phenom up to 4.0GHz which many do easily on a cheap air cooler the figure you will need to hit on the FX is somewhat large and may require more expensive cooling.

    The FX's are reduced because they are not shifting too well with enthusiasts.... just ask around these forums people have stayed with Phenom II, gone Intel or even gone FX then switched back to Phenom II or Intel.
  13. Thanks for everyones help. It seems you all are edging me to forget the FX and go with the older (slower?) Phenom II. I honestly appreciate your input, and will give it more thought before making a purchase. But, That's kinda the problem. I get conflicting opinions (all worth more a whole lot more than mine, btw ;) ), but I can't find squat when it comes to side by side game benchmarks between the FX-4170 and Phenom II x4s.

    And according to the gentleman that makes up Tom's hierarchy chart, the stock FX-4170 is still sitting equal to or slightly above the Phenom II x4 980BE.

    Honestly, I'm not trying to be obstinate. I just want to play a bit of devil's advocate, I guess, and put forth all the contrary points that I've been told.
  14. Well I had a 4100 intended to replace my Phenom,it didn't. There's a guy on these forums had a 6100 and changed it for a Phenom II 980BE.... I would question how Tom's ranks those CPU's when the 8150 is lower down than the 4170......

    The Phenom is not slower than the FX infact the FX needs a HIGHER clock speed to beat the Phenom like I said when you start overclocking this then can get to a point where the FX needs pretty silly clockspeeds which coupled then wit its love of sucking power and throwing out heat can equal some hefty cooling needed.
  15. wr6133 said:
    Well I had a 4100 intended to replace my Phenom,it didn't. There's a guy on these forums had a 6100 and changed it for a Phenom II 980BE.... I would question how Tom's ranks those CPU's when the 8150 is lower down than the 4170......

    The Phenom is not slower than the FX infact the FX needs a HIGHER clock speed to beat the Phenom like I said when you start overclocking this then can get to a point where the FX needs pretty silly clockspeeds which coupled then wit its love of sucking power and throwing out heat can equal some hefty cooling needed.

    OK. You and the others on this thread convinced me. All the arguments for the FX-4170 I got from other forums has been answered. And this video was the 'final nail in the coffin', so to speak. Looks like you guys know your stuff.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99-Nd-MNiTw

    Thanks again.
  16. Best answer selected by box o rocks.
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