Why did Don recommend the i5-3450 over the 8320? The 8320 is 20-30 dollars cheaper and performs better in 90 percent of games and applications at stock not to mention headroom. The 4170 and 3220 perform almost identically across the board and again the 4170 is cheaper. The reasoning concerning the power consumption (which is not that high to be honest) for recommending a more expensive chip, with no performance advantage, and no headroom for overclocking seems really weak in a GAMING CPU recommendation.
The 8320 does not perform better, though it does come close. The 8320 is pretty good, and in addition to being cheaper, it can overclock. I would not get the 4170 or 3220 when the FX-6300 is the same price as the i3 and more powerful than the i3 or 4170.
Bulldozer uses 200w and Intel uses 25w? This is untrue. You're comparing an older arch. to a newer one. At least compare IB to Piledriver. And Intel will not decrease power consumption by 50%. That would be miraculous. At full load, my i5-3570K uses 60w under IBT at 3.6GHz. I can't imagine it using 30w under the same conditions. I like Intel because of their performance, but AMD still makes great products. The FX-6/4300 are great budget CPU's, the 8320 is a great workstation CPU, and the APU's are amazing in the IGP department.
yialanliu is right about gaming performance - the FX can't touch it. It can however deliver competitive application performance. They also consume more power, but there have been more power-hungry CPUs in the past - it's really not that bad. Just 77w TDP on the competition puts the bar pretty high. Compared to what a gaming-oriented graphics card consumes though, not a huge deal.
Problem is intel are like 2-3 years ahead of amd. So in 2014-2015 amd may come close to what intel have now. In fact I will be amazed if amd get by 2015 anywhere near intel current ivy bridge cpu's. Intel haswell is only around the corner + new 32nm motherboard I believe and they will be halfing the power consumption at same performance. I can see it now intel haswell system similar performance to what amd top end cpu have now. Amd bulldozer takes 200w, intel takes 25w. Sadly this is why intel is the best and amd are being forced to sell inferior rubbish as bulldozer was rubbish at low price like intel used to with p4 and pentium d.
Currently amd are like 200w power consumption competes with 70w intel system. 300w amd system or oc to 500w system like amd fx 8 core competes with like 3770k 150w stock 220w oc. Its actually amazing the difference as intel were like amd were 6 years ago in terms of cpu high clock speed super slow and guzzling through electricity.
You make some good points, but I don't get how your projection of intel vs amd 3 years from now is relevant. Current socket formats will be obsolete at that point long before, so you aren't future proofing yourself. 8320 and 3450 wobble on games for trumps, but 3450 doesn't touch the 8320 in multithreaded applications/multithreaded games. Spend 60 bucks 1.5 years down the line for a decent aftermarket cooler and the 8320 is a beast again...or drop almost 350 1.5 years later for a new motherboard and Intel processor. 8320 is clearly the better value at the price point and knowing AMD's socket life is as future proof an option as you can get.
Obviously, AMD isn't really capable of competing with Intel in the higher-end market...but they aren't trying to. As an enthusiast chip, at a super cheap price point, with a huge amount of headroom if you even care to go there and take advantage of it...Massive Value goes to 8320.
Also, enthusiast gamers are not only overclockers, they also do things like Live Streams, Let's Play's, and gameplay video/audio editing, re-encoding. 8320 stomps here...at 170 bucks. If anything was ever made for a hardcore gamer on a budget, it's the 8320.
As was proven earlier in a variety of toms articles, games aren't really using more than 2 cores, and even if they were, the load wasn't even across all cores.
So as a GAMING recommendation, the 8320 doesn't make sense. Don's list is for gaming, not for multi-threaded benchmark scores, but just for gaming. You lost your point the moment you veer away from games.