FX-4170 vs FX-6300 - synth vs real-world performance?

Could someone please explain the rational for the specs vs performance differential between the FX-4170 & FX-6300? According to all synthetic test results I've come across the 6-core 3.5GHz FX-6300 surpasses the performance of the 4-core 4.1GHz FX-4170 by 10%-24%. Is it that synthetic scores on balance make full use of the available cores therefore the core speed advantage is negated?

Now, if I were to be in the position of choosing between the two and 90% of the time using apps not capable of utilizing individually more than 4-threads (or simply a number of single threaded apps) would real world performance be gained by the FX-4170 over the FX-6300?

I'm not too proud to be told my reasoning is misplaced. I good way to learn. ;)
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  1. It's a bit complicated, but basically - yes, your reasoning is misplaced.

    The two CPUs you are comparing are ultimately based on the same technology, but come from different evolutions and different product ranges.
    The FX4170 is from the earlier Zambezi variant, the FX6300 is from Vishera (The 2nd number in the sequence denotes which era its from, 1/2 ie 4170, 6200 are Zambezi, FX6300, FX8350 are Vishera).
    The newer processors have increased IPC (instructions per cycle) so can do more calculations per cycle (Hz). This means they don't need to be as fast to be superior.
    Tomshardware did a review of the 8350 here http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/fx-8350-vishera-review,review-32550.html it covers some of the advancements.

    Your theoretical scenario involved involved focusing on something that could not utilise the extra cores. In many ways, the clock speed is an irrelevant number. Intel processors generally run significantly slower than the FX range but are more than competitive due to a higher IPC. The clock speed is only a good way of comparing performance if you are comparing two identical (or near identical) processors, for example the FX8350 and FX8320.
  2. Synthetic scores are useless unless you are benchmarking for the sake of it. Rammy has some good information there. My advice is to go with more cores (6300). You can clock it to the same speed and have the extra cores too.
  3. Much appreciate the replies!

    Thanks for your easily understandable explanation, especially the model numbering system. Additionally the link you offered was very good reading and provided a great explanation of the differences (both design and performance wise) between Bulldozer and Piledriver architectures. After reading it in it's entirety I can understand your pointing out the relevance of the second digit when attempting to compare performance even when staying within the FX line of processors.

    For a person like me that builds a rig and uses it for 5 or more years before the lack of performance becomes an issue it's quite overwhelming to catch back up on the current hardware offerings. New models (esp, in CPU and GPU) are being pumped out so quickly, often with minor but performance critical changes, that only a technophile can decide on new components before even they become legacy.

    Although I haven't OC'd anything for years (Athlon II 3000+) it does seem AMD remains the only option if one gets the itch too assemble a budget speedster. Additional cores (>4) for me would/will probably not be of great benefit at the moment but, as noted earlier, since I tend to run my rigs as built for many years the extra cores may help to stave off obsoletion.


    I'm just at the point of wading through options for a new build so will inevitably solicit recommendations in the near future. I'm sure my head will be swimming attempting to make heads or tails out of all the current offerings.

    Thanks again for the info!
  4. Happy to help. One thing that you did get right, kind of, is that benchmarks should be taken for what they are, and not as an explicit statement of fact. Depending on who does them, they can be biased in different directions to make different results. There are people on this (and other) forums who will make blanket statements about things such as "Intel is better than AMD" which aren't very helpful in understanding the differences.

    As a couple of general rules to consider-

    Newer processors are better. It's not always true, some of the FX line were a little lacklustre compared to their Phenom predecessors, and you can argue Intels Ivy Bridge is a very small improvement over Sandy Bridge. In both cases though, the new processors shifted the value window - legacy processors can often be more expensive due to a lack of supply. If you were buying today, the recommendation would almost undoubtedly be something from the Ivy Bridge or Vishera lines of Intel and AMD respectively, at almost any price point.

    Intel processors are faster per thread Again, not always true, but as a general rule its pretty accurate. AMD offer a higher number of threads/unit value spend. Their "8"core processors are priced to compete with Intels i5 (Quad core) which means that if you can take advantage of those extra cores, it's great value. If you can't, for example if you are running games, then the i5 is usually going to be the better buy. That sentiment extends down their range, as the 4xxx/6xxx competes with dual core intel offerings.
  5. More pertinent and useful food-for-thought there Rammy, thanks!

    I started another thread earlier last week regarding the A8-5600K video performance vs Regor 245 w/GT520. That offers insight to my direction. At the risk of reduced viewership due to this being a slightly different line of questioning I'll still ask here:

    I've pretty much made up my mind that going the AMD route is preferred and now need to consider between what I feel are both fine choices for my situation - FX Vishera series CPU's or Trinity series APU's.

    While my upgrade needs are basically very modest at the moment but intend to keep the basic rig for the next 5 or so years (which is track record) my only real concerns would be of ability to upgrade the processor and add RAM over that span. From what I've read it seems AM3+ may only have another year or so (1-2 CPU gen's) before obsoletion while if AMD continues on the APU route FM2 may just be getting started. I very easily could be misinformed on that though. The FX-6300 (or FX-4300) look to be the perfect fit at the moment and could possibly serve me well for 5 years. The A10-5800K would also work well with the advantage of also being a modest GPU step up from my current GT520. Better video cards seem to be a dime a dozen of late so at minimal cost I can add that upgrade to the FX if required. If AMD stays with the FM2 socket for a period of time it seems inevitable that a significant upgrade even to the current A10 APU flagship is very much going to be possible if required.

    Btw, I like the APU route as I strive for silent PC operation since I hover over them in a home office for up to 10 hours a day. The integrated HD4200 unfortunately wasn't up to the task but the GT520 was and surprised me with its silent fan operation (never taxed so always on low).

    Appreciate any insight on AM3+ vs FM2 regarding possible future upgrade headaches if required.
  6. the old bulldozer is not well designed and lags behind new amd processors. the 6300 is alot faster in gaming and apps than its older brother.
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