As Zambezi launches, anticipated to happen in mid-Q3, there is growing speculation surrounding AMD's high-performance FX processors. Piledriver cores will be an upgrade from Bulldozer and enable AMD to take another, more effective shot at the enthusiast market.
The eight-core FX-8350 will still use socket AM3+ and will be manufactured using a 32 nm process, but it carries the hope that AMD will deliver on its promise to achieve a 10 to 15 percent performance increase over the previous Bulldozer design. Expect a TDP that remains at 125 watts, but clock speeds that are inching closer to 4 GHz, as the Piledriver design is more efficient than Bulldozer. The current FX-8150 runs at 3.6/4.2 GHz at 125 watts TDP.
However, even if the basic specs and plain benchmark performances of the new FX chips turn out to be more compelling for AMD, the more interesting processors will be Steamroller in 2013 and Excavator in 2014 - especially in the light of the change of ranks inside AMD. There is a decidedly stronger mainstream focus in the company, but there is also talk of the company embracing web-technologies that are directly supported and accelerated via its hardware -- especially taking browser-based gaming into the enthusiast range.
Piledriver is too early to show any of these efforts, but Steamroller could be the very first cloud-gaming optimized CPU design coming out of AMD.