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AMD FX-4170 Vs. Intel Core i3-3220: Which ~$125 CPU Should You Buy?

Benchmark Results: Content Creation And Productivity

Our Photoshop and 3ds Max benchmarks readily take advantage of multi-core CPUs. Naturally, then, AMD's FX-4170 again slides right past the Core i3-3220 in both metrics. Again, Intel's Core i5 serves as a reference point for what a true quad-core chip based on Ivy Bridge can do, and really, the FX does impressively well.

FineReader is well-threaded also. However, more on-die resources don't seem to help AMD at all (nor does the higher clock rate). Perhaps there is an issue with branch prediction hampering the Bulldozer module concept. In any case, the FX-4170 loses to a dual-core Core i3-3220, which in turn is decimated by Intel's Core i5-3550.

We know that the latest version of WinZip has optimizations for threading, though we've seen those kick in most aggressively on platforms with OpenCL support (specifically those with AMD graphics). An older version like 15.5 is still largely single-threaded, which hurts the FX. WinRAR and 7-Zip are better able to take advantage each processor's architecture, and we see the FX and Core i3 perform similarly, for the most part.

  • EzioAs
    Nice review as always. Nothing really too surprising but I guess it was quite necessary to compare the 2 CPUs at the same price point (not everybody prefers Intel). If Piledriver pulls through (I hope it does), then maybe AMD will have the slight edge at performance per dollar against the i3 Ivy Bridge
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  • jerm1027
    At $125, they should have included the FX-6100. That's $120 on Newegg, plus an additional $15 off on sale.
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  • Soma42
    Nothing too surprising I suppose. AMD is looking to cut 20% of it's workforce and I think I know why. Performance is hit or miss and at twice the power of Intel's offerings. Intel is getting close to competing with ARM with their mainstream lineup and AMD's dual module is still at 125W. What's wrong here?

    Hope Piledriver is all that it promises and more.
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  • joytech22
    Damn it AMD, I really want you to pull a rabbit out of your cake hole and do well.
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  • theabsinthehare
    This hurts. I've been an AMD fan for a long time and I was really excited for Bulldozer. However, after seeing the lackluster performance, I put off upgrading until Piledriver. I'm not so sure about Piledriver now, though, and I think it might be time to throw in the towel and finally buy an Intel chip for once.
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  • abitoms
    One thing in the review's last page's title really piqued me

    "...but Tomorrow Shows More Promise for AMD".

    Tomorrow...as in ... Oct 16, 2012 or is it only figurative?
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  • abhijitkalyane
    Hope Vishera changes this - a $125 chip that can beat i3 at stock (apps & games) and can ALSO be overclocked would be a great thing for budget enthusiasts, who right now are stuck with either locked Intel CPU or not-so-great-performing AMD CPU. Power numbers still don't look good. Probably due to the 32nm process (and also due to architectural differences I suppose). Is Vishera 32nm or 22? Fingers crossed for healthy competition :)
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  • cleeve
    jerm1027At $125, they should have included the FX-6100. That's $120 on Newegg, plus an additional $15 off on sale.
    At 3.3 GHz, the 6100 doesn't fare well. It's easily out-gamed by the FX-4170, and only gets a bit of a break in highly threaded apps.
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  • user32123
    Why not compare with Trinity? It has higher performance, lower power and modern chipset
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  • abitoms
    @user32123, i guess it's because that's already done
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