AMD's Piledriver And K10 CPU Architectures Face Off

Results: Synthetics

We’re going to shoot through the performance tests in the same order as last time, starting with 3DMark 11, and once again focusing on the Physics and Combined modules.

For the most, part these processors place in our chart according to their cost. And while overclocking helps somewhat, only the Athlon X4-750K is able to ascend the hierarchy. The Athlon II X4 640 trails behind, seemingly suffering from its lack of L3 cache. Even overclocked to 3.6 GHz with a 2400 MHz CPU-NB frequency, it gets smoked by the stock 3.4 GHz Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition.

Our overclocking efforts yield impressive gains in SiSoftware Sandra's Arithmetic component. Sporting three active modules, the FX-6350 sits alone and unchallenged at the top. 

Check out the difference in the architectures, though. Piledriver shines in the integer-heavy test, since each module features two cores, but trails in Whetstone due to a shared floating-point unit.

This chart may appear unsorted, but we're ranking each configuration by the average of its three scores.

A look at hashing performance puts the Athlon X4 750K slightly above the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition. The older K10 architecture lacks the hardware-acceleration of AES supported by Vishera and Trinity.

We used DDR3-1600 at CAS 8 timings for all five processors, making apparent the improvements AMD made to its memory controller that improve bandwidth.

Overclocking the RAM and CPU-NB frequencies further augment memory throughput, though we don't expect serious gains in our real-world benchmark workloads.

You can't tell from the chart, but we measured these gains incrementally, so we know that the Athlon X4 750K gains as much through CPU-NB overclocking as it does from the jump to DDR3-1866. In contrast, the Athlon II X4 640 doesn't gain anything from a CPU-NB boost of 400 MHz.

  • KelvinTy
    So much BS, the old Phenom II X4 and X6 BE are still really competitive after all these years. Yet, if they bother to update the instruction set, and just shrink the thing, then change it to AM3+ socket, that would be great...
    K10 has so much more potential...
  • Personally, I was surprised to see the FX-4350 do so well. The bump up, compared to the FX-4300, has really done it some good.
  • MU_Engineer
    Kelvin, the tests showed that the Piledriver FXes are not that far off the Phenom IIs clock for clock and core for core. The Phenom II X4 965BE at 4.0 GHz was generally about as fast as the stock FX-4350 running 200-400 MHz faster so you figure about a 5% per-clock, per-core advantage for the Phenom II. However, each Piledriver core is quite a bit smaller than a K10 core and they also have a longer pipeline so they can clock quite a bit faster (K10 was pretty well tapped out.) So you get more cores and more clocks out of Piledriver with essentially the same performance per core and per clock. I'd say that the modular architecture used in the FXes finally got the vindication it deserved with this test. Way to go Tom's.
  • Onus
    As I was going through this, at first I was worried about the absence of comparison to Intel, but was relieved to see it at the end. Especially if I don't want to push my 970BE really hard (I'd rather play on my PC than with it), the FX-63x0 looks like a viable upgrade.
  • cmartin011
    I want some juice GPU news. I am aware they are not going anywhere fast with CPUs. My wallet will be open for 8 core in 2 years when performance Increases 20%
  • rmpumper
    I just want some solid numbers on Steamroller already.
  • magnesiumk
    Thank you so much for writing this article. Thank you also for including the Phenom II 965 processor to this test. I use it, and it is somewhat dated, and hard to find compared to newer cores. However it still kicks a lot of butt in gaming. I bought my Phenom II 955BE C3 last year with overclocking in mind

    I always wanted to see how it would compare to newer models, and even intel counterparts. Thank you for this. I loved reading the article. Keep comparisons like this coming.
  • magnesiumk
    I also wanted to add, thank you for listing the 965BE with overclock at 4Ghz. It's easy to clock this processor up to those speeds. That's about what I run at, and it also runs much greater than stock speeds. This is important in future comparison tests. Thanks again.
  • envy14tpe
    Wanted to see i3 and i5 CPUs on the charts. Not just in the "Wrapping things up" section. Also, why not compare to a i5-3470? It's locked, cheaper, and still fast.
  • crisan_tiberiu
    if the 6350 is so close to the 3570k the 8350 eats it alive..and everybody recommends the i5 ^-. AMD has still good value