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AMD's Piledriver And K10 CPU Architectures Face Off

Performance Summary

We’ll summarize our performance testing relative to the least expensive processor in today’s round-up. Of course, what matters more than the averages is how each CPU performs in the workloads most important to you.

Sporting a quartet of physical cores, the Athlon II X4 640 often dominates its price bracket in productivity-oriented metrics and overall measures of performance. However, that advantage disappears in today’s comparison, as all five of these CPUs juggle at least four simultaneous threads.

There is no other way to put it: the Athlon II X4 640 is simply outclassed. Worse, perhaps, is that, even cranked up to 3.6 GHz with a 2.4 GHz CPU-NB frequency, the Propus-based processor is not able to drive our games sufficiently well. We know that a lack of L3 cache stifled performance. After all, the stock 3.4 GHz Phenom II X4 fared significantly better.

The good news is that the enthusiast-friendly Athlon X4 750K and Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition both get the job done for just a bit more money AMD's FX-4350 performs even better. And most impressive of all is the FX-6350 with its six integer cores, topping the charts in seven out of eight games and completely dominating in Crysis 3.

While the Athlon II X4 640 came up short in our battery of compression utilities, where memory bandwidth likely affected performance, its quad-core architecture proved more capable in productivity applications and Adobe's Premiere Pro than the twin-module composition of AMD's Athlon X4 750K. Plenty of shared L3 cache helps the Phenom II X4 catch the newer Piledriver design in WinRAR, WinZip, and 7-Zip, while further improving our productivity benchmark scores.

Once again though, the FX-6350 shines brightest. Single-threaded tests like iTunes, LAME, and Adobe Acrobat cut into its overall dominance, but those two extra cores are put to good use in most of the other applications.

  • 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