The processor division of AMD has worked long and arduous in recent years, as it has always been one step behind its main competitor Intel. The pain started in 2006 when Intel launched its Core 2 Duo series, which disposed of the poorly equipped Athlon64 X2 series.
Without an immediate response, AMD switched the Athlon64 X2 architecture to the 65nm design process, which clocked the Athlon 64 X2 6000+ at 3.1GHz. But just as the Athlon64 X2 architecture reached the end of the street, AMD released its long-awaited Phenom processors. At that point, AMD was struggling with a hardened Core 2 Quad series.
AMD struggled again as the new Phenom X4 processors did not meet expectations. However, this was AMD's least concern. Their latest creation was plagued by a design flaw known as the TLB bug. The quick fix was to disable the CPU's L3 cache, an important feature that further reduced performance when disabled.
Around the same time that AMD was addressing the Phenom issues, Intel was ready to show off its first Core i7 processors with the introduction of the Core i7-920, 940, and Core i7-965 Extreme Edition.
At this point, the change in the AMD strategy became more apparent. The company was unable to compete for the performance crown and focused its entire processor range on the mainstream markets. The Phenom II X4 920 and 940 Black Edition processors were released in January 2009. For $ 200, the X4 940 was the cheapest way to get your hands on a quad-core processor.
AMD has continued to improve the Phenom II range to date, with the Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition leading the charge for the quad cores and the six-core Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition continuing to be the flagship. The Phenom II has had to deal with the Intel Core i7 on several platforms as well as the Core i5 and Core i3 processors for almost 3 years.
After all this time does the pain for AMD finally stop? For years, a code name has been thrown around to do just that. This name is bulldozer. Today AMD launches its new line of FX processors, consisting of the flagship FX-8150 and processors FX-8120, FX-6100 and FX-4170.
The Bulldozer desktop processors are based on the "Zambezi" 32 nm architecture and have up to 8 cores. This means that AMD offers the world's first 8-core desktop solution that was developed from scratch.
AMD doesn't seem entirely interested in billing the performance crown. Eight cores or not, AMD will further improve the value angle by delivering processors that offer an unbeatable bang for your buck. The FX-8150 is the fastest of its kind and will retail for $ 245. It is 20 +% cheaper than the popular Sandy Bridge-based Core i7-2600K.
Read on as we examine the inside details of AMD's new FX series and compare all four new processors coming onto the market today.