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AMD to fill Haswell gaming void with 5GHz CPU

Posted: 13 Jun 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:CPU? system integrators? PC?

Advanced Micro Devices claims it will beat archrival Intel in shipping the first 5GHz PC processor. AMD targets the performance hungry market of computer gamers with its eight-core AMD FX-9590 which it said will ship in systems this summer.

The news comes days after Intel announced its next-generation processor family, Haswell. It initially comes in 51 versions ranging from 1.7 to 3.9GHz.

In past generations, Intel released Extreme Edition versions of its latest processors with more cores, threads and memory channels targeting PC gamers. It has not yet released such versions for its Haswell or prior Ivy Bridge families, leaving AMD a niche to fill.

"We have not shipped a 5GHz base frequency high-end gaming CPU," and Intel spokesman said. "But almost all gamers overclock and many Intel CPUs have hit that frequency over the years in an overclocked state [and] some enthusiast OEMs like Falcon Northwest even ship systems with CPUs overclocked as standard," he said.

Systems integratorsnot brand name OEMswill deliver the initial AMD 5GHz systems. That could be a sign the company hurriedly ordered the parts from the factory when it spotted the lack of an ultra-fast part in the Haswell line up.

The 5GHz milestone is significant but dubious. Years ago both companies largely shifted from competing on higher data rates to battling over MIPS per Watt or joule because chips were eating up too much power and dissipating too much heat.

"AMD has absolutely set a record here in terms of frequency.," said David Kanter, a microprocessor analyst with Real World Tech. "I think the challenge is that performance does not necessarily track frequency for modern CPUs," he said.

That said, PC gamers remain a small but vocal segment that demand the most souped-up machines you can plug into a wall socket. The desktops often boast multiple graphics cards that burn more energy and heat than the host x86 and do most of the system's heavy lifting rendering games.

AMD's news comes amid the E3 show this week where Microsoft officially rolled out its next-generation Xbox using AMD chips.

Systems will be based on two versions of the chips that use AMD's Piledriver x86 core for client PCs. Both the 5GHz FX-9590 and the 4.7GHz FX-9370 are unlocked so users can overclock them.

Both chips use AMD's Turbo Core 3.0 technology to optimise performance by spreading workloads across their eight cores. AMD did not say which Radeon graphics core the chips use.

Similarly, AMD did not immediately say the price or power consumption of its 5GHz chip. Intel's 3.9GHz Haswell consumes 84 W TDP and sells for up to $350.

- Rick Merritt
??EE Times

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