AMD Upgrade Path

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AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:33 pm

I seldom do this, but I've reached a crossroads where I must call upon the geek collective. I am confused as to what AMD is planning for the future. It's been more than a year since they released the first "enthusiast" desktop CPU based on Piledriver, and we have yet to see even so much as a new stepping. This, combined with the fact AMD are not promising things anymore, makes me suspicious that Socket AM3+ doesn't have so much time left after all.

So the question is as follows: Is AM3+ here to stay or not? I was thinking of an upgrade before the end of the year.

A) If AM3+ is to stay with us, and an updated stepping of Piledriver is to be delayed even further, then I can get an FX-8320 or 8350 this year (before it's outdated). This course would give me up to +20% single threaded performance (compared to my overclocked setup), nearly double multithreaded performance, and I should be able to forget about upgrading the CPU again for another 2-3 years following this purchase.
Link

B) If FM2+ is the future, then I am in trouble. Today all the FM2+ motherboards I found support 4 cores maximum, unless a UEFI update changes that in the near future. "Upgrading" today would mean getting a 760K in the interim, until AMD releases their next big thing for the socket. This course would yield up to +20% single threaded performance and no change to multithreaded performance, so I might as well not bother until more options become available.
Link

C) Does anyone know if something more efficient than the FX-8320/8350 is anywhere near the horizon? If anyone knows of any articles or press releases detailing AMD's actual intentions, then I would appreciate being shown those. Intel recommendations will be ignored at this time.


I wish AMD would make it clear whether my computer is going to become junk soon. I've never been confused in this manner in all my years with AMD CPUs.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:43 pm

Meadows wrote: Does anyone know if something more efficient than the FX-8320/8350 is anywhere near the horizon?
Haswell-E or Broadwell in late 2014? ;-)

Meadows wrote: I wish AMD would make it clear whether my computer is going to become junk soon.
That's rather melodramatic, isn't it? Your computer will continue to be just as good as it has always been. Buy what works well for your application today. If you need a new PC a couple of years from now, worry about it then.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:44 pm

AM3+ is a dead end, but there are still advantages to the platform on the desktop. If you have an FX-8350, the good news is that you have the highest performing* pure CPU part that AMD is going to be producing for quite a while. The bad news is that AMD has no plans to come up with new chips for AM3+ and the route forward is APU-only beginning with Kaveri. Those APUs are nice, but even with steamroller cores the 4-core Kaveri parts aren't anywhere near the level of an 8-core Piledriver or 4-core Haswell part.

Could AMD bring back the FX platform in a new incarnation around the time that DDR4 finally begins to get traction in the market? Conceivably yes, but something tells me that the days of non-APU parts from AMD are dwindling quickly.


Does anyone know if something more efficient than the FX-8320/8350 is anywhere near the horizon?


More efficient has been here since Sandy Bridge, but... oh...
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* Yes, I know about the FX-9590, but buying one of those makes buying an Intel LGA-2011 part look like a cost-saving measure.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:59 pm

AMD has been quite quiet on socket AM3+. With that, unless they've simply put it on ice, all signs point to it's death.
However, they're not being quiet on socket FM2+. Kaveri, which is Steamroller based, is to arrive 1st quarter next year. With that said, it should derive another 10-20% higher IPC, over Piledriver, for single threaded performance.
So, if want to stay AMD, and you can hold off, I'd wait until Steamroller (Kaveri) shows up, before doing anything.
If you need performance now, especially multithreaded, the FX-8350 is the best AMD can afford you.

Some quick Googling, for dates and relative performance of Kaveri:
http://www.techpowerup.com/193375/amd-k ... ealed.html

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Prerelea ... 5275.shtml

http://hexus.net/tech/news/cpu/61685-am ... -feb-2014/

http://wccftech.com/amd-launches-kaveri ... -detailed/

http://wccftech.com/amd-desktop-kaveri- ... u-spotted/


I hope, once AMD has moved to a smaller manufacture tech (ie. 20 nm or smaller), that they can again offer higher thread count.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:12 pm

chuckula wrote: Don't tie one of your hands behind your back and complain that it's hard to play piano.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:13 pm

I hope, really hope, that Steamroller brings AMD's performance back into competition with Intel's finest. There's just so much right about the Bulldozer architecture, if they could just get all of it's parts synchronized.

Smaller nodes might also unleash versions with more than four modules for consumers, as well as APUs with at least four modules along with sizeable GCN blocks, possibly backed up by a chunk of eDRAM.

I just wish I had reason for the enthusiasm...
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:17 pm

chuckula wrote:Could AMD bring back the FX platform in a new incarnation around the time that DDR4 finally begins to get traction in the market? Conceivably yes, but something tells me that the days of non-APU parts from AMD are dwindling quickly.

If that's the case, why did they introduce a whole CPU lineup for FM2+ with no integrated graphics? Just so recently, in fact.
(Note: AMD quietly launched the Athlon X4 700 series for Socket FM2(+), which are essentially FX-4300 derivatives without the L3 cache. The top part is the 760K, with the same clock speeds as the FX-4300 itself, and a TDP maximum of 100 W, and an unlocked multiplier. For reasons explained in the OP, I'm not looking forward to buying one at all.)
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:19 pm

I would not count on anything beyond the existing FX lineup for AM3+. Maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised, but all indications are that AMD has no firm plans for future AM3+ parts (and/or may not survive in their current form long enough to bring them to market regardless of intent). My best guess is that future AMD x86 parts will be APUs (Socket FM2) and Opterons (Socket C32/G34) for the foreseeable future.

If you're happy with the price/performance/power tradeoffs of the FX-8350, get that. If you're not, well... you said you're going to ignore any Intel recommendations so there's not much more to say.

Just to put things in perspective, this is coming from someone who has used AMD CPUs exclusively in all of my builds since the K6 days. The last Intel CPU I bought (not counting laptops/netbooks) was a 200 MHz Pentium Pro, and my current home desktop is an FX-8320.

Edit: Depending on your level of commitment and the deepness of your pockets, I suppose you could build yourself a 16+ core monster workstation around multiple Opterons and a Socket G34 server motherboard. But there are very few non-server/scientific workloads for which this would even remotely make sense.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:31 pm

just brew it! wrote:If you're happy with the price/performance/power tradeoffs of the FX-8350, get that.

I am! I am, really. The real issue lies with whether there's something better in the pipeline or not. If there is, then I will keep the current setup for longer, but if the FX-8350 really is the end of the line, then I will consider buying that by the end of this year. Either way it's a win-win for me, my biggest issue is merely the timeframe involved.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:33 pm

Meadows wrote:If that's the case, why did they introduce a whole CPU lineup for FM2+ with no integrated graphics? Just so recently, in fact.



??? Do you mean the old Llano/Trinity parts where AMD just turned off the IGP to sell to certain OEM brackets? That's not a new chip, that's binning. Unless you can point me to some detailed documentation from AMD that says that these parts are anything other than Trinity with the IGP turned off, then there is nothing interesting about them.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:42 pm

chuckula wrote:??? Do you mean the old Llano/Trinity parts where AMD just turned off the IGP to sell to certain OEM brackets? That's not a new chip, that's binning. Unless you can point me to some detailed documentation from AMD that says that these parts are anything other than Trinity with the IGP turned off, then there is nothing interesting about them.

It is "Trinity", but this summer (2013) the lineup of 3 CPUs received 2 more: the 370K and the 760K, the latter of which I mentioned in my OP and which is actually slightly better than what I have now.

Binning aside; if they do want to kill off "non-APUs", then why introduce more CPUs? And -- might I repeat -- just so recently, too.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:44 pm

Edit: scratch that. These are Richland, only the lower model numbers are Trinity.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:48 pm

.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:51 pm

clone wrote:if I was to toss in a guess because I'm in the same boat I believe we can expect a mildly cooler running FX 9590 solidly at 5000mhz...

Unlikely.
Also, FX-9000 series? Good god no, I'm not suicidal. Merely an upgrade would do.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:51 pm

My biggest complaint about Socket AM3+ may be that the only decent motherboards are full-size ATX. There's not a worthwhile Micro-ATX option to be found.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:58 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:My biggest complaint about Socket AM3+ may be that the only decent motherboards are full-size ATX. There's not a worthwhile Micro-ATX option to be found.

Yup, I agree this is annoying. AMD and/or the mobo vendors have clearly decided that FM2 is there to cater to the micro-ATX desktop crowd. Their logic probably goes something like, "people who want an IGP will buy an APU, and those people also don't care about multiple PCIe x16 slots, etc."; unfortunately, users don't all fit nicely into just those two buckets.

Edit: At least with boards like Asus' M5A97 series there are reasonably priced high quality options out there. But you still need a discrete video card and a case that will fit a full-sized ATX board...
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:01 pm

Meadows wrote:Binning aside; if they do want to kill off "non-APUs", then why introduce more CPUs? And -- might I repeat -- just so recently, too.



Yeah, your listing points to standard Trinity/Richland chips where AMD fused off the IGP. They are about as "new" as Intel introducing another SKU of Haswell based on the same silicon they've been selling since June. Some OEMs like these chips to tick off a particular checkbox for selling the chips in a particular configuration. The trick is, these chips have zero CPU advantage over a regular APU part. It's not like you are getting 8 CPU cores but sacrificing the IGP... it's the exact same chip, no additional CPU power, just with the IGP turned off and with a price cut to make it more attractive in certain niches.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:58 pm

I haven't seen or heard anything to suggest that AMD has made progress addressing the efficiency issues plaguing their high-end CPU lineup, so a viable competitor to i5/i7 is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Bulldozer's problems run deep, that's why AMD is backing out of the performance market. Their APUs paint a brighter picture, but of course those are FM2+ and the endgame is a "good enough" chip that offers reasonable processing and graphics for a basic system, not an enthusiast-friendly benchmark darling.

If the 8350 or slightly faster quad core APU isn't doing it for you this is the point where you need to evaluate whether AMD is still capable of serving your needs.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:38 pm

chuckula wrote:Yeah, your listing points to standard Trinity/Richland chips where AMD fused off the IGP. They are about as "new" as Intel introducing another SKU of Haswell based on the same silicon they've been selling since June. Some OEMs like these chips to tick off a particular checkbox for selling the chips in a particular configuration.

Whatever the case, they're good for building a reasonably powered PC using Socket FM2 today, and on the cheap, too. (Okay, so the power consumption is quoted as atrocious, but the processor generally won't spend all its time near the TDP.) The 760K is almost equivalent to my current processor in general performance, and benchmarks aside, I really have no complaints about this performance level. At least not in games, certainly. It's a good product, in my opinion.

The issue is whether one should move to FM2. That's my problem, you see. It would be nice to know which socket AMD's enthusiast line will continue on, assuming it does. They had desktop CPU roadmaps to about the year 2015, so if anything's underway, then I doubt they'll cancel it now. It's only a question of sockets.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:44 pm

Meadows wrote:
chuckula wrote:Yeah, your listing points to standard Trinity/Richland chips where AMD fused off the IGP. They are about as "new" as Intel introducing another SKU of Haswell based on the same silicon they've been selling since June. Some OEMs like these chips to tick off a particular checkbox for selling the chips in a particular configuration.

Whatever the case, they're good for building a reasonably powered PC using Socket FM2 today, and on the cheap, too. (Okay, so the power consumption is quoted as atrocious, but the processor generally won't spend all its time near the TDP.) The 760K is almost equivalent to my current processor in general performance, and benchmarks aside, I really have no complaints about this performance level. At least not in games, certainly. It's a good product, in my opinion.

The issue is whether one should move to FM2. That's my problem, you see. It would be nice to know which socket AMD's enthusiast line will continue on, assuming it does. They had desktop CPU roadmaps to about the year 2015, so if anything's underway, then I doubt they'll cancel it now. It's only a question of sockets.



The issue is whether one should move to FM2.

There's socket FM2... and then there's socket FM2+. If you want to buy FM2 for a Trinity/Richland part, build the system, and be done with it today then do it, but do it knowing there are no upgrades for the platform. If you really meant should you move to FM2+, then I'd wait until Kaveri is actually available unless you have an interest in buying a Trinity/Richland part and then throwing it out in 4 months. It's also unclear what FM2+ will have in the way of an upgrade path. Starting with Llano, AMD is 3 for 3 in requiring new sockets for new APU generations (Richland isn't different enough from Trinity to qualify as a new generation). If AMD wants to adopt DDR4 in 2015, then I guarantee you that FM2+ is a one-shot wonder for Kaveri. If AMD holds off longer on a DDR4 upgrade path, there might be an upgrade for FM2+...we'll see.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:10 pm

chuckula wrote:There's socket FM2... and then there's socket FM2+.

I figured they must be nearly interchangeable, like AM3 and AM3+ were.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:15 pm

Meadows wrote:
chuckula wrote:There's socket FM2... and then there's socket FM2+.

I figured they must be nearly interchangeable, like AM3 and AM3+ were.


No they are not. Kaveri is physically pin incompatible with socket FM2. You will never run a Kaveri part in an FM2 board, period no ifs ands or buts about it. This is not like the semi-official BIOS patches and hit & miss compatibility that we saw with Bulldozer in AM3 boards. The socket FM2+ boards are backwards compatible with existing Trinity parts, but their one and only benefit to Trinity parts is that they offer an upgrade path to Kaveri, otherwise there are no extra USB 3 ports, PCIe, etc. etc. platform improvements.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:24 pm

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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:30 pm

chuckula wrote:No they are not. Kaveri is physically pin incompatible with socket FM2. You will never run a Kaveri part in an FM2 board, period no ifs ands or buts about it. This is not like the semi-official BIOS patches and hit & miss compatibility that we saw with Bulldozer in AM3 boards. The socket FM2+ boards are backwards compatible with existing Trinity parts, but their one and only benefit to Trinity parts is that they offer an upgrade path to Kaveri, otherwise there are no extra USB 3 ports, PCIe, etc. etc. platform improvements.

Either way, if I am to step on the path to glory upgrading, I will only either take 8 cores, or 4 cores with insane efficiency and/or clock speeds. In doing so, I'm willing to accept a maximum TDP of 125 Watts, give or take 5, but probably not more than that. To that end, Kaveri is not interesting to me unless it passes one of those tests of valour.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:35 pm

I will only either take 8 cores, or 4 cores with insane efficiency and/or clock speeds.


Well... since Intel is still out of the picture... keep on making demands and hope that AMD listens. I can guarantee you that 8 cores is right out. The parts don't exist unless you operate under the assumption that AMD is flat out lying to all of us in its own roadmaps. Four cores (2 modules) is the high-end for Kaveri, and while I expect it to be better than Trinity, anybody expect 4 Kaveri cores to match 4 Haswell cores is in for a huge round of disappointment. As for power consumption, apparently AMD is shaving 5 watts off the TDP for high-end desktop parts so we'll see 95 watt Kaveris replacing the 100 watt Richlands.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:43 pm

Meadows wrote:The issue is whether one should move to FM2. That's my problem, you see. It would be nice to know which socket AMD's enthusiast line will continue on, assuming it does. They had desktop CPU roadmaps to about the year 2015, so if anything's underway, then I doubt they'll cancel it now. It's only a question of sockets.

As I've already noted, I doubt they will continue to offer a meaningful enthusiast line going forward. Your choice will be between low- to mid-range parts in APU form, or a full-blown workstation/server based on the Opteron platform (which will give you lots of cores and support for insane amounts of RAM, but mediocre single-threaded performance).
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:44 pm

chuckula wrote:As for power consumption, apparently AMD is shaving 5 watts off the TDP for high-end desktop parts so we'll see 95 watt Kaveris replacing the 100 watt Richlands.

In theory, that's enough to make wonders, but we'll have to wait for the benchmarks to get a verdict on that happening. I'm not actually expecting wonders. Not even intel delivered wonders the last time around. Call my attitude krogothic, if you like.

Regardless, "you learn something every day" I guess, and this chat has been enlightening. ...Option A still dominates, I'll probably get an 8350 before the holidays at the latest. We'll see.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:48 pm

just brew it! wrote:or a full-blown workstation/server based on the Opteron platform (which will give you lots of cores, but mediocre single-threaded performance).

In theory, I can use that. I'm regularly commissioned for image work and work with dozens of layers and effects, as well as DAW projects for a hobby, the latter of which can max out my current processor in very unsightly ways. But I wouldn't want to lose the versatility of being able to run new games well.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:53 pm

TBH I really see my FX-8320 being adequate for my needs for several years to come. The fact that meaningful competition in the x86 space seems to be going away bugs me a lot more than the probable lack of an upgrade path for Socket AM3+.
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Re: AMD Upgrade Path

Postposted on Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:27 pm

NovusBogus wrote:I haven't seen or heard anything to suggest that AMD has made progress addressing the efficiency issues plaguing their high-end CPU lineup


Erm... the Steamroller core is a fair step in the right direction. Given AMD's fab options, they won't be anywhere near Intel in terms of low-power, but at the 125W tier, a 6 or 8 core 'Roller would likely be a rather nice chip, and would represent a REAL step forward for owners of FX (or even Thuban) chips. I can't believe it would take a huge effort for AMD to port such a chip to the AM3+ platform.

so a viable competitor to i5/i7 is unlikely to happen anytime soon.


The OP isn't looking for an "I7 Mutilator!!!," just a meaningful step forward. The utter lack of information from AMD must represent one of the biggest tech marketing failures in recent times.

Their APUs paint a brighter picture, but of course those are FM2+ and the endgame is a "good enough" chip that offers reasonable processing and graphics for a basic system, not an enthusiast-friendly benchmark darling.


AMD has lost the high end. What baffles and irritates me so is their apparent willingness to throw the ENTIRE enthusiast marked into the shredder. WTF, AMD?

Assuming the existence of 125W-capable FM2+ boards (does such a creature exist in the wild?), a 6 or 8 core SR/FM2+ chip, with limited or no APU transistors wasting power and space, would at least offer a path forward. Will such a chip emerge? Once again, all we hear from this bizarre company are chirping crickets...
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