AMD FX-9590 & FX-9370 Reviewccokeman -
Price: FX-9590 $299, FX-9370 $229
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AMD FX-9590 & FX-9370 Introduction:
When AMD first introduced its Bulldozer architecture three years ago with the release of the FX-8150, the buzzwords were all about an all new high performance architecture that would be the best thing that AMD had ever put out. Actual processor performance had a hand in bringing everyone's high hopes and expectations down to a realistic level once we got into benchmarking the FX-8150. At the time, the forward thinking design of the architecture meant that it was going to do well when the software coders caught up and designed applications to really take advantage of the capabilities of the processor. After the launch and all the hype, AMD did still have the highest overclocking CPU in the world at the time, coming in over 8GHz under liquid helium cooling. Fast forward a year and AMD delivered an improved processor using the "Piledriver" architecture that delivered gains of between 10 and 15% over Bulldozer.
The FX-8350 and the product stack did prove better than its predecessor across the board, but still fell a bit short on single-threaded performance when compared to Intel's mainstream SKUs. Released last year, the FX-9590 and FX-9370 came out with premium price points that quickly dropped to a more realistic level once the initial performance evaluations were delivered. Currently available for $299, the FX-9590 offers up true 5GHz performance while in Turbo mode. Meanwhile, the FX-9370 delivers clock speeds of up to 4.7GHz in Turbo mode at a $229 price point. As the fastest chips AMD has to offer, I am interested to see just how well they fair in our benchmark tests. Let's take a look.
AMD FX-9590 & FX-9370 Closer Look:
Each of these two SKUs are almost identical, with the exception of the information on the heat spreader and ultimately the speed with which they operate. Built using AMD's Piledriver architecture, each of these processors is built on Global Foundries 32nm SOI process. Packing 1.2 billion transistors into a 315mm2 die, you have four compute modules each with a pair of integer cores, 8MB of L2 cache, and 8MB of shared L3 cache. Each of these processors is designed to be used in AMD's AM3+ socket. As the manufacturing process has matured, AMD has been able to max out the architectures clock speeds in the form of these unlocked processors. The FX-9590 is at the top of the heap much like Intel's Extreme Edition parts. Equipped with a clock speed of 4.7GHz, with a boost clock speed of 5GHz, the FX-9590 is the first 5GHz part to roll out of anyone's doors. AMD's FX-9370 is rated to run at 4.4GHz with a turbo boost frequency of up to 4.7GHz in lightly threaded applications. With clock speeds this high, AMD has raised the TDP from the FX-8350's 125W to a full 220W on both the FX-9590 and FX-9370.
Getting the most out of this pair of FX Vishera-based processors will mean you need a stout system if you will be overclocking. Stout as in a motherboard to handle the power consumption expected with the CPUs, as well as a cooling solution to handle the thermals. With a 220W TDP, these processors will need all the help they can to stay cool. For those reasons, we have selected the ASUS Crosshair V Formula Z motherboard and Corsair H100i cooling solution to see just how far we can push the clock speed envelope before running out of thermal overhead.
As AMD's highest speed bin processors, the FX-9590 and FX-9370 will have their work cut out for them. Will they be the answer AMD needs to compete on the world stage or will we be left with an underperforming, overpriced SKU? Let's find out.