AMD had a surprise for those attending the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) last night: the unveiling of two new flagship entries in its FX family of processors, including what the company claims is the world's first 5GHz processor.
AMD's new FX-9590 is the company's - though not the world's - first 5GHz processor, although it reaches these heady heights only under Turbo Core conditions.
Now, before you get too excited, there's a caveat there: while the Piledriver-based eight-core FX-9590 does indeed state on its box that it runs at 5GHz, it does so only under conditions suited to AMD's Turbo Core 3.0. The speed at which the chip runs when Turbo Core 3.0 can't be used - such as when all eight of the processing cores are fully loaded, or when the temperature of the chip reaches too high a level - is somewhat lower than that headline-grabbing figure.
It's also not the world's first 5GHz processor, despite AMD's claims to the contrary: back in 2007 IBM released a dual-core 5GHz Power 6 chip for the high-performance computing (HPC) market, followed by the 5.2GHz IBM z196 in 2010. 'This is another proud innovation for AMD in delivering the world’s first commercially available 5GHz processor,
' crowed AMD's Bernd Lienhard at the event, unfortunately neglecting to point out its status as the world's first commercially available 5GHz x86
Those clarifications aside, on to AMD's announcement of what is still a pretty impressive achievement. 'At E3 this week, AMD demonstrated why it is at the core of gaming,
' claimed Lienhard. 'The new FX 5 GHz processor is an emphatic performance statement to the most demanding gamers seeking ultra-high resolution experiences including AMD Eyefinity technology.
The FX-9590, the company's flagship entry in the FX series, is the model with a headline-grabbing 5GHz Turbo Core clockspeed and an as-yet unconfirmed base clock of 4.7GHz. The FX-9370, meanwhile, runs at 4.7GHz under Turbo Core and a rumoured 4.4GHz otherwise. Both models include eight Piledriver processing cores, unlocked multipliers and 8MB of cache memory, with neither including accelerated processing unit (APU)-style integrated graphics. Thermal design profile (TDP) on either chip has yet to be revealed.
If you're hankering for an upgrade, however, there's a disappointment to come: AMD is concentrating on releasing the parts to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) first, with no news yet as to when the parts will come to retail nor how much they will cost when they do. Systems based on both chips are expected to appear from the usual companies this summer, meaning a retail release for the CPUs themselves is unlikely to occur before the third quarter.