Top positive review
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Best price/performance CPU (at this time)
on 11 August 2013
Last year I previously purchased an AMD FX6100 CPU, not unhappy with that choice at all, but a re-build of another PC gave me a chance to try the newer 6300 processor, so I'll compare that to the older one. The old FX was also good bang per buck (initial price was too high) With recent price cuts the 6300 moves into a bargain price bracket for a hexacore processor
The updated piledriver processors, are revisions of the original bulldozer processors and initially I didn't expect a notable gain in performance overall, however real world it's proved quite a strong processor even more so than the 6100.
My pros and cons list:
+ Bang per buck, in the sub £100 CPU category this is unmatched in terms of performance at this price point
+ Easy to overclock, even more so than the 6100 (slightly better power consumption) unlocked as all FX cpu's are
+ Single threaded performance improved over bulldozer (in some cases quite a bit but Intel still rule here)
+ Faster than a 125w 6200 CPU, yet with lower clock speeds! In some cases it beats the old 8120 FX cpu
+ Undervolts very well (if you are into quiet computing)
+ Excellent multi threaded performance
+ Easy to cool (but get a better heatsink/fan)
- Standard stock cooler is actually identical to the Athlon II 65W CPU's, and a fair bit smaller than the original 6100 FX cooler, plan on getting another heatsink/fan if you're overclocking
- Still mixed performance in low threaded applications (though improved over the first FX series)
I'm personally much more interested in real world results than running benchmark tests suites. I do photo and video work quite often, so I dropped a HD video file into handbrake for conversion to MP4. Both the 6100 and 6300 were running at 3.5GHz.
6100 did the conversion in 9:20, 6300 in 7:38, whilst I expected a boost that was bigger than I imagined.
I found Lightroom 5 to be quicker and an uptake of around 20% in exporting raw files, again at the same clock speed. The CPU seems to cope well with image editing in a number of applications, even with larger image files of 16-24mp the FX6300 feels fast and responsive.
Games also showed an improvement, whilst I still suggest looking at the GPU first, all my games showed an improvement in fps and played smoother on the newer CPU. Passmark was around 6520 score. 7zip showed an improvement over the 6100 also around 10%
So what changed with bulldozer to piledriver?
The design of the CPU is the same as older ones, but the extra year has given AMD the chance to refine a few areas.
+ Improved branch prediction and prefetching
+ Support for AVX1.1, FMA3, F16C, Bit Manipulation and Trailing Bit Manipulation instructions
+ Larger L1 Translation Lookaside Buffers and L2 efficiency improvements
+ Improved FPU and integer scheduling, and better branch prediction and prefetching
+ Turbo core 3
All this sounds great but does it show up in the real world? Well so far I have to say yes it does. Some areas such as the new instructions supported might not matter right now, but down the road it could have quite an impact.
AMD's FX might have had mixed receptions from some review sites, but real world you want to build a pc/upgrade to a CPU that doesn't cost a ton, has a good performance for heavier tasks. As I said in my FX6100 review, you want the performance there mostly in multi threaded software. As so few applications are single threaded nowadays it doesn't make sense to mark a CPU down that does very well for more intensive multi threaded tasks.
At this price range you can buy the FX6300 or an Intel Core i3 3220. Intel have a good processor which is well designed and efficient, but it actually costs a bit more than the AMD processor and when the meat hits the grinder the i3 is still stuck with a dual core design which just can't match the FX6300 in intensive applications. Even at stock speed it's quite a difference, the unlocked AMD is really a much better choice for bang per buck wise.
Factor in the cost of an AMD board and it becomes an even more appealing choice.
This isn't the fastest CPU out there, it's a mid level processor that's got a fairly hefty upper cut and punches well above it's weight. I've made the mistake of buying very expensive processors in the past (£200-£300+), today really in this price range I can't imagine many people being anything but very pleased with the performance of this CPU even when you are doing more demanding work. If you're building an office pc then you'll be fine with a Sempron or Athlon II dual core (plenty fast enough for that type of PC) The FX CPU is for those looking to do more demanding tasks, but not breaking the bank either.
The FX8320 would be the next step up with an extra module (2 cores) that's also a good CPU at that price too. The Intel i5's are very good but fairly expensive and they're not massively faster for some tasks (video work the 6300 runs them pretty close at times)
I'm a bit puzzled with the FX4300 CPU, it's only about £5 cheaper and with 4v6 threads just doesn't add up value wise (the CPU is fine but it's just priced all wrong)
So this now gets my double thumbs up, if you want to extract the most pound of flesh for your cash then the FX6300 is unbeatable right now.