Updates to this story
An engineering sample of the AMD FX-series "Zambezi" microprocessors has tipped up on the internet.
The eight-core 8130P chip is earmarked to be the flagship offering is supported to be the equal of Intel's quad-core offering.
Turkish site DonanimHaber got its paws on an engineering sample of the AMD FX-8130P. This is the one which ships with eight cores and can manage 3.20GHz clock-speed, 8MB L2 cache, and has 8MB L3 cache.
The magazine ran a number of benchmarks using Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 mainboard, 2GB of DDR3 memory. The reviewers were a bit spooked by this because 4GB was installed, only two seen by the system. For some reason they also used an GeForce GTX 580 graphics card, after all nothing works better with AMD chips than a card from Nvidia.
While the chip was an engineering sample it does reveal a bit of the real-world performance that AMD will be squeezing from the FX-series chips.
The Benchmarks were:
3DMark 2011: P6265 points (comparable to Intel Core i7-2600K);
Cinebench R10 (64-bit): 24 434 points (comparable to Intel Core i7-2600K);
Fritz Chess Benchmark: 14 197 kilo nodes per second (faster than Intel Core i7-2600K);
PCMark 7: 3045 points;
Super Pi (1M): 19.5 seconds;
x264-Benchmark: 136.29fps (1 pass), 45.4fps (2 pass) (slightly slower compared to Core i7-990X);
AMD is hoping that its multicore Zambezi FX CPUs will take on Intel's high-end Core i-series "Sandy Bridge" processors that can sell for as much as $300 and more per chip. From what we have heard though, AMD is currently redesigning its Zambezi processors to get higher performance, so they can fully compete against Intel's Core i7-2600K chip.
It already has a quad-core chip which is supposed to significantly outperform the rival so it is a little embarrassed that its Zambezi range can't do better.
We are expecting Zambezi chips to appear in late August or September, and AMD will be doing its best to make sure that it is faster than the Intel's Core i7-2600K.
The only thing is, that Intel is planning its six-core "Extreme" chips (Gulftown) and AMD will have to top them too. Also Intel's Sandy Bridge-E microprocessors with six or eight cores, quad-channel memory controller could also be difficult to gauge.
The feeling is that AMD appears to be dropping behind Intel again.