Tag: value

AMD’s FX-9590 is still the top CPU value four years later

Back in 2014 when Jesus rode dinosaurs and Nazca aviators ruled the skies, I wrote an article about the AMD FX-9590 and how it beat all of the modern Intel chips of the day in a price-to-performance comparison I performed. It was a better value than every Intel Haswell and Broadwell chip available in 2014. Of course, benchmarks of newer systems against the aging FX-9590 show that gaming performance is clearly way better on newer platforms, largely due to PCI Express 3.0 support (FX-9590 boards max out at PCI Express 2.0 x16) and, more recently, the rise of consumer DDR4 memory and NVMe solid-state drives. As I was poking around various system benchmarks for newer platforms, I got curious about the FX-9590’s price-to-performance ratio today, four years and several processor generations later. You’d expect a chip that’s several generations long in the tooth to fall behind in value due to improvements in newer platforms, especially with AMD’s new Ryzen architecture fighting Intel’s 8th-generation i7 offerings.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when I saw this:

AMD FX-9590 best value on PassMark
AMD FX-9590 is still the best performance value on PassMark

Modern CPUs in the picture are boxed in orange. Notably, the price of an FX-9590 is way down from the $250-$300 range where it hovered for a long time. Amazon prices really are close to the stated $99.99 price tag. Four years after the power-sucking 220W 8-core beast was released, it continues to dominate in provided performance per dollar. I’m still using the FX-9590 system I built four years ago for heavy-duty computing work and video editing. I have other computers that are actually from the current year, but none of them is as fast as the FX-9590 box.

Long live the AMD FX-9590. You’re my favorite space heater and I hope you keep humming under my desk and making me uncomfortably hot for a long time to come.

Flamethrower FX-9590Affectionately known as “Flamethrower.”

AMD FX-9590 Beats Intel Core i7 (4770K, 4790K, 5960X, etc.) in Price vs. Performance Comparisons

I decided this month that it was time to look at replacing my AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE chip with something that could transcode high-definition video faster. Sure enough, I chose the AMD FX-9590 CPU. Arguments against the AMD FX-9590 on forums such as Tom’s Hardware and AnandTech include “power efficiency is too low/TDP is too high” and “Intel has higher/better instructions per clock (IPC)” and “Intel’s i7 performs so much better.” Notably, the price to obtain the superior Intel performance was almost completely ignored in these discussions. Consider that the AMD FX-9590 retails for around $260 and the Intel Core i7-4770K it is often compared to costs $335; that $75 difference is enough cash to buy a cheap motherboard or a 120GB SSD, and also represents a 29% price increase over the FX-9590. Does the i7-4770K really perform 29% better than the FX-9590? The short answer is “no.” The long exception to that otherwise straightforward answer is “unless you spend all of your time calculating Julia mandelbrot sets and the digits of pi.”

Over two years ago, I wrote an article about how AMD CPUs beat Intel CPUs hands down when you factor in the price you pay compared to the performance you get. Most of the arguments I received against my assertion were against the single-figure synthetic benchmark (PassMark) I used to establish a value for CPU performance. This is understandable; synthetic benchmarks that boil down to “One Number To Rule Them All” don’t help you decide if a CPU is good for your specific computer workload. This time, I’ve sought out a more in-depth benchmark data set which can be seen here. I compiled some the relevant figures (excluding most of the gaming benchmarks) into a spreadsheet along with the Newegg retail price of each CPU as of 2014-10-23, used a dash of math to convert “lower is better” scores into an arbitrary “higher is better” value and some fixed multipliers per benchmark to make them all fit into one huge graph which can be downloaded here: cpu_performance_comparison.xls

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the moment you’ve been waiting for: a graph of a wide variety of CPU benchmarks, scaled by the price you pay for each CPU (click to expand the image.)

amd_fx-9590_vs_intel_core_i7CPUs in each bar series are ordered by retail price in ascending order. The FX-9590 is in yellow on the left of each series and Intel only has a CPU that beats the AMD offering in 4 out of 17 price-scaled benchmarks, most of which are synthetic and don’t represent any typical real-world workloads.

AMD wins again.

Update: In case you needed more proof that the FX-9590 is the best encoding chip, someone sent me a few links to more x264 benchmarks: 1 2 3