Intel has been beating AMD on every front but price for a couple of generations now as the Bulldozer microarchitecture and its descendants have had an unpleasant uphill climb. Power consumption, performance per clock, it all takes its toll. However, we took a couple of AMD’s most popular chips for a test drive and found that things aren’t anywhere near as bad as benchmarks might lead you to believe. Quite the opposite, actually.
About this time last year, AMD's new Bulldozer-based FX series launched to bright-eyed system builders who expected the new architecture to challenge Intel's increasingly comfortable position in the upper-end processor market. Unfortunately, Bulldozer wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
Now, the company is refreshing its desktop processors with Piledriver, an enhanced version of Bulldozer that focuses on improving instructions per clock and frequency. In other words, instead of a major overhaul, Piledriver picks up where Bulldozer left off, which may disappoint those who wanted AMD to abandon the architecture.