AMD is reportedly planning to make some big price cuts in its FX line of processors, the top of the line desktop chips aimed at gamers and overclockers. The move comes on the heels of a disappointing Q2, while Intel did well, and because Intel has a new chip aimed at the FX market, the "Devil’s Canyon" line.
Hobbyist site X-Bit Labs says that starting September 1, AMD's top of the line FX-9590, with eight cores and a clock speed of 4.70 (can be boosted to 5.0GHz) and 8MB of L2 and L3 cache will be priced at $215 in lots of 1,000, down from its current $299 price.
The next step down, the FX-9370 (eight cores, 4.40GHz to 4.70GHz, 8MB L2/L3 cache) will drop from $219 to $199. The rest of the chips in the FX line will be cut by about $10. Some older chips may not see a price change or even be discontinued, the site claims.
AMD introduced the FX-9590 and the FX-9370 last year under the codename "Centurion" as a response to Intel's Haswell line. The chips are beasts, though, with 220 watt TDWs and they require advanced cooling systems. They were initially only available to select system integrators and sold for $800-$900 per unit.
In addition to the price cuts, AMD is also rumored to be introducing new mid-range FX-series processors on September 1. The FX-8370 and the FX-8370E both come with eight cores, 4.10GHz clock speed, with turbo boost to 4.30GHz clock-rates, 8MB L2 and L3 cache, but with TDWs of 125 watts and 95 watts, respectively. Both will be priced at $189 in bulk quantities.
This is AMD's response to the new chips coming from Intel, and quite frankly, it's a poor one. The FX chips are based on the Piledriver architecture, which is more than two years old now and has its share of flaws. The new architecture, Steamroller, is used in the new generation of APUs like the Kaveri line.
AMD has always competed on price, which unfortunately seems to be the only arrow in the quiver against Intel with a newer architecture and a smaller die size. That's why I questioned the wisdom of a distraction like going into the SSD business, which AMD has officially launched. Yes, it's just AMD putting its name on a Toshiba/OCZ product, but they need to keep their eye on the CPU ball and not allow any distractions.