Are More Cores and Higher Frequencies Really Better?

Are More Cores and Higher Frequencies Really Better?

Paul @ NeoComputers on 4th Aug 2020

Future Proofing

Back when the AMD FX series of CPU's launced, AMD claimed that the higher core count of these CPU's would mean great futrue proofing, and you wouldn't need to upgrade your CPU. Fast forward to 2020 and let's have a quick look at how these old chips hold up.

It's no secret the FX lineup was probably one of AMD's biggest flop. We will take the FX8370 as an example for this article, AMD published specifications of this chip claim it has 8 cores and 8 threads with a base clock of 4.0GHz and a boost clock of 4.3GHz, with a TDP of 125W. Keeping this chip cool required some serious thermal solution.

I still get asked a lot about the old FX series and if I could possibly obtain one of these chips for a refurbished build. When I ask why they would want an FX processor that runs on the AM3+ platform and uses DDR3 memory, I always get the answer of more cores and higher frequency than some of the newer chips. So how do some of the newer chips compare to this FX series CPU purely in terms of gaming?

How does it compare?

Straight out of the gate lets take a look at GTA 5 using very high to ultra settings. The FX 8370 at stock speeds can achieve on average 49FPS with around 35FPS 1% and 31FPS 0.1% lows. Let's now compare that to a stock Athlon 3000g this is a 2 core 4 thread 3.5GHz processor with a 35W TDP. This CPU retails for around £45 and uses the latest AM4/DDR4 platform. The 3000g at stock speeds can achieve on average 53FPS with around 40FPS 1% and 38FPS 0.1% lows. The story is much the same for the newest lineup of entry level ryzen processors from AMD such as the Ryzen 3 3100 4 core 8 thread with a base clock of 3.6GHz and a boost clock of 3.9GHz...In theory the FX CPU should be able to out perform this new CPU it has the higher core count and a higher base and boost frequency.....
- FX 8370 at stock speeds can achieve on average 49FPS with around 35FPS 1% and 31FPS 0.1% lows
- Ryzen 3100 stock speeds can achieve on average almost 90FPS with 65FPS 1% and close to 58FPS 0.1% lows.

The same goes for a lot of games however once you start to push into more CPU intensive games the 3000g does trail behind but not by much. In Hitman 2, F1 2019, The Division 2 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider the budget friendly Ryzen 3 3100 is still leading over the old FX chip with about 50% higher performance on average. Once we start to look at rendering tests the 3000g is totally left behind and understandably due to its low core and thread count but the 3100 still holds up and is able to perform render tasks in a fair amount of time. Having said that I would highly recommend at least a Ryzen 5 3600/ Intel i5 10600 or higher for such workloads.

Check out the latest Ryzen processors on Amazon here

Fancy Graphs Time

Grand Theft Auto V
Red Dead Redemption 2
Hitman 2

Blender Render

*Source: GamersNexus 04/08/2020


Although the FX chip has a higher core count and higher frequency the advances made in core the layout of the chip and the efficiency including thermal efficiency means that even lower end budget CPU's are a better buy in 2020. Looking at the second hand retailer CEX they sell the FX8370 for £100 in comparison you can buy a Ryzen 3 3100 for around £100 also with a higher price to performance ratio. Not to mention using the latest technology in terms of motherboard and memory.

A budget entry level system can potentially cost you the same amount as putting together one of these older FX systems and with the advances made in CPU's, GPU's and RAM it seems much more cost effective to use the latest components and have a clear upgrade path.