HWM+HardwareZone.com Tech Awards 2014: Editor's Choice - Part 2


Best Desktop CPU

Best Desktop CPU

For AMD, since 2012, the company soldiered on with their tried and tested 32nm SOI fabrication process. Their efforts culminated in their most powerful 8-core desktop processor that had a turbo clock speed of 5GHz. The AMD FX-9590 CPU has a base clock of 4.7GHz, and features an improved Piledriver microarchitecture. For dominant Intel, its 4th generation "Haswell" Intel core CPUs are still based on the same 22nm process technology, with 3D Tri-Gate transistors, as featured on the previous "Ivy Bridge" processors. However, Intel made several enhancements that include renewed graphics cores for better display support, Haswell's incorporation of the CPU voltage regulation phase, and improvements made the new chip's power efficiency. We pitted the best, top-end consumer desktop processors from both chip makers.

 

Nominees: 

 

  • AMD FX-9590
  • Intel Core i7-4770K

 

And the Winner Is...

The latest 4th generation Intel i7-4770K was launched in June 2013. Due to its new LGA 1150 package, it isn’t compatible to the previous generation Intel Z77 motherboards. Hence, upgrading to the new Intel processors entailed a motherboard upgrade as well. Despite this, the Core i7-4770K is considered a direct replacement of the previous Core i7-3770K chip.

Selected CPU Benchmarks
Benchmark/Model AMD FX-9590 'Black Edition' Intel Core i7-4770K
SYSmark 2012 184 231
Cinebench 11.5 7.84 8.09
Handbrake Video Encoding 56.7 seconds 63.6 seconds

Although the Intel Core i7-4770K processor is older than the AMD FX 8-Core FX-9590 Black Edition CPU, our benchmarks showed the Intel processor to be the consistent winner. The only exception was the Handbrake video encoding test where the AMD CPU beat its Intel counterpart by being almost 6 seconds faster, but that's primarily due to AMD's vastly higher clock speed than any other reason. The microarchitecture of the FX-9590 processor hasn’t changed as it features the 32nm Piledriver one. The main point mooted by the company is the ability of the processor to hit a theoretical high clock speed of 5GHz under the right operating conditions, courtesy of its AMD Turbo Core 3.0 technology. However, this didn’t bode well for the processor as it was consistently weaker than the competing Haswell chip in many applications. It also guzzles a lot more power than Intel and thus requires a more accomplished CPU cooler. One of its limited strong suits is its compatibility with existing AM3+ socket motherboards; hence, its upgrade path will definitely be less costly in comparison to the Intel Core i7-4770 processor.

Scoring Breakdown
Criteria/Model AMD FX-9590 'Black Edition' Intel Core i7-4770K
Performance 7.0 8.5
Features 8.0 9.0
Value 8.0 9.0
Overall 7.5 9.0
Price US$350 US$325

For more details on how we selected our winners, check out the full reviews and articles listed at the References section at the end.