AMD updates its FX processors: 8-core chip has 4GHz base clock, ’15 percent’ more oomph, $195 price tag
If you get the impression that AMD is diverting its energy away from traditional CPUs and towards APUs and fresher PC form factors such as all-in-ones, then you’re certainly right — but you’re also slightly ahead of the game. The company promises there’s a still a good few years of life left in its CPU-only chips and the AM3+ socket, and it’s putting today’s announcement forward as evidence. As of now, last year’s eight-core FX-8150 has been superseded on retailers’ shelves by the FX-8350, which notches the stock clock speed up to 4GHz, or 4.2GHz on turbo (alas with no obvious sign of that resonant mesh we once heard about). The full stack (codenamed ‘Vishera’) includes eight-, six- and four-core options, all based on the new Piledriver architecture which — when combined with these higher clock speeds — promises an overall performance uplift of around 15 percent versus the old Bulldozer cores. To be fair though, those Bulldozers weren’t so snappy to begin with, and besides, the most significant performance claims with this upgrade relate to multi-threaded applications and a few gaming titles like Skyrim and Civ 5. Judging from the slide deck below, gains in other areas of performance may be lower — perhaps in the region of seven percent — so as usual we’re going to roundup a bunch of reviews later today before we jump to any conclusions.
If it turns out that stock performance alone isn’t enough to sell these chips, then potential buyers still ought to check out FX’s pricing relative to Intel — not least because, as is typical, AMD sells overclockable chips at no extra charge. The top-end FX-8350 will hit the market at $195, which is not only cheaper than some earlier leaks suggested, but also $40 cheaper than an unlocked Core i5-3570K that has a lower clock speed and a smaller L3 cache — although the relative performance of these two chips remains to be independently tested. Meanwhile, the entry-level quad-core FX-4300 will virtually match the price of a locked i3-2120 at $122, but can be readily overclocked to 5GHz with water-cooling. AMD is also making a few claims based on the cost of multiple components in a rig: for example, that you can spend $372 on an FX-8350 and Radeon HD 7850 combo that delivers a 25 to 70 percent gaming advantage over a similarly priced Core i5 3570K with a GeForce GTX 650 Ti. Again, stay tuned for our roundup and we’ll figure out just how compelling this really is.
The first images of what’s purported to be the new Nikon D600 have appeared online. The budget (for photographers, at least) full-frame camera is expected to come with a 24.7-megapixel sensor, a 3.2-inch LCD display and a built-in autofocus motor. What makes us hopeful of its rapid arrival is today’s earlier announcement concerning the FX-compatible Nikkor 24-85mm lens — the pair combined would make a devastating duo if the company hits the mark on pricing. Those in the market for a gentle introduction to DSLRs can take a peak at another picture after the break.
After getting our eager mitts on Nikon’s long overdue D3 successor, aptly named the D4, we got a second chance to revisit our fat-bodied, photo-taking friend at the company’s CES booth. The 16.2MP DSLR features a 3.2-inch LCD screen and is capable of 1080p video capture at 30fps. But that’s not why we went back for more and it’s not why you’re reading this right now. We were keen to put the D4′s big, bad networking capabilities to the test — one of which links an array of up to ten of the cameras together for simultaneous, remote shooting over WiFi. Unfortunately, this feature requires use of the TW-5A wireless dongle, which is still awaiting FCC certification and could not be demonstrated. Neither could the imaging company show off the one-to-one connection that allows an auxiliary camera to be controlled from a primary unit. We did get to briefly interact with the camera’s native web server running on a laptop, from which you can snap shots, toggle settings (like ISO and shutter speed), playback and download your recordings. You can catch a peek of the interface and an extra look at this sought after shooter after the break.
Nikon announces D4 DSLR camera: full-frame 16.2 MP sensor, 204,000 extended ISO, XQD support, $6,000 price tag
More than two years after the D3S began shipping and roughly a half-decade after we first got a peek at the D3, Nikon has finally announced the full-frame DSLR’s long-awaited successor. As expected, the Nikon D4 boosts both megapixel rating (to 16.2) and extended ISO (204,800 at Hi-4), and includes a brand new full-frame FX-format sensor. Video capture also jumped from 720/24p to 1080/30p, but so did the camera’s somewhat-out-of-reach price tag — you’ll be dropping $5,999.95 when the D4 hits stores in late February. You’re clearly not spending all that hard-earned photo dough for nothing, though. There’s also a 91k-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Meter III, compared to a 1,005-pixel meter in the D3S, enabling the camera to evaluate the color and brightness of a scene with much greater precision, yielding much more accurate results. And since the D4 reportedly offers phenomenal low-light performance, you’ll probably be using it quite often in the dark — letting you get good use out of the new back-lit controls.
Photographers can preview images using the 921k-dot 3.2-inch LCD, which offers a 170-degree viewing angle and ambient light sensor. HD video can be previewed on the display as well, or directly through the HDMI port, which also supports uncompressed 8-bit preview video output with optional overlay. Naturally, the D4 is fast. It can power on and be ready to shoot in approximately 0.012 seconds, and can capture 10 fps stills at full resolution with full auto focus and exposure. Willing to lock both AF and AE? The D4 goes to 11. A new 51-point AF system offers full cross-type focusing that’s compatible with all Nikon lenses, even when paired with a teleconverter. The D4 includes two card slots with support for both UDMA-7 CF and the recently-announced XQD format, which brings write speeds of up to 125 MB/s — enough to capture 105 consecutive RAW images at 10 fps. You’ll find full details and specs on the D4 just past the break, along with an overview of Nikon’s new AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G FX-format lens, which is set to ship in March for $499.95.
AMD fans have endured a long wait for this, while being reduced to spectators as Intel spews out an ever-increasing horde of Sandy Bridge variants and builds up the hype around its next-gen Ivy Bridge architecture. But the new FX series of processors is finally here and will be available to buy in the next few days, with the top-end FX-8150 priced at $245 in exchange for eight cores, a 3.6GHz base clock speed and easy over-clocking to 4.8GHz using the packaged Overdrive software. Your AM3+ motherboard is crying out for the upgrade, but don’t succumb until you’ve clicked past the break — we’ve got details of the full range and pricing, our initial impressions and an eyes-on video that includes a detailed chat with the guys from AMD.