With our lab coats donned, our test benches primed, and our benchmarks at the ready, we look for answers to nine of the most burning performance-related questions
If there’s one thing that defines the Maximum PC ethos, it’s an obsession with Lab-testing. What better way to discern a product’s performance capabilities, or judge the value of an upgrade, or simply settle a heated office debate? This month, we focus our obsession on several of the major questions on the minds of enthusiasts. Is liquid cooling always more effective than air? Should serious gamers demand PCIe 3.0? When it comes to RAM, are higher clocks better? On the surface, the answers might seem obvious. But, as far as we’re concerned, nothing is for certain until it’s put to the test. We’re talking tests that isolate a subsystem and measure results using real-world workloads. Indeed, we not only want to know if a particular technology or piece of hardware is truly superior, but also by how much. After all, we’re spending our hard-earned skrilla on this gear, so we want our purchases to make real-world sense. Over the next several pages, we put some of the most pressing PC-related questions to the test. If you’re ready for the answers, read on.
Note: This article was originally featured in the October 2013 issue of the magazine
A bridge too far: Is the big boy version of Ivy Bridge too little and too late for enthusiasts? (Ivy Bridge-E review)
The release of Intel’s Ivy Bridge E series of chips is about as anti-climactic as you can get. It’s a chip that’s essentially based on a CPU microarchitecture already going out of style. Haswell, for the most part, has stolen its thunder.
If you’ve ready any reviews of when Ivy Bridge processors came out 16 months ago you already know the story: 3D transistors, newer 22nm process and amazing improvements in performance! Well, amazing if you only count the graphics performance. On the x86 side, what we got was a decent, evolutionary upgrade. It instantly replaced the Sandy Bridge parts as our recommended part but it certainly wasn’t the 20 percent performance or more jump people have been chasing ever since the Core 2 and Nehalem Core i7 parts were introduced.
Can AMD make magic? Check out our in-depth Vishera benchmarks.
On paper, AMD’s Bulldozer microarchitecture always sounded like a mean, green machine. When it landed last year, though, in the form of the Zambezi processor (aka FX-8150), it actually went about as fast as a bulldozer.
AMD didn’t just give up and curl into a ball. The company went back to work polishing the FX chip into the new AMD FX-8350 “Vishera.” The chip might look like a Zambezi, but it features an improved branch predictor, improved scheduler, larger L1 translate lookaside buffer, new FMA3 and F16C instructions, L2 improvements, among many other changes.
Vishera looks the same externally and the good news: it’ll use the same AM3+ socket too.