AMD FX-6300: Processor review

AMD FX-6300: Processor review
When we were considering the various components to include in this feature, we agonised over whether or not to include processors and motherboards. Harsh words were spoken, mugs were thrown and tea and blood were spilt. They are quite obviously the key upgrades for a PC, but generally when you're upgrading one it makes sense that you upgrade the other. And trying to keep below the £100 budget and pick up a decent mobo/CPU combo would be practically impossible, especially when you consider you're looking to improve the performance of your current rig.

In the end. we decided that including motherboards in the test would be an exercise in futility-if you're not upgrading the processor there's probably very little to be gained by changing motherboard as well. On the flip side, we've kept in the CPU category for precisely the opposite reason. AMD has kept the same CPU socket for a few generations now, so older boards are still compatible with more modern CPUs, and you can pick up a decent AMD processor for less than £100.

So. as with the graphics card market. AMD gets the value crown. If you've got an AMD AMB board from the last year or so. there's a good chance that you'll just need a wee BIOS update to allow compatibility with the latest FX chips. If you're looking to move up from an old Phenom X6. you may not necessarily be gaining a huge amount - the previous generation of AMD processors had superior single threaded performance, which is arguably more influential in gaming.

But pick up anything below the top-end of the last AMD CPU generation and you're laughing. The FX-6300 uses the updated Bulldozer tech - codenamed Piledriver - and is the finest £100 CPU around. It will happily run up to a 5GHz overclock, and at that speed it will post games performance almost rivalling an Intel Core i5-3570K at stock speeds. For such a relatively modest upgrade cost, you're getting an awful lot of CPU technology, and a hell of a lot of multithreaded performance for your cash too.

That multi-threaded performance will also come in handy if you're looking for your machine to do more things other than gaming. For any multi-threaded application, the Piledriver tech really makes use of those six threads of processinggoodness - especially if you start waving that good ol’ overclocking stick about in earnest.

The performance boost this budget CPU can give an ageing AMD system is thoroughly impressive and is well worth the cash if you've got a motherboard that is capable of supporting it. AMD has been good in supporting the upgrade path, so it's worth investing in. A little extra processor performance will also always help keep your performance graphics card filled with data too.

AMD FX-6300
Price £100
Manufacturer AMD
Cores Six
Threads Six
Clock speed 3.5GHz
Socket AMD AM3*
Lithography 32nm