AMD’s Ryzen processors are set to launch quite soon, with some rumours pointing to the end of February 2017 as the launch date for their comeback to the CPU market. This leaves enthusiasts questioning what happens to AMD’s older CPU lineup, however, which has been in production for nearly five years on the desktop with the AM3+ socket. There is probably about half a million CPUs based on the Bulldozer architecture in the retail channel right now, and AMD can’t afford to write off all of that stock in the move to Ryzen. As it happens, the company has planned for this ahead of time, and announced their plans for the future of the FX family in a blog post. In a nutshell, they’re going to be selling alongside Ryzen in stores, but not at the same level.
In the blog post, AMD notes that their FX processors have a lot of the benefits that Ryzen offers to consumers, just at a different level with lower pricing. They note that they offer twice the number of cores compared to Intel’s chips at the same price point, and that every FX CPU ships with an unlocked multiplier.
“As modern games transition to low level APIs and use more threads, the AMD strategy of ‘more cores at the price point’ is expected to deliver competitive performance in the latest, greatest, gaming titles,” AMD says. “The AMD FX Processor remains a strong and viable product line in AMD’s roadmap.”
“As one of AMDs strongest and most reliable processors, AMD FX Processors remain a viable product offering from AMD. Providing powerful performance at very competitive prices, AMD Ryzen processors shouldn’t be seen as a competitor to AMD FX, but an addition to AMD’s roadmap. With an expanded roadmap of processors, AMD Ryzen and AMD FX Processors go hand-in-hand to offer customers a variety of choice for whatever their needs and budget may be.”
This may result in AMD offering FX processors for even less money, which would help to extend the life of the socket AM3+ platform even further, but it’s clear that AMD isn’t planning to introduce a refresh of Piledriver processors under a new production node to reduce power consumption. I think that we’re going to see Ryzen CPUs slowly phase out the FX chips at their older price points, until stock either doesn’t exist, or can’t possibly attract any new sales. This is a good financial decision from AMD to not take heavy losses to their books, but it does mean that some consumers may be confused by the fact that these super-old chips are still selling online and in stores.