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I decided this month that it was time to look at replacing my AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE chip with something that could transcode high-definition video faster. Sure enough, I chose the AMD FX-9590 CPU. Arguments against the AMD FX-9590 on forums such as Tom’s Hardware and AnandTech include “power efficiency is too low/TDP is too high” and “Intel has higher/better instructions per clock (IPC)” and “Intel’s i7 performs so much better.” Notably, the price to obtain the superior Intel performance was almost completely ignored in these discussions. Consider that the AMD FX-9590 retails for around $260 and the Intel Core i7-4770K it is often compared to costs $335; that $75 difference is enough cash to buy a cheap motherboard or a 120GB SSD, and also represents a 29% price increase over the FX-9590. Does the i7-4770K really perform 29% better than the FX-9590? The short answer is “no.” The long exception to that otherwise straightforward answer is “unless you spend all of your time calculating Julia mandelbrot sets and the digits of pi.”

Over two years ago, I wrote an article about how AMD CPUs beat Intel CPUs hands down when you factor in the price you pay compared to the performance you get. Most of the arguments I received against my assertion were against the single-figure synthetic benchmark (PassMark) I used to establish a value for CPU performance. This is understandable; synthetic benchmarks that boil down to “One Number To Rule Them All” don’t help you decide if a CPU is good for your specific computer workload. This time, I’ve sought out a more in-depth benchmark data set which can be seen here. I compiled some the relevant figures (excluding most of the gaming benchmarks) into a spreadsheet along with the Newegg retail price of each CPU as of 2014-10-23, used a dash of math to convert “lower is better” scores into an arbitrary “higher is better” value and some fixed multipliers per benchmark to make them all fit into one huge graph which can be downloaded here: cpu_performance_comparison.xls

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the moment you’ve been waiting for: a graph of a wide variety of CPU benchmarks, scaled by the price you pay for each CPU (click to expand the image.)

amd_fx-9590_vs_intel_core_i7CPUs in each bar series are ordered by retail price in ascending order. The FX-9590 is in yellow on the left of each series and Intel only has a CPU that beats the AMD offering in 4 out of 17 price-scaled benchmarks, most of which are synthetic and don’t represent any typical real-world workloads.

AMD wins again.

Update: In case you needed more proof that the FX-9590 is the best encoding chip, someone sent me a few links to more x264 benchmarks: 1 2 3


We purchased a brand new $100 motherboard (socket LGA 1155) from Newegg for an Intel Core i5 desktop system, intended to replace the fully functional $50 motherboard we previously bought from them because the customer needed more PCIe x1 slots. We replaced a known good, burn-in tested, never-overclocked computer system’s motherboard with a better motherboard. Immediately upon powering up the brand new motherboard in the case with the Core i5 CPU properly installed (we’re not newbies to the PC building game), a voltage regulator on the motherboard fried. It was visibly charred and clearly the reason for the board not functioning; this component also killed the known-good power supply that was connected to it, requiring us to give the customer a free power supply. We immediately repackaged the board identically to how it shipped to us originally and performed an RMA of the board, and I just received this email about the RMA status:

Dear Customer,

My name is Carl and I am contacting you in regards to RMA [rma_number]. The RMA was placed on hold by our inspections department due to reported physical damage on the MB ASROCK|P67 PRO3 SE P67 LGA1155 R.

Normally when an item is received damaged or missing the retail box and/or accessories, it voids our return policy and the item becomes ineligible to be accepted by Newegg. When a motherboard, and other items, are returned back to Newegg, they are inspected under a magnifier and are supervised. We look to see if the board was ever installed and look for signs of end user damage, aside from testing the unit to check its functionality. Signs of installation include bent pins, missing CPU cover or thermal paste.

Our records reflect that when the motherboard was received under RMA# [rma_number] at the Newegg warehouse, an inspection was conducted based on the notes entered in the RMA as to the reason for the return. At that time, the inspection revealed that the motherboard had sustained physical damage to the CPU socket wherein bent pins were detected.

While the RMA does not fall within our return policy guidelines, Newegg has authorized an exception be made in this case and we agree to accept the item as is and process the RMA for a replacement.

At this time, the RMA will be processed, as originally requested and as soon as possible.

We want you to know we appreciate your relationship with us and if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me directly and it will be my pleasure to assist you.

Thank you and have an EGGcellent day!

Best Regards,

CPU/Motherboard RMA Team
T. 800.390.1119
F. 626.271.9524 – Once You Know, You Newegg!

Although Newegg did the right thing in this instance (replacing a DOA motherboard that fried due to a catastrophic voltage regulator short) a cursory search reveals that most people who have problems with LGA 1155/1156 motherboards are rarely granted the right to a replacement under warranty, and the reason is always the same:

The LGA 1155 and 1156 sockets for the Core i3/i5/i7 and (Celeron/Pentium equivalents) represent a terrible and unnecessary engineering decision by Intel that effectively neuters any warranty you may have while risking that somewhere down the line a very minor mishap could easily destroy the socket on an expensive motherboard, rendering it worthless.

Despite having written articles about how AMD beats Intel if performance-per-dollar ratios are considered, I have built many Intel-based systems for customers, often due to factors such as availability of parts and motherboard features such as onboard video (or simply at the request of the customer.) I don’t have a problem with Intel processors, and I haven’t exactly been unhappy with them in computers I have previously owned such as my (sold) Core i7-2630QM laptop. After having the LGA 11xx socket pin issue personally bite me in the backside, though, I am beyond bitter on Intel processors, and I would strongly encourage anyone who is building a new computer system or rebuilding an existing one with a new motherboard and CPU to boycott Intel processors and matching motherboards until they return to a sane pin-on-chip CPU design and dump the spring-loaded fragile pin-in-socket design they currently use.

There is no valid excuse for this, Intel. You make excellent chips with crap socket physics, and in the end, your Haswell processors are garbage if the boards are so fragile that they break at every opportunity imaginable.

Vote with your dollars. Buy AMD. In all honesty, my AMD Phenom II X6 1035T has been the best desktop processor I’ve ever had; on software compilation tasks, it blows my Phenom II X4 965 out of the water, plus my AMD A8-4500M laptop can play Portal 2 in 2xMSAA graphics without a hiccup. Given my personal experiences, I have to say that I don’t know why anyone would continue to purchase Intel hardware, especially now that all Intel motherboard RMAs can be denied by bending up a few pins in the CPU socket and calling it “user error.”

SCENARIO: You use an Intel-based computing platform with an Intel SATA controller. You move an existing Windows installation or system image to a larger hard drive. After moving to the larger drive, you experience issues with services not starting, and/or Outlook or OneNote complains about Windows [Desktop] Search. You may experience problems with Windows Defender or Windows Update not functioning properly.

SYMPTOMS: Most of the time, this problem will be discovered when starting Outlook or OneNote, in the form of the message “The Microsoft Windows Desktop Search component is not properly installed.” There may also be the following Event IDs in the system event logs:

  • 257: “The Cryptographic Services service failed to initialize the Catalog Database. The ESENT error was: -583”
  • 1006: “The Windows Search Service has failed to create the new search index. Internal error <4, 0x8004117f, Failed to add project: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows\Projects>.”
  • 7023: “The Windows Defender service terminated with the following error: -1906441657”
  • 7024 or 7031 or 7034: “The Windows Search service terminated with service-specific error -2147217025.”

SOLUTION: You are running an outdated version of the Intel Matrix Storage Manager and Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver and software, and it is interfering with the functionality of these services. Visit the Intel download center to download and install the latest Intel Rapid Storage Technology software for your operating system.

Please leave a comment with feedback if this is helpful or not helpful!

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