Are you choosing between new computers or just looking to upgrade your CPU? If you are, there is a pretty good chance you are stuck between two of the most popular choices out there today. The AMD FX-8350 and Intel i5-4460 are among the top of their class as budget-based performance processors. To help you in deciding, first let’s get some of the basics of what the processing function is and how they compare to each other.
CPU is an acronym that stands for Central Processing Unit. This is, to put simply, the “brain” of the computer. It is responsible for executing sequences of instructions that make up programs. A processor is commonly divided into cores which read and execute CPU instructions. Typically, the more cores the better the performance. Each core also has a set speed, called the clock speed. Usually a higher clock speed means better performance, but that is not always the case. Tech testers, such as the authors at Mysteryblock Reviews, have to constantly perform stress evaluations on PC hardware, both old and new, to examine their gaming performance. Unfortunately for consumers, evaluating performance value per dollar based on what is written on the product box is not enough.
How can you tell which is better in the Intel i5-4460 vs AMD FX-8350 battle?
There are a number of features that make up a good processor and they are usually written for us on the box of the product. Otherwise, a store clerk should be able to give us a detailed product description. While you won’t be able to gauge accurate real performance from product descriptions, you should still have a pretty good estimate of what you’re buying. Basically, keep an eye on the number of CPU cores, number of CPU threads, speed, individual and overall core performance, power usage, Bit width, memory size and cache size. Perhaps the most important is also the compatibility with your motherboard. AMD processors will only fit with certain AMD-based motherboards, and likewise for Intel CPUs.
The comparison between the AMD FX-8350 and the Intel i5-4460 is a frequent topic of discussion, especially for gaming purposes. This is because they are very close to each other cost-wise and offer great gaming performance when paired with a decent graphics card. So let’s take a look at their individual characteristics and see how they fare against one another.
— Looking to pair one of these budget CPUs with a moderately-priced graphics card? We’ve written up a thorough comparison between the GTX 970 and GTX 1060. —
AMD FX-8350 vs Intel i5-4460 specs
- CPU speed: 4.0 GHz
- Turbo speed: 4.2 GHz
- Physical cores: 8
- Threads: 8
- TDP (power): 125W
- Lithography: 32nm
- Socket: AM3+
- Unlocked multiplier: Yes
- L3 cache: 8MB
- CPU speed: 3.2 GHz
- Turbo speed: 3.4 GHZ
- Physical cores: 4
- Threads: 4
- TDP (power): 84W
- Lithography: 22nm
- Socket: LGA 1150
- Unlocked multiplier: No
- L3 cache: 6MB
Put into words, the FX-8350 is a high-performing, quality CPU, made with the Piledriver architecture. It has 8 cores and can be clocked to 4.2GHz. There are 8MB of L3Cache and the Turbo Core and Virtualization features are activated. It does not have any graphics integrated, but its gaming performance is solid. Just be sure to pair it with a decent video card when building your own desktop.
On the other hand, the i5-4460 does have integrated graphics. While integrated graphics are unimportant when you build your own PC since you’ll most likely have a dedicated graphics card anyway, it is worth mentioning for budget build purposes. This CPU is based on the Haswell architecture, which despite being a little dated, makes it slightly more affordable as a high-performing CPU. There are 4 cores that can clock to a turbo speed of 3.4GHz (you may overclock past this, however) and the L3 Cache is 6MB. Again, Virtualization and Turbo Boost are available. Overall, this processor performs very well both in gaming and other strenuous process-based PC work.
Advantages: AMD FX-8350 vs Intel i5-4460
The advantages of using AMD FX-8350 probably start with its multi-thread performance being better. Depending on what you use it for, tests for this chip show it being up to 41% faster. The memory is higher and most importantly it is unlocked, so you can achieve greater clock speed, given that your motherboard has overclocking function. FX-8350 also has enabled XOP instructions and an FMA4 instruction set extension. These features are somewhat AMD-specific and not widely supported by applications yet, so their usefulness varies.
The advantages of using Intel i5-4460, on the other hand, begin with the fact that it deals much better in single-threaded tasks. Also, while integrated graphics are never a good solution for serious gaming, it is an option for those that are temporarily out of a dedicated card. One instance is if you are upgrading cards and have to sell your old one to buy the new one. Another situation may be that your graphics card burns out. In either scenario, integrated graphics could be a temporary solution so you can at least display something on your desktop. AVX2 instructions are included in this CPU, which are not yet very broadly used, but that should improve in future programs. Lastly, the overall power consumption is lower with the i5-4460, making the i5 a better processor for budget PCs. Do note that this i5 chip is not unlocked, meaning you cannot overclock it for better performance. Look for Intel-based processors around the same price but with a “K” at the end of its name if you’re interested in additional performance.
Also important is distinguishing the motherboard compatibility between the two. The i5 uses the ever-popular LGA 1150 socket, so if you’ve ever owned an Intel chip in the past, chances are your motherboard already fits. However, the AMD FX-8350 uses the AM3+ socket, which is a little bit more specific. Be sure to check your motherboard, or you may have to buy a new one.
As we have already mentioned, these multi-core processors are more than capable of running all of your desktop operations and fairly intensive programs given they have other parts to assist, like sufficient RAM and power supply for example. For the average user, one only interested in light gaming, we would even suggest the chip overly exceed performance needs. On the other hand, PC gaming requires strong and fast processing units and either of these two, paired with the right video card, enough RAM, and enough power supply, can easily do the job.
Having that in mind, we would assume that the Intel i5-4460 vs AMD FX-8350 comparison would go to the 8-cored AMD against the 4-core Intel. In reality, it is not quite as simple as that. The results may vary depending on the games you wish to play since the games themselves have different optimizations. So let’s go through a quick play-by-play on a few popular games regarding CPU usage.
AMD FX-8350 vs Intel i5-4460 game performance
As mentioned, gaming performance may vary depending on the game. For the given moment, at least, most games are optimized to a maximum of 4 cores, and few will give much work for cores 5-8. For instance, one of the more popular games, Battlefield 4, can utilize all of the 8 cores FX-8350 has to offer. On the other hand, games that use two to four cores will find i5-4460 better suited.
Another example is in Watch Dogs, where isn’t much improvement in 4 vs 8-core utilization. In other tests, games like FIFA 15 have better performance using the i5-4460, with better performance per core. As we go through more modern games, though, the 8 cores of the AMD FX-8350 will be far better suited.
It is noteworthy that if you are planning on doing more complex things, such as rendering, you may find the FX-8350 more useful. Also keep in mind that the video card is a far better factor in whether you get good framerates or not. We did do tests using the same graphics card and simply switching out processors. Overall, the FX-8350 was superior in most evaluations.
To summarize, in the AMD FX-8350 vs Intel i5-4460 fight, the former performs faster in multi-threaded tasks. Its memory bandwidth is higher and it allows for overclocking, which is best for the intermediate gamers. On the other hand, the i5-4460 has great performance on all kinds of programs and does have an integrated graphics solution, which could be useful in various scenarios. The Intel i5 also uses less power, helping you stay on the affordable side of things.
In general opinion, for gaming purposes at least, the FX-8350 has a nice edge over the i5-4460. On the other hand, if you need a cheaper overall solution and don’t plan on fiddling with overclocking, the i5-4460 is also a very nice processor that has stood the test of time. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which one is better suited for your specific needs.