PC sales may be reaching a critical point of decline,. Nonetheless, there are legions of fans of performance desktops that will not abandon the format, and it's over those buyers that AMD and Intel continue to battle with their high-end processors.
AMD had all but ceded the highest of high ends to its rival, and its $1,000 Core i7 Extreme Edition processors. But rumors are afloat that it's going to take a shot at competing against those chips with a new FX series CPU.
According to tech site Hexus.net, the company is preparing a "Centurion" edition FX processor that boosts its eight "Vishera" cores to 5GHz — without any need for liquid cooling.
In comparison, Intel's top-of-the-line Core i7-3970X starts at 3.5GHz and has a Turbo mode of 4GHz (before overclocking). Of course, pure gigahertz numbers don't equate to actual performance, but this is certainly the type of eye-popping spec AMD would need to compete with the Extreme Edition.
Here's the other one: if the Hexus source is correct, AMD will be pricing the Centurion at $795, or roughly $200 less than the i7-3970X. That opens up a slightly larger market than the $1,000 price point at which Intel has sold all Extreme Edition processors, if not chipping away at Intel's sales.
That "if", however, will be predicated on the Centurion chip performing well enough that overclocking fans would be willing to abandon the Extreme Edition chips. Unfortunately, the FX series has generally been bested by Intel's Ivy Bridge line-up, though devotees will defend the recent AMD processors on price and performance grounds.
In the case of the Centurion, AMD will really need to boost that performance part of the equation. Would it be up to the task if the rumors turn out to be true? Stay tuned and we'll see if the Centurion ever sees the light of day.