Last year AMD introduced the AMD FX-9590 and FX-9370 processors, its fastest CPUs. We have now extensively tested both of them.
You probably know the story. AMD has lagged behind Intel in terms of raw processor performance since the launch of the Core 2 Duo. In the high-end segment, where Intel has the Core i7 processors, AMD hasn't had any products for a couple of years now. The fastest AMD processor until recently, the 8-core FX-8350, falls between the Intel Core i5 4670K and Core i7 4770K in multi-threaded benchmarks, and definitely not the 6-core Socket 2011 processors.
In order to have something for the high-end segment, AMD created the FX-9590 and FX-9370 processors based on the same 8-core Vishera chip as the FX-8350 and the other current FX models. The new chips have been carefully selected and tuned to run at a maximum of 5 GHz and 4.7 GHz, respectively. That's a significant step up from the 4.2 GHz of the FX-8350. This also significantly increases the energy consumption, and the FX CPUs weren't the most efficient to begin with. The FX-9370 and FX-9590 have a TDP of no less than 220 watts. To put this in perspective, the FX-8350 has a TDP of 125 watts and the fastest Intel desktop CPUs have a TDP of 130 watts.
Since cooling a chip like that is a challenge, AMD initially planned on only selling the two CPUs to system builders who would combine them with liqiud cooling. In the end AMD decided to sell the processors separately, with the flagship FX-9590 priced at no less than 900 dollars. In September they cut that by 60 percent, and you can now find it for $335 and the FX-9370 for $247.