Originally Posted by metal_gunjee
Are there any immediate advantages to having the new instruction sets? (AVX2, FMA3)
No, the only real way to get anything out of instructions is to install Gentoo or something (seriously, not to sound like a /g/entooman or anything). Look at Skyrim, it came out a little while ago and it used x87 instructions over SSE, and SSE came out a long time ago and Intel has been telling people to flat out stop using x87 for around 10 years.
The Windows ecosystem is horrible for CISC CPUs that are meant to derive their performance from instructions that speed things up as opposed to improving the architecture that only performs a few simple instructions. I do feel though, that this is why Intel is so strong on legacy code. They eschew fancy instructions (ergo throw them out on low end products) for making architectures that can run older code more efficiently. The problem, I feel with this, is that new instructions can see huge speed ups (add an extra 0 as a starting point to Intel's generational gains since Nehalem) and it's more or less holding people back, a lot.
Skyrim isn't the only problem, when I recompiled LAME I saw a 60% speedup after enabling AVX, SSE, etc on my 8350.
All of those instructions are basically useless unless you can, at the very least, compile your own software or you can find a project (like Dolphin) where the devs are smart enough or care enough to take advantage of these things. It'll be at least 5 or 10 years before AVX2 trickles down to consumer applications in Windows, possibly longer because Intel has decided to fragment their CPU lines with which instructions they are allowed to run, so optimizing for an instruction set not only ends up being isolated to the new CPUs, but the new CPUs that have the new instructions (TSX on K series, I'm looking at you).
But don't get me wrong, if you can even simply run something like Ubuntu and compile the demanding programs on your own and optimize the CFLAGS, you'll still see massive gains. Finding a program that yields less than 10% increase in Gentoo is very rare (but I'm limited to testing FOSS software), and finding massive gains (like 60%, 100%) isn't all that rare.
You should really look into Linux if you want to really make your processor scream. Even if you just install ubuntu, compile x264 or whatever on your own, and then just use Linux for encoding, it's fine.
Poorly optimized software hurts all of us, and it's pretty annoying to know that some closed source program uses old instructions and you're not getting the performance you want, so you upgrade and get another 3% to 20% performance, when simply enabling those instructions on your old chip could double the speed.