AMD FX-8150 Processor Review – Bulldozer Arrives

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The AMD FX-8150 Press Kit & Water Cooler

AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer Processor Idle

Last week we took delivery of the AMD FX-8150 press kit for this launch article. The box was rather huge as press kits aren’t usually 23″ by 17″ in size.

AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer Processor Idle

Included inside the box was an ASUS Crosshair V Formula motherboard, an AMD 8-core FX-8150 processor, an empty metal tin and a large Texas style belt buckle.

AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer Processor Idle

The first thing that we had to check out was the massive belt buckle that AMD made for the FX series processor launch.  The metal belt buckle has a scorpion on it, which is the mascot for the AMD 990FX platform. Prior to scorpion you had the dragon platform, which was the 890FX.

AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer Processor Idle

The empty metal tin that was inside the press kit was actually a retail boxed processor packaging.  It looks like AMD is doing away with the cardboard box and going with these sweet metal tins. They’d make for great storage if it didn’t have the big hole in the side for where the processor is shown. AMD obviously spent some time designing this tin and it looks way better than the box art that we saw way back in March 2011.

AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer Processor Idle

When we opened up the ASUS Crosshair V Formula motherboard we found the AMD FX-8150 processor was already installed in the board. This is great news as for a second we thought they forgot the processor!  AMD did not include the reference cooler with the FX-8150, but did say that they are not introducing a new cooler and that if we have the retail cooler for the Phenom II X6 1100T that it would be the same. The problem is that AMD doesn’t ever send us retail coolers, so we went up to Micro Center and bought a retail boxed 1100T just to get the cooler out of it for testing.

AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer Processor Idle

The stock cooler that comes with the Phenom II X6 1100T features a copper base with four copper heat pipes that attach to aluminum cooling fin. The cooler is topped off with a 80mm PWM fan that uses a 4-pin fan header. This particular heatsink said Cooler Master on it, so the source of this one was obviously them.

AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer Processor Idle

This morning we heard a knock on the door and we got an overnight package from AMD! It appears that AMD feels guilty for sending this to us on the day of launch as they tied a ribbon on it. This AMD Liquid CPU Cooling System will be available only with the FX-8150 processor in select regions. AMD informed us that this water cooling kit will not be available as a standalone part and must be bought with the FX-8150 processor. 

AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer Processor Idle

The cooler is made by Asetek and closely resembles the Antec KÜHLER H2O 920 Liquid Cooling System that we have already reviewed. Since AMD got this cooler to us just 12
hours before launch, there was no way to give it a fair shake in time for this
article. AMD also said that it would add around $100 to the price of the FX-8150, so we can assume this cooler to be available with the FX-8150 for $345.  We have begun testing this cooler and will post a review of it on the FX-8150 later this week to see how the system performs and overclocks with the factory air cooler and then this water cooler.

AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer Processor Idle

AMD has said that the Zambezi-FX series of CPUs will be very overclocking friendly and that you can expect to reach 5.0 GHz on air and 5.2 GHz on water when run with dual cores. If you want to break the 8GHz mark you’ll have to be using extreme cooling in the likes of liquid nitrogen or liquid helium. AMD shows only a 200-300MHz overclock gain from going from the default AMD air cooler to a water cooler, so it will be interesting to see if it is worth the extra $100 cost.

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