AMD FX-8350 8-Core Black Edition
Right on the heels of the AMD Never Settle game bundles and the latest Catalyst 12.11 driver announcement last night, AMD is making yet another big announcement tonight! The new AMD flagship processor has arrived! The new flagship codenamed 'Vishera' is the first new highend part is a roughly a year. The new AMD FX-8350 features the same 'Piledriver' cores that we saw a few weeks back with the AMD A10-5800K APU. One of the upsides to the new AMD FX-Series of processors is that we aren't looking at a whole new platform like we did with the AMD A10-5800K APU, we can continue to use the AMD 990FX/SB950 chipset motherboards that we have come to love over the past year or so.
The AMD FX-8350 is the first 8-core processor to feature a base clock of 4GHz! The FX-4170 is a quad core processor in the previous generation that comes clocked at 4.2GHz/4.3GHz (base/turbo), but that's just a quad-core. Having eight cores at 4GHz is impressive, after all it wasn't that long ago that we were striving to break 4GHz when overclocking.
AMD is launching four new processors tonight, all of them retail less for less than $200. The flagship AMD FX-8350 carries the highest price, and it's only $195.
- AMD FX-8350 8-core $195
- AMD FX-8320 8-core $169
- AMD FX-6300 6-core $132
- AMD FX-4300 4-core $122
The new AMD 'Piledriver' modules are essentially revamped 'Bulldozer' cores. There have been a number of improvements made and AMD expects us to see an improvement over processors like the FX-8150 that use the 'Bulldozer' core of roughly 14%. If we factor in the new Turbo Core 3 technology we can expect a bigger performance gain according to AMD.
The new FX 'Piledriver' processors will be available in All of the new AMD FX processors will be built around the same die which measures ~315mm2. The new FX processors will be manufactured using Global Foundries' 32nm process and consists of ~1.2 billion transistors.
AMD has processors out there for everybody. If you're looking for the ultimate in speed there is the new FX-Series of processor like we are looking at today. If you are looking for a system to do some gaming on without the added cost of a discrete level graphics card the A-Series APU is a likely a good fit for you. If you simply need a daily driver for surfing the web and other basic task the AMD E-Series could be a great fit as it offers an amazing price to performance ratio. No matter what you need AMD has an option that's right for you.
AMD FX-Series Processor Specifications
|CPU||32nm / AM3+|
|TDP Configs||95W, 125W|
|Processor Core||“Piledriver” (up to 8 Cores), 8MB L2 cache, 256-bit FPUs, 8MB L3 cache|
|Memory||DDR3, 1333-1866, 1.5V|
|Performance Management|| -Core Level: CC6 Power State
-Module Level: L2 Cache power gating via CC6
The Legit Reviews Test System
The Test System
Before we look at the numbers, let's take a brief look at the test
system that was used. All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows
7 Ultimate 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no
other software programs running.
AMD 990FX Test Platform:
The AMD Socket FM2 platform that we used to test the AMD A10-5800K processor was the ASUS Crosshair V Formula motherboard with BIOS 1605 that came
out on 10/11/2012. The Corsair Dominator Platinum 8GB 1600Mhz memory kit was run at 1.50V with 9-9-9-24 1T timings.
You can see CPU-Z version 1.61.3 and screen shots below for additional platform information.
Let's get on to the testing!
Futuremark 3DMark 11
3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world’s most popular benchmark for measuring the 3D graphics performance of gaming PCs. 3DMark 11 uses a native DirectX 11 engine designed to make extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11, including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.
We ran 3DMark11 with both the performance and extreme presets to see how our hardware will run.
3DMark11 Performance Benchmark Results:
Benchmark Results: The AMD FX-8350 scored 7373 3DMarks and was nearly 300 points faster than the AMD FX-8150 which scored 7089 3DMarks. The graphics scores of each system were near identical separated by only 2 points, we have to look elsewhere for the differences. Looking at the physics score we can see a difference of just under 900 points with the AMD FX-8350 taking the lead with 7325 3DMarks.
Benchmark Results: The AMD FX-8350 managed to hold onto the top spot for AMD processors by a small margin over the FX-8150. Once again looking at the sub-scores in 3DMark 11, we can see that the graphics score is extremely close while the physics score between the two systems is ~700 points.
Aliens Vs. Predator
Aliens vs Predator is an entirely new title for PC and high-definition consoles from acclaimed British developer Rebellion, the team behind the 1999 original PC gaming classic. Bringing the most intense war between two of science-fiction’s most popular characters FPS fans, AvP delivers three outstanding single player campaigns and provides untold hours of unique 3-way multiplayer gaming. Experience distinctly new and thrilling first person gameplay as you survive, hunt and prey in the deadly jungles and swamps surrounding the damned colony of Freya’s Prospect. Aliens vs Predator D3D11 Benchmark v1.03 is a standalone benchmark test based upon Rebellion's 2010 inter-species shooter Aliens vs. Predator. The test shows xenomorph-tastic scenes using heavy tessellation among other DX11 features. The benchmarks independent GUI was used for testing shown below.
Running the benchmark on the XFX Radeon HD 6950 we cranked up all the image quality settings in the benchmark to the highest level possible, so we were running 4x AA and 16x AF with SSAO enabled at both 1920x1080 and 1280x1024.
Benchmark Results: Aliens Vs. Predator relies on the GPU much more than the processor. At 1280x1024 there is only .53 frames per second separating our field of competitors. At our maximum resolution of 1920x1080 there is only .3 frames per second separating the field. The AMD FX-8350 was able to average 80.57 frames per second at 1280x1024 and 59.33 frames per second at 1920x1080. To close to call for any of our processors.
Battlefield 3 (BF3) is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and published by Electronic Arts. The game was released in North America on October 25, 2011 and in Europe on October 28, 2011. It does not support versions of Windows prior to Windows Vista as the game only supports DirectX 10 and 11. It is a direct sequel to 2005's Battlefield 2, and the eleventh installment in the Battlefield franchise. The game sold 5 million copies in its first week of release and the PC download is exclusive to EA's Origin platform, through which PC users also authenticate when connecting to the game.
Battlefield 3 debuts the new Frostbite 2 engine. This updated Frostbite engine can realistically portray the destruction of buildings and scenery to a greater extent than previous versions. Unlike previous iterations, the new version can also support dense urban areas. Battlefield 3 uses a new type of character animation technology called ANT. ANT technology is used in EA Sports games, such as FIFA, but for Battlefield 3 is adapted to create a more realistic soldier, with the ability to transition into cover and turn the head before the body.
This game looks great and we tested with the highest settings possible. This means we used 'ultra' settings and really punished the cards being tested. We ran FRAPS for two minutes on the single player map called 'Rock and a Hard Place' for benchmarking.
Benchmark Results: Battlefield 3 is similar to Aliens Vs. Predator, only in the fact that the processor seems to have limited effect on the graphics performance. Though there may be limited difference between the various processors there is enough to measure. The AMD FX-8350 was up near the top of the charts with an average of 82.13 frames per second and 59.77 frames per second at 1920x1080!
Borderlands 2 is a space western first-person role-playing shooter video game that was developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games. It is the sequel to 2009's Borderlands and was released for the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms. Borderlands 2 was developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games on September 18, 2012 in North America.
Borderlands 2 runs on a heavily modified version of Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3. We tested Borderlands 2 with vSync and depth of field disabled. We increased the general image quality settings and turned on 16x AF. PhysX effects were set to low to keep things fair as possible between AMD and NVIDIA cards.
Benchmark Results: Borderlands 2 is the first actual game that we can see some performance scaling with regards to the processor being used. The AMD FX-8350 was second only to the Intel Core i7 3770K! The new FX-8350 was able to edge out the previous generation Bulldozer FX-8150 by 8.46 frames per second at 1280x1024 and ~1.5 frames per second at 1920x1080.
Dirt 3 (stylized DiRT 3) is a rallying video game and the third in the Dirt series of the Colin McRae Rally series, developed and published by Codemasters. However, the "Colin McRae" tag has been completely removed from this iteration. The game was released in Europe and North America on the 24 May 2011.
Dirt3 uses Ego 2.0 Game Technology Engine (more commonly referred to as Ego Engine or EGO, stylised ego), which is a video game engine developed by Codemasters. Ego is a modified version of the Neon game engine that was used in Colin McRae: Dirt and was developed by Codemasters and Sony Computer Entertainment using Sony Computer Entertainment's PhyreEngine cross-platform graphics engine. The Ego engine was developed to render more detailed damage and physics as well as render large-scale environments.
SiSoftware Sandra 2012 SP6 Memory Bandwidth
The Sisoftware Sandra 2012 SP3 benchmark utility just came out a few weeks ago and we have started to include it in our benchmarking. Sandra 2012 comes with support for Virtualisation (Virtual PC/Server, Hyper-V, VMware) and GPGPU (OpenCL, DirectX 11 DirectCompute), but today we will be using the program to look at memory and CPU performance!
Benchmark Results: The memory bandwidth of the FX-8350 went the wrong way, unfortunately it dropped compared to the previous generation FX-8150. The AMD FX-8350 has an aggregate memory performance of 18.733 GB/s while the AMD FX-8150 has an aggregate performance of ~19.1 GB/s. It's less than .4 GB/s difference but when the new generation of CPU cores brings in a loss of performance, it's not exactly favorable.
POV-Ray 3.7 RC6Processor Performance on Pov-Ray 3.7 RC5:
The Persistence of Vision Ray-Tracer was developed from DKBTrace 2.12 (written by David K. Buck and Aaron A. Collins) by a bunch of people (called the POV-Team) in their spare time. It is a high-quality, totally free tool for creating stunning three-dimensional graphics. It is available in official versions for Windows, Mac OS/Mac OS X and i86 Linux. The POV-Ray package includes detailed instructions on using the ray-tracer and creating scenes. Many stunning scenes are included with POV-Ray so you can start creating images immediately when you get the package. These scenes can be modified so you do not have to start from scratch. In addition to the pre-defined scenes, a large library of pre-defined shapes and materials is provided. You can include these shapes and materials in your own scenes by just including the library file name at the top of your scene file and by using the shape or material name in your scene. Since this is free software feel free to download this version and try it out on your own.
The most significant change from the end-user point of view between versions 3.6 and 3.7 is the addition of SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) support, which, in a nutshell, allows the renderer to run on as many CPU's as you have installed on your computer. This will be particularly useful for those users who intend on purchasing a dual-core CPU or who already have a two (or more) processor machine. On a two-CPU system the rendering speed in some scenes almost doubles. For our benchmarking we used version 3.7 RC5, which is the most recent version available. The benchmark used all available cores to their fullest extent to complete the render.
Once rendering on the object we selected was completed, we took the elapsed time from the dialog box, which indicates the exact time it took for the benchmark to finish the benchmark. A lower time indicates faster system performance. This benchmark used all 12 threaded and loaded each one up at 100% load!
Benchmark Results: In POV-Ray 3.7 the AMD FX-8350 was able to out perform all of the other processors today. The FX-8350 was able to complete the render using all available CPU core in only 173.77 seconds which is ~9.4 seconds faster than the Intel Core i7-3770K and nearly 20 seconds faster than the AMD FX-8150!
x264 HD Video Encoding
Simply put, the x264 HD Benchmark is a reproducible measure of how fast your machine can
encode a short HD-quality video clip into a high quality x264 video
file. It's nice because everyone running it will use the same video clip
and software. The video encoder (x264.exe) reports a fairly accurate
internal benchmark (in frames per second) for each pass of the video
encode and it also uses multi-core processors very efficiently. All
these factors make this an ideal benchmark to compare different
processors and systems to each other. We are using x264 HD v5.0.1 for this test.
This application did fairly well when run on 12 threads, as you can
see from the screen shot above. The first pass was not using all of the processing power available on the cores, but on the second pass all 12 threads were at
Benchmark Results: The second pass of the X264 HD Video Encoding benchmark is much more processor intensive than the first pass. That being said, the AMD FX-8350 was running just a split second behind the Intel Core i7 3770K. The FX-8350 was able to average 15.0475 frames per second while the Intel Core i7 was able to average 15.28 frames per second. The AMD FX-8150 was able to average 12.9925 frames per second which is more than 2 frames per second behind the FX-8350.
HyperPi & SuperPi
Super Pi is used by many overclockers to test the performance and stability of their computers. In the overclocking community, the standard program provides a benchmark for enthusiasts to compare "world record" pi calculation times and demonstrate their overclocking abilities. The program can also be used to test the stability of a certain overclock speed. If a computer is able to calculate PI to the 32 millionth place after the decimal without mistake, it is considered to be moderately stable in terms of RAM and CPU. However, longer tests with other CPU/RAM intensive calculation programs will run for hours instead of minutes and may better stress system stability. While Super Pi is not the fastest program for calculating Pi, it remains very popular in the hardware and overclocking communities. You can find the latest version of Super Pi here
Benchmark Results: The AMD FX-8350 was slower than the FX-8150 in both tests. The 1m test was completed in 21.887 seconds by the FX-8350 while the FX-8150 was ~1.3 seconds faster. The 32m test was significantly slower with a time of 1311.489 compared to the FX-8150 with a time of 1178.536 seconds.
Hyper Pi is a front end mod for Super Pi. Hyper Pi allows you to run multiple instances of Super Pi automatically without manually setting processor affinity. Super Pi is a utility that allows you to calculate between 16 thousand and 32 million decimal places of Pi. Pi was originally calculated to 33.5 million places using a Pentium 90MHz processor, 40MB of main memory, and 340MB of available storage. This system was able to calculate the 33.5 million digits within 3 days! Fortunately we are able to do it a little bit quicker today.
Benchmark Results: The AMD FX-8150 and FX-8350 were a little closer in Hyper Pi. Though the FX-8150 was still slightly faster in both tests. Running across all of the cores the FX-8150 average 25.525 seconds while the FX-8350 averaged 26.13 seconds, only .6 seconds behind. The 32m results were also much closer with the FX-8350 averaging 1579.118 seconds while the FX-8150 averaged 1564.844 seconds.
MAXON; CINEBENCH R11.5:
MAXON recently released CINEBENCH Release 11.5, an advanced hardware testing suite that assesses a computer's performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on the same powerful technology as MAXON's award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. The new version of CINEBENCH includes the ability to more accurately test the industry’s latest hardware, including systems with up to 64 processor threads, and the testing environment better reflects the expectations of today’s production demands. A more streamlined interface makes testing systems and reading results incredibly straightforward. Again, higher Frames/Second and point score equal better performance.
Cinebench R11.5 was able to put a 100% load across all the cores on all of the processors, which makes this a great benchmark to look at multi-core platforms.
Benchmark Results: The AMD FX-8350 was able to outperform the AMD FX-8150 by .95 points in the multi core benchmark. Not quite enough to overtake the Intel Core i7 3770K, but it's certainly an improvement over the AMD FX-8150.
System Power Consumption
Since power consumption is a big deal these days, we ran some simple power consumption tests on our test beds. The systems ran with the power supplies, case fans, video cards and hard drives. To measure idle usage, we ran the system at idle for one hour on the desktop with no screen saver and took the measurement. For load measurements, Prime95's in-place large FFT's were run on all cores to make sure each and every processor was at 100% load for maximum power consumption and heat. Curious about real world scenarios, we decided to drop Furmark and ran 3DMark 11 on the performance preset and took the maximum power consumption during the first GPU test.
Benchmark Results: At idle our two FX processors are drawing similar Wattages, the FX-8350 is slightly lower pulling only 84 Watts compared to 87 Watts from the FX-8150. The power while gaming is considerably lower with the AMD FX-8350 which pulls only 286 Watts while the FX-8150 pulls 309 Watts. Our CPU load numbers have me a little concerned. The FX-8350 is pulling 10 Watts more under load than the FX-8150. The FX-8350 is supposed to be more power efficient than the previous generation.
AMD FX-8350 'Pile Driver' Overclocking
Overclocking greatly varies due to what hardware is being used and who is doing the overclocking. Always remember that no two pieces of hardware will perform the same, so our results will differ from what you might be able to get.
The AMD FX-8350 features a base clock of 4.0GHz which is accomplished using a 200MHz Bclk and a 20x multiplier. All of the AMD FX-Series of processors feature an unlocked multiplier. This allows us to increase the processor frequency without worrying about our memory divider, we can still increase the Bclk, though today we will be sticking to the multiplier.
The AMD FX-8350 features a turbo core that will increase the frequency of the processor up to 4.2GHz. It will be interesting to see how much head room this processor still has, we are hoping for a lot since it automatically increases as high as 4.2GHz!
With only a few tweaks within the ASUS Crosshair V formula BIOS we were able to bring the AMD FX-8350 to a rock solid 4.9GHz at only 1.45 Volts on the core. We tried to push to 5.0GHz, but we weren't able to get anything stable even as high as 1.5 Volts. We didn't want to push to hard since we weren't quite sure how hot the processor was getting.
AMD Overdrive wouldn't read the temperatures of our FX-8350 quite right. We ran into this when we looked at the new Trinity APU's a couple of weeks ago as well. Sitting at idle AOD was showing our processor at only 7.8 Degrees Celsius, we know the Corsair H100 water cooler is good but even it isn't capable of going sub-ambient without outside help.
Above you can see that we disabled the AMD Turbo CORE technology, and ultimately increased the CPU multiplier to 24.5x to hit 4.9GHz (200x24.5=4900=4.9GHz).
Within the Digi+ VRM/Power controls we set the CPU Load Line Calibration to High and disabled the thermal and over voltage protection settings.
The only voltage that we had to increase was the CPU Voltage, above you can see that it has been increased to 1.45 Volts which gave us total stability at 4.9GHz!
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
The key to AMD processors is the performance to price ratio. I have heard it said on countless occasions that you get 80% of the performance for 60% of the price. Overall I think that statement holds pretty close to accurate today. If we were to solely look at gaming performance, the AMD FX-8350 was easily able to hold its own against the Intel Core i7 3770K. As a whole package though, the AMD FX-8350 did come up a little short in a few areas. One thing that we have to keep in mind, the AMD FX-8350 is prices ~$120 less than the 3770K and isn't necessarily aimed at taking down the 3770K, but more targeted at the Core i5 3570K which can be found priced at $219.99.
Our gaming performance with the AMD FX-8350 definitely saw an improvement over the AMD FX-8150. Two of our game benchmarks don't benefit from the faster processors today. Whether we were running the 4GHz AMD FX-8350 octo-core processor or the 3.0GHz quad-core A8-3870K APU there was virtually no difference in Battlefield 3 or Aliens Vs. Predator. Our other two games, Borderlands 2 and DiRT 3 were both able to benefit from the faster processors. Most of the differences were at 1280x1024 due to the fact that we were becoming GPU limited by our AMD Radeon HD 7950 at higher resolutions. Though at 1280x1024 we were seeing performance gains just over 5% in both games. The FX-8350 also gave us some significant gains in 3DMark 11.
The overall score in the performance preset jumped to P7373 compared to P7089 with the FX-8150. The only difference in the sub-scores was the Physics score, the FX-8350 physics score was 7325 while the FX-8150 was nearly 900 points lower at 6434.
The AMD FX-8350 was a breeze to overclock, granted it has become a whole different beast over the years. Simply add a little voltage here and there, increase either the Bclk or the multiplier and see how far it can go. Today we stuck to increasing the multiplier and left the Bclk alone, we were able to bring the FX-8350 to a rock solid 4.9GHz without breaking a sweat. No doubt the FX-8350 has more to give, and we are going to continue playing with it to see just how far we can push it
Depending on what you are looking for in a processor can determine if the FX-8350 processor is right for you. If you are looking for the most performance period, perhaps the FX-8350 octo-core processor isn't right for you. If you are looking for the most performance for your dollar, I think the AMD FX-8350 is likely to be your best bet in that department. It's also going to come down to what you are going to be doing with your machine. If you are looking to put together a gaming rig, you really wont be able to tell a difference between a processor like the Intel Core i7 3770K which retails for $314.99, and the AMD FX-8350 which is coming to the party at only $195. Personally I would put the extra $120 towards a SSD, or if that's already in the pipeline I would get a larger SSD. If you're building a system to do heavy number crunching, the numbers speak for themselves.
The AMD FX series isn't exactly a Viking when it comes to number crunching. Running Super Pi, the Intel Core i7 3770K was complete in ~43% of the time it took the FX-8350 to complete the 1m benchmark. The 32m benchmark was completed 840.904 seconds faster by the Intel system. That's more than 14 minutes faster. As I said, it really does come down to what you are looking for the system to do. I would have no problem recommending the FX-8350 to you, it's a very solid processor. Plus as we saw earlier it has some great overclocking potential! First time out we were able to hit 4.9GHz, in the near future I may break out my redneck chilled water set-up and see what we can do with the AMD FX-8350.
Despite being the flagship processor, the AMD FX-8350 doesn't carry a hefty price tag like some other flagship processors that cost over a grand. The FX-8350 carries a suggested retail price of only $195.00. I wouldn't be surprised if we see it available for ~$185 once it hits the streets though, but don't quote me on that. If you like to push your processor to the max, there's always the possibility that something will go wrong. If it happens to be the AMD FX-8350, or any of the AMD Processors in a Box (PIB) AMD backs them with a 3 year warranty.
Legit Bottom Line: The AMD FX-8350 has a number of strong points that make it a great choice for your computer. If you're looking to upgrade from an older system you really can't beat the price to performance ratio offered with an eight core 4GHz processor processor for only $195!