AMD Vishera - FX 8350 Performance Review



Company: AMD
Author: James Prior
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: October 23rd, 2012

Test Platform & Overclocking

We have four platforms and five processors in our lineup today, not quite a complete sampling of all platform as we're missing Sandy Bridge E and Ivy Bridge, but representing the Intel camp is our trusty Core i7 2600K which is going to serve double duty as a pseudo Core i5 2500K, too. While we can disable HyperThreading and drop all core speed from 3.4 to 3.3GHz the stand-in is not exact because of two differences: the all core turbo is x35 instead of x34 and there's no way to disable the extra 2MB of cache the 2600K has over the 2500K. The AMD side has the Phenom II X6 1100T, the FX 8150 and of course the new FX 8350. Our platforms are configured to run at stock maximums where possible, configured with memory to match the supported controller speed rating, turbo enabled and power saving features enabled. We're using the Link TitleAMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition for graphics.

Test Platform

Component Specification    
Mainboard ASUS Crosshair V Formula ASUS Crosshair IV Formula ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution
Chipset 990FX + SB950 890FX + SB850 P67 + NF200
Processor FX 8150, FX 8350 Phenom II X6 1100T Intel Core i7 2600K
Discrete Graphics AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz. Ed.    
Memory 4x4GB AMD Radeon Performance Ed. 2x2GB + 2x4GB G.Skill RipJaws 4x2GB G.Skill RipJaws
Speed DDR3-1600 9-9-9-24 DDR3-1333 9-9-9-24 DDR3-1333 8-8-8-21
Audio X-Fi MB 2 X-Fi MB 2 Realtek ALC892
PSU Corsair TX850 Corsair VX550 Corsair TX850
Case HAF 932 Antec HAF X
OS Drive Samsung 830 128GB OCZ Vertex 4 128GB Samsung 830 128GB
Storage Drive Seagate 7200.12 1TB Seagate 7200.11 1TB Seagate 7200.12 1TB
Heatsink/Fan AMD FX Liquid Cooler CoolerMaster TPC 812 Noctua NH-D14
Display ASUS VG-236 24"    
Operating System Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate SP1    
Driver Catalyst 12.11    

Our platform and test comparison are driven by the hardware we have available to us. We thank Peter Amos at AMD for the FX 8350, Darren McPhee at AMD for the Radeon Performance Edition memory, Dan Synder at Intel for the i7 2600K, and ASUS for the P8P67 WS Revolution mainboard.

990FX Platform
890FX Platform
P67 Platform

Product Specification Comparison

  Phenom II X6 1100T FX 8150 FX 8350 Core i7 2600K
Price ~$130USD ~$189USD ~$195USD ~$299USD
CPU Clock 3.3GHz 3.6GHz 4GHz 3.4GHz
CPU Boost 3.7GHz 4.2GHz 4.2GHz 3.8GHz
CPU Cores/Threads 6/6 8/8 8/8 4/8
CPU Architecture STARS K10.5 / Thuban Piledriver Piledriver Sandy Bridge
Max. Memory Speed DDR3-1333 DDR3-1866 [2ch] DDR3-1866 [2ch] DDR3-1333
Extended Instruction Support 3DNow!, MMX, SSE4a, AMD-V AES, FMA4, AVX, AMD-V, SSSE4.2 AES, FMA3, FMA4, AVX, AMD-V, SSSE4.2 AES, AVX, SSE4.1&4.2, VT-x, EPT
L2 / L3 Cache 512KB / 6MB 2MB / 8MB 2MB / 8MB 256KB / 8MB
TDP 125W 125W 125W 90W
Phenom II X6 1100T
FX 8150
FX 8350
Core i7 2600K

Overclocking

For overclocking the FX 8350 there are three areas to consider: core speed, NB speed, and memory speed. AMD's platform allow for the HT base clock to be adjusted; it's not locked down like Intels reference clock. However for simplicity's sake we kept the HT clock at reference 200MHz and used the multipler adjustment options to change other clocks. The ASUS Crosshair V Formula is well featured in that regard, so it's a simple matter to tweak the FX.

We started with the NB clock, as historically being a bottleneck for AMD processors getting more bandwidth from this should help overall performance. On all of overclocked systems the power saving features are disabled (ASUS EPU, C1E, C6, Cool'n'Quiet/Speedstep, Turbo) and power protection mechanisms (loadline calibration, over current protection, etc.) configured to allow the most amount of leeway before intervening. With the NB overclocked to 2600 MHz at 1.2875 Volts we moved on to the memory. AMD tells us that the Piledriver memory controller is improved over the Bulldozer one and should allow for higher clocks. We could run our AMD Radeon Performance Edition memory at 2133MHz using 11-11-11-35 timings at 1.625v.

Once we had the memory stable, it was time for the cores themselves. With our FX liquid cooler we should have plenty of head room for the legendarily hot FX series, depending on how brave we want to be with voltage. Using on the multiplier adjustment we found the stable core clock to be 4.7GHz for all cores, at 1.46vCore, but to keep that core clock stable we needed to drop NB-CPU clock to 2400MHz, and memory to 1866 9-10-9-25 timings, it just wouldn't all come together at once. C'est la vie. Below you can see all processors overclock settings:

Processor X6 1100T FX 8150 FX 8350 i7 2600K
Core Speed 4GHz 4.5GHz 4.7GHz 4.7GHz
Core Voltage 1.475 1.4175 1.4625 1.45
CPU-NB Speed 3GHz 2.6GHz 2.4GHz  
CPU-NB Voltage 1.3 1.2 1.25  
HT Speed 2GHz 2.6Ghz 2.6GHz  
Memory Speed 1333MHz 1866MHz 1866MHz 1600Mhz
Timings / Voltage 9-9-9-25 1.5v 9-10-9-25 1.6v 9-10-9-25 1.6v 9-10-9-28 1.6v
Phenom II X6 1100T
FX 8150
FX 8350
Core i7 2600K