Looking for a new processor for your computer can often seem like a daunting task. With two big brands, AMD and Intel, offering many different models with different features and performance it can be time consuming and even a tad difficult. Today we are reviewing just one model from AMD, the FX 8350 eight core processor.
The AMD FX 8350 is an AM3+ processor based on the Piledriver architecture, the successor to the previous Bulldozer architecture. This model offers eight CPU cores along with a 4.0GHz base clock speed and a turbo of 4.2GHz. Alongside its high stock clock, comes a high TDP rating of 125W meaning you will need a decent motherboard to pair this chip with, preferably a 990FX motherboard with appropriate cooling around the VRMs. The AMD FX 8350 also has 8MB of L2 cache and 8MB of L3 cache and is priced to compete with Intel Core i5’s. Unlike Intel CPUs, AMD Bulldozer and Piledriver processors use a modular architecture which allows the processor to share resources such as the Floating Point Scheduler (FPU), fetch and decode units and 2MB of cache per module. Unfortunately we can no longer compare the performance processors from different families or manufacturers by looking at their specification, though we aim to see just how well the FX 8350 performs.
Having eight cores and a base clock of 4.0GHz it’s fair to expect high end performance from the FX 8350. We decided to run the Cinebench R15 benchmark and a few games to see what the FX 8350 is capable of.
Cinebench R15 is no stranger when it comes to evaluating CPU performance. Here we can see the FX 8350 scoring a great 897 points in the multithreaded test. It’s clear that the eight CPU cores are helping in this benchmark. Next we ran the single threaded benchmark in Cinebench and the results were disappointing. With a score of 98 it’s clear that single threaded performance is not this processors strong point.Both games used the highest graphical settings at the resolution of 1920×1080.
World of Warcraft is a game which benefits from powerful single core performance rather than additional cores. For our benchmark, we took a flight path in Pandaria from Honeydew Village to Shado-Pan Garrison. The AMD FX 8350 appears to have held up well, with a minimum of 36FPS and an average of 52FPS. It almost reaches an average of 60FPS which is a common target set by gamers, which is impressive considering the single core results from the Cinebench R15 benchmark were a little disappointing.
Our next benchmark consisted of a more standard game, Battlefield 4. We tested the FX 8350 in a multiplayer match on the map Zavod 311 with 64 players. The FX 8350 does well here, with a minimum of 35FPS and an average of 51FPS. The good results come as no surprise, especially since Battlefield 4 is a title which takes advantage of multiple cores.
The AMD FX 8350 has an unlocked multiplier allowing you to easily increase the CPU ratio. This is welcomed, especially since Intel only unlocks the multiplier on ‘K’ series Haswell CPUs. We hopped into the BIOs on our ASUS Sabertooth 990FX R2.0 and started increasing the multiplier. We could get up to 4.3GHz on the stock voltage (a measly 300MHz from the base clock or just 100MHz from the turbo) however, after this point we started needing to add more voltage. We got to 4.4GHz okay though after this point we started battling heat. Our value cooler, the Coolermaster Evo 212+, simply could not keep up with the heat output of the FX 8350 at 4.5GHz. While we were using a value cooler, we would have liked to have seen slightly higher overclocks with it.
The heatsink covering the power delivery components on our ASUS Sabertooth motherboard were very uncomfortable to touch when the processor was under stress, showing us that only a high end motherboard should be used for overclocking. If you wanted to overclock the FX 8350 you would need a beefy 990FX motherboard and a premium heatsink to get the most out of this chip.
With a TDP of 125W this processor demands a fair bit of power, as we can guess by the huge heatsinks on some of the AM3+ 990FX chipset motherboards. We previously ran a full power consumption analysis of a gaming computer system using the AMD FX 8350 processor. We found that when using the Prime95 application the power consumption was 255W and when overclocked to 4.4GHz, it rose by 35W to 290W. Compared to competing processors by Intel, the FX 8350 requires a lot more power which is a little annoying as it requires you to have a motherboard which can cope with the high power consumption of this processor.
The AMD FX 8350 is priced at just £130 at the time of this review. This price is very attractive since the FX 8350 is capable of offering decent multithreaded performance which will appeal to budget workstations and gaming PCs. While the price of the CPU is fair, it’s worth noting that you will need to partner it with a motherboard which is capable of keeping up with the high power requirements of the FX 8350, especially if you wish to overclock which may increase the overall platform cost.
Overall the FX 8350 is an affordable processor from AMD which is attractive to budget gamers. It offers good multithreaded performance thanks to its eight cores and since it’s compatible with the AM3+ socket, it can provide a cost effective upgrade from previous AMD processors. While it’s multithreaded performance was good, it’s single core performance let it down and it’s clear that per core performance is not Piledrivers strong point. The AMD FX 8350 is a fairly power hungry processor though providing the computer has adequate cooling and a motherboard up to the task, the FX 8350 is very manageable. We feel that the FX 8350 is a processor worth considering for a new computer build, especially if you use applications which can take advantage of the eight CPU cores.