AMD FX-8350 - The Piledriver Update (Part 2)

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Like the K Series Intel chips, the entire FX range is unlocked, so overclocking is definitely on the menu. Well, so long as you've got a decent, OC friendly motherboard backing it up. We did struggle a little going through the BIOS of our Asus RoG board, but with the Windows-based AMD Overdrive software we were able to hit 4.7GHz stably.

AMD FX-8350

We could boot via BIOS overclocking, but once we started stressing the chip it eventually fell over. With the AMD software though, it remained happily number-crunching away. It's not quite the lGHz + speed boost you can get out of Intel's architecture, but it does give you some impressive performance gains.

Running at 4.7GHzthe FX 8350 is significantly faster in multi-threaded applications than even the i7 B770K at stock speeds. Of course, the Intel chip can also be overclocked, but it gives you some idea of how competitive these AMD chips can be.

In a vacuum then, the Intel chips remain the only CPUs you'd want in your machines. They are the best at gaming, and the second-tier quad-core chips remain competitive with AMD’s best in multi-threaded applications. But this Piledriver update has closed the gap a little, and in terms of platform value as a whole, the AMD setup just has the edge. Spend the difference in CPU price on a better graphics card and the performance difference in games between AMD and Intel chips will instantly melt away.

Like the Bulldozer release though, the top-tier FX chip is probably not the one that we'd really recommend. The $32 difference in price is negligible, and won’t make a massive difference in what GPU you go for. The hex-core FX-6300, on the other hand, could be a much more tantalising prospect.

If pricing follows the previous generation then you're looking at around a $112 difference, and that could make for that bump up to a HD 7950. The hex-core chip will also overclock happily, so you'll still get decent multi-threaded performance easily as capable as the i5, for a lot less cash. An equivalently priced AMD hex-core machine then would make for a better gaming PC than an i5 3570K rig with a weaker GPU.

We need AMD to be competitive to keep the PC market vibrant, and keep Intel honest. These new Piledriver chips should be able to do that, especially at the value end of the market. And if that pushes Intel to make better chips maybe even a mainstream six-core desktop CPU then that's got to be good for everyone too.

Technical analysis

As you can see from the benchmark results, the i7-3770K is still the top desktop chip on pretty much all counts, but at $160 more than the latest FX-8350 you're paying through the nose for that extra performance. Compared with the similarly priced Core iS, the FX-8350 looks more impressive, ably beating it in any multi-threaded test you give it. In fact it's actually rather close to the eight threads of the top Ivy Bridge CPU in those multi-threaded metrics. In gaming terms though the Intel chips still retain a healthy lead in raw CPU performance terms.


Vital statistics

·         Price: $240

·         Manufacturer: AMD

·         Web:

·         Socket: AMD AM3+

·         Cores: 8

·         Threads: 8

·         Clock speed: 4GHz

·         Lithography: 32nm


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