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Review: AMD FX-8370E 95W (32nm Vishera)

by Tarinder Sandhu on 3 September 2014, 17:00

Tags: AMD (NYSE:AMD)

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Eight cores, sub-100W

Yesterday was a busy day for the folks at AMD. In addition to launching the Radeon R9 285 graphics card, the firm refreshed its line of FX Series CPUs with the introduction of three new models.

Priced between $147 and $200, the trio is comprised of the performance-optimised FX-8370, along with the power-optimised FX-8370E and FX-8320E, both of which reduce chip TDP from 125W to 95W.

Based on the 'Piledriver' architecture, all three new additions continue to offer eight native x86 cores in an AM3+ package. Putting the new models into sharper focus, the below table highlights the key specifications of AMD's various eight-core FX Series parts.

The quickest of the new crop, FX-8370, slots in near the middle of the pack with a turbo frequency of up to 4.3GHz, 8MB of cache, a 125W TDP and a suggested price of around $200. Arguably of more importance to enthusiasts, however, is the fact that AMD has slashed the cost of the top-of-the-line FX-9590. As we reported last month, the cost of the best FX processor is being reduced to $230 (roughly £175 inc. VAT).

AMD Eight-Core FX Series Processors

APU Model
CPU Cores
CPU Base Clock
(GHz)
CPU Turbo Clock
(GHz)
L2 Cache
Memory Support (MHz)
Socket
TDP (W)
Suggested Price
FX-9590
8
4.7
5.0
8MB
DDR3-2,133
AM3+
220
$229.99
FX-9370
8
4.4
4.7
8MB
DDR3-2,133
AM3+
220
$210.99
FX-8370
8
4.0
4.3
8MB
DDR3-1,866
AM3+
125
$199.99
FX-8370E
8
3.3
4.3
8MB
DDR3-1,866
AM3+
95
$199.99
FX-8350
8
4.0
4.2
8MB
DDR3-1,866
AM3+
125
$179.99
FX-8320
8
3.5
4.0
8MB
DDR3-1,866
AM3+
125
$146.99
FX-8320E
8
3.2
4.0
8MB
DDR3-1,866
AM3+
95
$146.99

Energy-efficient FX CPUs

What's interesting further down the ladder is that AMD has added two power-optimised parts that tout greater efficiency. Denoted by FX E-Series branding, the FX-8370E and FX-8320E have plenty in common with their namesakes but reduce CPU base clock in order to cut TDP by 24 per cent.

In order to meet the requirements of the more-efficient power envelope, the E-Series parts reduce the potential frequency when running numerous cores simultaneously. The FX-8370 and FX-8370E both peak to 4.3GHz when a single thread is being executed, but the latter's reduced power envelope results in all-core speed dropping from 4.0GHz to 3.3GHz. The question of whether the performance sacrifice is worth it depends upon how much you value lower heat output and lesser energy consumption.

However, the 95W TDP makes the processors better suited to small-form-factor PCs or tightly-integrated workstations, where heat output and running costs do matter. Giving end users the option to choose without penalty, AMD has mirrored pricing for both variations. Select either a 125W FX-8370 or a 95W FX-8370E and the same $199.99 price tag applies.

Following in the footsteps of current FX Series CPUs, all three new additions are multiplier unlocked to help maximise overclocking potential, and the trio is presented in the existing AM3+ form factor. This means compatibility with the widely-available 990FX, 990X, 980G and 970 chipsets, which in turn presents users with a hassle-free upgrade path.

Choosing the right battles against Intel

AMD know it cannot compete against Intel in the high-end space. Yet volume sales occur in the mainstream, or exactly where these new processors are positioned, so there's logic in driving down both the price and energy consumption of FX CPUs.

Intel's sub-£200 desktop catalogue is headlined by the Core i5 parts, housing four cores and four threads. AMD believes that its comparison parts are a good match for processors when multi-core processing is the order of the day.

AMD, too, cites platform longevity as a key feature of these FX processors. An AM3+ chipset board purchased in 2011 - a long time in the PC space - can take any of these processors without issue, and even many earlier AM3 editions, with a BIOS update, are able to run these FX range of chips.

The FX-8370E

Identical in appearance to every other FX chip and fitting into boards accepting the AM3+ form factor, the FX-8370E is a power-constrained version of the regular chip. Our sample processor still operates at 1.25V in the BIOS, matching regular FX parts, so AMD is ensuring a maximum 95W by limiting the all-core speed to 3.3GHz.