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AMD FX-8150 Review

ccokeman    -   October 11, 2011
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Testing:

Testing AMD's latest contender to the throne, we will run the FX-8150 and its comparison products through OCC's test suite of benchmarks, which include both synthetic benchmarks and real-world applications, to see how each of these products perform. The gaming tests will also consist of both synthetic benchmarks and actual game play, in which we can see if similarly prepared setups offer any performance advantages. The system will receive a fully updated, fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit edition in addition to the latest drivers for each board and the latest AMD Catalyst drivers for the XFX HD 6970. To ensure as few variables as possible, all hardware will be tested at their stock speeds, timings, voltages and latencies – unless otherwise stated. Turbo Boost is disabled on all processors to make a fair comparison without skewing the results.

 

Testing Setup: AMD AM3

 

Testing Setup: Intel Core i5/i7 Socket 1155

 

Testing Setup: Intel Core i7 Socket 1366

 

 

Comparison CPUs:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

  • Processor: AMD FX-8150 @4940MHz 229x21.5

 

After having the opportunity to watch some of the world's best overclockers pull a Guinness World record of 8.4GHz from the "Bulldozer" architecture using liquid helium as the cooling medium, I figured a solid 5GHz would be attainable in this case. After all, AMD had also set up a rig running all day long at 4.8Ghz with nothing more than a self-contained water cooling solution keeping it cool. Simple enough, I found that managing the thermal load was the key to overclocking this chip when the voltage is ramped up – just as expected. However, it was not as easy as it would seem, with 8 physical cores in four Bulldozer modules. Rather than fight for big clock speeds on air, I used a Corsair Hydro Series H80 to manage the thermal load and closely replicate what I saw at AMD's Austin headquarters in terms of cooling solution and clock speeds. There are two stability levels here: benchmark stable and what I consider fully stable with Prime95. At 4940MHz (229x21.5 @ 1.435V), I was able to navigate through the OS and game for hours, though the system was not fully stable due to the thermal load. To get Prime95 stable, I had to drop the clock speeds down to 4640MHz (232x20 @1.325V) for a more easily-managed thermal load . After a ton of trial and error to reach my stability point, however, I found that results were not indicative of clock speeds during load testing. Through further research, I found that the FX-8150 starts throttling the clock speed (multiplier) at roughly 81°C, hence the need to further manage the thermal load to get the highest clocks from the FX-8150. A perfect example is shown in the Prime95 screen shot below. In the end, a 1.34GHz or almost 38% bump in clock speed is not that bad and is similar to the gains I have seen with some of my Intel chips. With a full-on water loop, speeds this high should be attainable and fully Prime95 stable. I do have to say, though, this is the highest-clocking AMD chip I have ever laid hands on. 5.0GHz, here I come!

 

 

Manually changing the operating speeds of the Bulldozer-based FX-8150 is part and parcel to overclocking. Several methods can be used, from good old-fashioned overclocking through the BIOS (uEFI-based on many of the newer boards) to using supplied applications such as AMD Overdrive and other popular applications such Core Center from MSI or TurboV from ASUS. However, built into the FX-8150 is AMD's Turbo Core Technology that boosts the processor's clock speeds depending on its operating states. While the FX-8150 has a base core speed of 3.6GHz, all cores will show a boost up to 3.9Ghz when there is power TDP headroom. With lightly-threaded applications, up to 4 cores will run at 4.2GHz while the others stay at an idle state, as to stop from exceeding the TDP limits. Three usage scenarios are shown below, with the first being a single-threaded run of Cinebench 10, followed by a multiple-threaded run using all cores, and finally with cores dropping out as the TDP limits are reached.

 

 

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Each CPU has been tested for stability at the overclocked speeds listed. These clock speeds will represent the overclocked scores in the testing.

 

 

Benchmarks:

  • Scientific & Data:
  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. Geekbench 2.1
  4. Office 2007 Excel Number Crunch
  5. POV Ray 3.7
  6. Bibble 5
  7. Sandra 2011
  8. AIDA64 1.85
  9. Proshow Gold
  10. Handbrake .9.5
  11. ScienceMark 2.02
  12. Cinebench 10 & 11.5
  13. HD Tune 4.60
  • Video:
  1. Aliens vs. Predator
  2. Civilization V
  3. Battlefield Bad Company 2
  4. 3DMark 11



  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: Continued
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  5. Testing: Apophysis, WinRar, Geekbench, Bibble 5
  6. Testing: Office 2007, POVray, ProShow, Handbrake
  7. Testing: Sisoft Sandra 2011, AIDA64
  8. Testing: Sciencemark, Cinebench, HD Tune, PCMark 7
  9. Testing: Aliens vs. Predator
  10. Testing: Sid Meier's Civilization V
  11. Testing: Battlefield Bad Company 2
  12. Testing: Futuremark 3DMark 11
  13. Conclusion
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