AMD FX 8370 & FX 8370E Reviewccokeman -
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AMD FX 8370 & FX 8370E Introduction:
After getting a chance to see what AMD's top tier processors, the FX-9370 and FX-9590, were capable of delivering performance-wise, it's clear that the top end of the spectrum is the 5GHz plateau when we are talking about Vishera based CPUs. Today, AMD is making a splash with the latest few additions to the lineup that push the price point down while expanding the lineup to include processors that run with an overall lower TDP. This tones down what is arguably the hottest topic when you look at overclocking and just general compute usage by reducing the power consumption of these chips.
AMD's FX refresh is bringing three new processors into the 8-core arsenal: the 125W TDP FX-8370, which runs at up to 4.3GHz in lightly loaded scenarios and 4GHz when running multi-threaded applications; and the energy efficient FX-8370E and FX-8320E, which both have a 95W TDP, further reducing the power profile to a point well below the 220W TDP we see on the flagship FX-9590. As you might expect, the drop in TDP also hits the core clock speeds with the FX-8370E running at 3.3GHz and up to 4.3GHz when running single-threaded lightly loaded applications. The FX-8320E runs at 3.2GHz and up to 4.0GHz in the same usage scenarios. Although I wont be looking at the FX-8320E, it's worth mentioning that this chip is part of the launch today.
For this FX refresh launch, AMD has taken a look at the price points for each of the chips in its 8-core product stack and decided that to fit these chips in, a rework was needed to put it all into perspective. The top-of-the-line FX-9590 that previously was sitting at the $269 mark gets $40 chopped off its price point, although I'm not sure how that impacts the AMD all-in-one cooling solution/CPU combo pricing that sits at $369. The FX-9370 sees about a $20 reduction in price, while the FX-8350 and FX-8320 sit pretty much right on their existing price points. For this release, the FX-8370 and energy efficient FX-8370E launch with a price of $199, right in between the upper end 9 series and at the top of the 8 series. Interestingly enough the FX-8320 and FX-8320E both hit the same $146.99 price point, keeping the energy efficient and standard models in the same bucket so you don't pay a premium one way or another.
As a refresh, I would expect that we will be looking at more of the same in terms of performance and thermals, but by keeping an open mind this should prove interesting to take a look at this lower TDP selection of processors that are keenly integrated into AMD's product stack. Let's see if there are any surprises with this refresh of AMD's FX lineup.
AMD FX 8370 & FX 8370E Closer Look:
When you take a look at the specifications of each of these FX-8370 variants, the biggest differences are the TDP values and core clock speeds at which the CPUs operate. Built using AMD's Piledriver architecture, each of these processors is built on Global Foundries 32nm SOI process. Packing 1.2 billion transistors into a 315mm2 die, you have four compute modules each with a pair of integer cores, 8MB of L2 cache, and 8MB of shared L3 cache. Each of these processors is designed to be used in motherboards equipped with AMD's AM3+ socket. As the manufacturing process has matured, AMD has been able to max out the architecture's clock speeds, as we saw when I looked a the FX-9370 and FX-9590.
For this round, we are looking at how AMD is integrating a few new chips into the product stack, including energy efficient models that sport the E designation in the model number. Since I will be looking at the FX 8370 and FX-8370E, I will start there. The FX-8370 sports a base clock speed of 4GHz with a Turbo Boost speed of up to 4.3GHz, while the energy conscious FX-8370E runs at a much lower 3.3GHz with a turbo boost speed of up again up to 4.3GHz in lightly threaded applications. The TDP of the FX-8370 is 125W, while the FX-8370E gets a further reduction to 95W. As you can see, the baseline clock speed correlates directly to the TDP of the processor.
If you are looking at getting the highest possible clock speed out of a Vishera/Piledriver-based CPU, a stout motherboard is going to be mandatory, not optional. AMD makes recommendations on the chipsets each chip should be paired with since the company takes a "platform" approach to system building. The recommendation for the FX-8370 is a 990FX-based board like the ASUS Crosshair V Formula Z,while a 970-based chipset board is recommended for the FX-8370E. Even though this set of processors is not running the big time TDP numbers of the 9 series FX processors, we still need the best hardware to get the most from the CPUs.
Cooling the FX series is paramount to having it perform as intended. Cooling duties will be handled by a Corsair H100i cooling solution to see just how far we can push the clock speed envelope before running out of thermal overhead. I will also take a quick look at AMD's own liquid cooling solution to check it out and show the option for those who want a literal all-in-one solution. From the looks of it, CoolerMaster is the manufacturer of choice for this revision of AMD's factory-supplied solution.
Propped up between the 9 series and the aging 8 series, the FX-8370 now becomes the top dog in the 8 series, pushing the FX-8350 down a notch while bringing a new player to the game in a much lower TDP chip for the masses, which should allow for a cooler running package.