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AMD FX 8370 & FX 8370E Review

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AMD FX 8370 & FX 8370E Conclusion:

After looking at the top of AMD's product stack a few weeks ago, it's interesting to see this move, as the product stack was just that: stacked. You have the FX-9590 as the top dog in the lineup and the FX-9370 as a close runner-up, with the FX-8370 now positioned between the FX-8350 and FX-9370 at a $199 price point. When you look at the base stock clock speeds of the FX-8350 and new FX-8370, there is not much to speak of when both run at 4.0GHz in multi-threaded applications and between 4.2GHz (FX-8350) and 4.3GHz (FX-8370) when running lightly threaded applications. That's essentially a $20 premium for a 100MHz boost that is barely realized in single-threaded performance, which leaves me scratching my head. Kind of a WTF moment if you will putting two 125W TDP chips with a minimal performance differential $20 apart. The only thing I can think of is that the FX-8350 would be going EOL for that to make sense.

Tagging along is the FX-8370E (and FX-8320E), which as we now know is a 95W TDP chip that really addresses one of the biggest issues with the Piledriver architecture: power consumption. That tied in with the heat generated by the architecture and you have a problem that needs to be solved. To reduce the TDP of the 95W FX SKUs, the clock speed at which the processor cores run has been modified to run a reduced speed when all cores are engaged. The Turbo Boost speed is technically 4.3GHz for both the FX-8370 and FX-8370E for lightly threaded apps, but in my testing, the 95W E SKU ran in the 3.6GHz range for the most part when a single core was engaged; although there were spikes up to the 4.3GHz. Run in the same scenario, the non E FX-8370 SKU processor stuck more closely to the 4.3GHz Turbo Boost speed.

When it came time to overclock the processors, both of these SKUs really delivered more than I was expecting from them, especially from the 3.3GHz-rated FX-8370E. Both chips eagerly approached the 5GHz realm to compete on an almost level field with the pricier FX-9590 and FX 9370. First up was the FX-8370E, a chip I felt was going to be the weak link, but turned out to run at 4.99GHz with 1.5v applied in the BIOS while running the memory at over 2400MHz and hyperlink speeds above 2600MHz. Pretty stout for a supposedly non power-hungry chip. One thing that seemed off was that this chip would never heat up while running through IBT or the AIDA64 stress test. There was movement, but it would just never top 55 °C. On the other hand, the FX-8370 did exceed the 5GHz mark, matching the overclock of the FX-9370 of 5.015GHz with 1.48v set in the BIOS, but showed a bit more temperature scaling with its 125W TDP. Still not enough to throttle during the overclocking phase of the testing, but enough to get close. To get 1.6GHz out of the FX-8370E and just over 1.0GHz out of the FX-8370 shows that you can still have some fun and significantly increase the performance of the latest AMD FX processors.

One thing I keep looking at in the press decks is the comparison to an Intel four-core processor that does not support hyper-threading, making this truly an apples vs. oranges comparison. Touting eight-core performance against a four-core chip is a bit of a stretch, although you could make the case that the Piledriver architecture is a four-core chip, just with two integer units inside each "core". But then you get the hyper-threading argument, so the best comparison is an eight-thread CPU vs. eight-thread CPU, and in those cases the competition is a bit closer in terms of raw performance. Nevertheless, the red team falls a bit behind the blue team, for the most part. That being said, making a 95W TDP processor available, like the FX-8370E and FX-8320E, makes the comparison to a four-core processor a bit closer to reality based on the reduced processing power at hand thanks to the reduced clock speeds.

I have to give AMD a hand here as they are trying to play to its strong suit, offering up both higher clock speed chips right from the factory while addressing the power consumption woes that the company is commonly hit with. AMD has always found a way to keep price and performance relative even if not fully realized ( A64 days excluded). With the return of some key engineers, the hope is that the next generation processors deliver that much needed competitive advantage. In the mean time, AMD has found a way to keep consumer costs down and work to integrate packages that work together using the parts available in its ecosystem. Each of these processors' suggested pairings include a 990FX chipset motherboard, R9 290 video card, and 1866MHz memory to take advantage of the "platform" approach to building a system.

Priced at $199 each, the FX-8370 and FX-8370E offer up something for each target market; the full performance potential of the chip at its 125W TDP, or the increased power savings associated with the FX-8370E SKU. It's up to the end user to take advantage of the scenario.

 

Pros:

  • Lower TDP
  • Improved thermals
  • Excellent overclocking margins
  • Lower costs
  • Eight cores 
  • Optional AIO Cooling available

 

Cons:

  • SIngle-threaded performance
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