AMD Vishera FX8350 Piledriver Review
Published: 23rd October 2012 | Source: AMD | Price: |
We are big fans of AMD here at OC3D. Not only did we start with AMD CPUs back in the Thunderbird days, but as people who like technology in all forms it's important that all the major manufacturers have healthy competition. Just as the Pentium III was outclassed by its AMD competition, the roles have been reversed for a few generations now. When we reviewed the FX8150 we gave it a justified kicking. Now the refined and reintroduced Piledriver FX8350 is here, is it any more worthy of a recommendation? After all, we were willing the FX8350 to be brilliant and gave it every chance to shine.
Sadly though, we're not convinced it twinkled, much less shined. There are a few bright points though, so let's get all the bad stuff out of the way first.
Comparing processors is always about the freshness of the architecture as much as it is about pure numbers. A 3GHz Q6600 isn't a patch on a 3GHz Ivy Bridge CPU for example. Never more has this been the case than with the AMD FX range. Sure it might be an eight core processor, but those eight cores are only worth four Intel ones. That's largely why AMD compare the FX8350 to the i5-3570K.
The architecture that underpins the FX definitely has some problems though. We aren't asking that the memory has the same performance of the Ivy Bridge, although it would be nice, but we'd at least like it not be so utterly devoid of bandwidth that it drags the whole system down. Even with 2666MHz memory installed we couldn't get it to post let alone run 1866MHz.
Performance in general is nowhere near what we'd expect. In an extremely limited number of tests the FX8350 proved itself as an admirable performer. zLib compression, wPrime, all the CPU calculation heavy tasks were handled to a decent level. Once you require the memory to handle parts of the calculation process though things fall down again. You'd expect, when looking at the math results, that rendering would be a cakewalk. Yet because it's so intensive the bandwidth just cannot keep up and the performance suffers. The general tasks tested by PC Mark show how the FX8350 has improved greatly on the FX8150, but is nowhere near the level of the comparable Intel products.
The only place it did okay was in intensive gaming at high resolutions, where the CPU and memory performance matters less than GPU power.
Which is, at the end of it all, about the size of it. We used the very best possible setup to give the FX8350 every chance of proving its worth. If you've already got an ageing AM3 setup, then the FX8350 is the best option available as a decent upgrade for a decent price. If you are looking to upgrade a full system then it's impossible to recommend. It's too slow, it draws too much power, it's too hot. It's just not worth it.
We so wanted this to be a return to form for AMD. This is the best they have to offer, and they are still a mile behind the competition. If you've already got an AMD setup and can only afford a CPU upgrade then this is just worthy of our OC3D Bronze award. For everybody else, steer well clear. For AMD, start with a fresh sheet of paper.