AMD FX-8350 Review: Does Piledriver Fix Bulldozer's Flaws?

Hardware And Software Setup

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Test Hardware
ProcessorsAMD FX-8350 (Vishera) 4.0 GHz (20 * 200 MHz), Socket AM3+, 8 MB Shared L3, Turbo Core enabled, Power-savings enabled
Row 1 - Cell 0 AMD FX-8150 (Zambezi) 3.6 GHz (18 * 200 MHz), Socket AM3+, 8 MB Shared L3, Turbo Core enabled, Power-savings enabled
Row 2 - Cell 0 AMD Phenom II X4 980 BE (Deneb) 3.7 GHz (18.5 * 200 MHz), Socket AM3, 6 MB Shared L3, Power-savings enabled
Row 3 - Cell 0 AMD Phenom II X6 1100T (Thuban) 3.3 GHz (16.5 * 200 MHz), Socket AM3, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo Core enabled, Power-savings enabled
Row 4 - Cell 0 Intel Core i7-3770K (Ivy Bridge) 3.5 GHz (35 * 100 MHz), LGA 1155, 8 MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled
Row 5 - Cell 0 Intel Core i5-3570K (Ivy Bridge) 3.4 GHz (34 * 100 MHz), LGA 1155, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled
Row 6 - Cell 0 Intel Core i5-3470 (Ivy Bridge) 3.2 GHz (32 * 100 MHz), LGA 1155, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled
Row 7 - Cell 0 Intel Core i5-2550K (Sandy Bridge) 3.4 GHz (34 * 100 MHz), LGA 1155, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled
MotherboardASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Professional (Socket AM3+) AMD 990FX/SB950 Chipset, BIOS 1.9
Row 9 - Cell 0 Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H (LGA 1155) Intel Z77 Express, BIOS F17
MemoryG.Skill 16 GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600, F3-12800CL9Q2-32GBZL @ DDR3-1600 at 1.5 V
Hard DriveCrucial m4 256 GB, SATA 6 Gb/s
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 680 2 GB
Power SupplyCooler Master UCP-1000 W
System Software And Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectXDirectX 11
Graphics DriverNvidia GeForce Release 306.97

Notice that we're using DDR3-1600 memory in all of our test platforms (a fact that we'll point out again on the Sandra 2013 Beta results page). The FX-8350 officially supports modules running at up to 1866 MT/s, so this could be a potential performance issue if the platform is bottlenecked by bandwidth. Fortunately, it's not. We ran spot-checks on several benchmarks in order to make sure our decision to use 16 GB of DDR3-1600 instead of 8 GB of DDR3-1866 wouldn't reflect poorly on Vishera.

Aside from Sandra's memory throughput result, real-world benchmark's aren't affected. WinRAR is one of the most bandwidth-sensitive apps in our suite, and you can see that it stops scaling at 1600 MT/s.

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3D Game Benchmarks And Settings
The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimGame Settings: High and Ultra Quality Settings, Anti-Aliasing: FXAA, V-sync: Disabled, 1680x1050, 1920x1200, 2560x1600, Custom Demo, 25-second Fraps run
Battlefield 3Game Settings: Ultra Quality Settings, Anti Aliasing: Disabled and 4xMSAA (Deferred)/High (Post), Anisotropic Filtering: 16x, Vertical Sync: Off, 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 2560x1600, Demo: Going Hunting, 90-second Fraps run
World of Warcraft: Mists of PandariaGame Settings: Ultra Quality Settings, Anti Aliasing: 1x AA and 8x AA, Anisotropic Filtering: 16x, Vertical Sync: Disabled, 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 2560x1600, Demo: Crushblow to The Krazzworks, DirectX 11
Audio Benchmarks And Settings
iTunesVersion:, 64-bit Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min., Convert to AAC audio format
Lame MP3Version 3.99 Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
Video Benchmarks And Settings
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.9.8Video: Big Buck Bunny (720x480, 23.972 frames) 5 Minutes, Audio: Dolby Digital, 48 000 Hz, Six-Channel, English, to Video: AVC Audio: AC3 Audio2: AAC (High Profile)
MainConcept Reference v2.2Version: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Application Benchmarks And Settings
WinRARVersion 4.20 RAR, Syntax "winrar a -r -m3", Benchmark: 2012-THG-Workload, 1.35 GB
WinZipVersion 17 WinZip Commandline Version 3, ZIPX, Syntax "-a -ez -p -r", Benchmark: 2012-THG-Workload, 1.35 GB
7-ZipVersion 9.20 (x64)LZMA2, Syntax "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5", Benchmark: 2012-THG-Workload, 1.35 GB
Adobe Premiere Pro CS 6Hollywood Sequence to H.264 Blu-ray, Output 1920x1080, Maximum Quality
Adobe After Effects CS 6Create Video which includes three StreamsFrames: 210, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously: on
CinebenchVersion 11.5 Build CB25720DEMOCPU Test single- and multi-threaded
BlenderVersion: 2.63, Cycles Engine Syntax blender -b thg.blend -f 1, Resolution: 1920x1080, Anti-Aliasing: 8x, Render: THG.blend frame 1
Adobe Photoshop CS 6 (64-Bit)Version: 11 Filtering a 16 MB TIF (15 000x7266), Filters:, Radial Blur (Amount: 10, Method: zoom, Quality: good) Shape Blur (Radius: 46 px; custom shape: Trademark sysmbol) Median (Radius: 1px) Polar Coordinates (Rectangular to Polar)
ABBYY FineReaderVersion: 10 Professional Build ( Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
3ds Max 2012Render Space Flyby, 1440x1080, from Y: RAM Drive
Adobe Acrobat X ProfessionalPDF Document Creation (Print) from Microsoft PowerPoint 2010
SolidWorks 2010PhotoView 360, 01-Lighter Explode.SLDASM Benchmark File, 1920x1080 Render, 1.44 Million Polygons, 256 AA Samples
Visual Studio 2010Google Chrome Compile, Scripted
Synthetic Benchmarks And Settings
PCMark 7Version: 1.0.4
3DMark 11Version 1.0.3
SiSoftware SandraVersion: 2013 Beta Processor Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth, .NET Arithmetic, .NET Multimedia
Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • amuffin
    Looks like AMD did pretty well with the 8350.

    I now really don't see people purchasing it though....people will be buying the 8320.
  • kracker
    Interesting, nice improvement over BD, it spars very closely or beats the i5-3570K sometimes, It really can't compete with intel's high end, but nevertheless good job AMD!
  • sixdegree
    AMD is doing good with the pricing this time. This is what AMD should be: aggressively priced CPU with added features.
  • esrever
    The price is actually nice this time. Hopefully AMD sticks around and gives good deals like this for years to come.
  • Nice job AMD. It just kept itself afloat! Not performance killer, but good enough to get a chunk of desktop sales just in time for the holiday season. Probably wouldn't buy it over an Intel system because most apps are still quite single threaded, but I would certainly consider it. Welcome back to the race AMD. Keep up the good work!
  • najirion
    so... amd will still keep my local electric provider happy. Good job AMD but I think FM2 APUs are more promising. The fact that APUs alone can win against intel processors if discrete graphics is not involved. Perhaps AMD should focus in their APU line like integrating better gpus in those apus that will allow dual 7xxx graphics and not just dual 6xxx hybrid graphics. The entire FX architecture seems to have the issue with its high power consumption and poor single-thread performance. Better move on AMD...
  • dscudella
    I would have liked to see more Intel offerings in the Benchmarks. Say an i3-2120 & i3-3220 for comparisons sake as they'll be cheaper than the new Piledrivers.

    If more games / daily use apps start using more cores these new AMD's could really take off.
  • EzioAs
    Interesting. Probably not a gamers first choice but for users who regularly use multi-threaded programs, the 8350 should be very compelling. About $30 cheaper than a 3570K and can be overclock as well, video/photo editors should really consider this. It doesn't beat current Intel CPUs in power efficiency but at least it's significantly more efficient than Bulldozer.

    Thanks for the review.
    Btw Chris, how many cups of joe did you had to take for the overclocking testing? ;)
  • sorry just not overly impressed.
    5-12% performance increase 12% less power - sound familiar?
    the only difference this time was less hype before the release. (lesson well learned AMD!)
  • gorz
    I think the fx-4300 is going to be the new recommended budget gaming processor. Good price that is only going to get lower, and it has overclocking.