AMD's FX-8150 After Two Windows 7 Hotfixes And UEFI Updates

Test Settings And Benchmarks

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Test System Configuration
AMD CPUAMD FX-8150 (Zambezi): 3.60 GHz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache, Socket AM3+
Intel CPUIntel Core i5-2500K (Sandy Bridge): 3.30 GHz, 6 MB Shared L3 Cache, LGA 1155
CPU CoolerSunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer w/Zalman ZM-STG1 Paste
AMD MotherboardAsus Sabertooth 990FX, BIOS 0901 (12/13/2011)
Intel MotherboardAsus P8Z68-V Pro, BIOS 8801 Beta (04/28/2011)
RAMKingston KHX1600C9D3K2/8GX: 8 GB DDR3-1600 CAS 9-9-9-27
GraphicsAMD Radeon HD 6950 2 GB: 800 MHz GPU, GDDR5-5000
Hard DriveSamsung 470 Series MZ5PA256HMDR, 256 GB SSD
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerSeasonic X760 SS-760KM: ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
GraphicsAMD Catalyst 11.12
ChipsetAMD Platform Driver 3.0.842.0

We tested AMD’s FX-8150 in three configurations to quantify its general evolution over the past several months, adding Intel’s closest-priced competing model to see if these improvements could help the firm finally overcome its rival in the targeted price segment.

Asus’ award-winning Sabertooth 990FX takes a starring role in this comparison, and its P8Z68-V Pro was chosen as the closest (feature-wise) Intel-based board we had on-hand.

While we've seen AMD recommend specific benchmarks to demonstrate the improvements enabled by Microsoft, we instead started with our most recent motherboard benchmark suite to evaluate performance without that bias. We did add one benchmark, Skyrim, to the set, since it is the one game we actually use where we thought AMD had the most room for improvement.

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Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
DiRT 3V1.01, Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
Metro 2033Full Game, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" Scene Test Set 1: DX11, High, AAA, 4x AF, No PhysX, No DoF Test Set 2: DX11, Very High, 4x AA, 16x AF, No PhysX, DoF On
SkyrimPatch 1.4 Tom's Hardware save point (25s FRAPS) Test 1: High preset, AA disabled, FXAA enabled (8x AF High default) Test 2: Ultra preset, FXAA enabled (8x/16x Ultra defaults)
StarCraft IIPatch 1.4.2, Tom's Hardware custom map (60s FRAPS) Test Set 1: Medium Details, No AA, 8x AF Test Set 2: Highest Details, 8x AA, 16x AF
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion x64: Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minutes, default AAC format
Lame MP3Version 3.98.3: Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion 0.95: "Big Buck Bunny" (720x480, 23.972 FPS) 5 Minutes, Audio: Dolby Digital, 48 000 Hz, Six-Channel, English, to Video: AVC Audio: AC3 Audio2: AAC (High Profile)
MainConcept ReferenceVersion: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, Two-Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Adobe Photoshop CS5Version 12.1 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010Version 12.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
WinZipVersion 15.5 Pro: THG-Workload (464 MB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 4.01: THG-Workload (464 MB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.22: THG-Workload (464 MB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
ABBYY FineReaderVersion Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • azathoth
    Sigh* I was expecting to see small gains of maybe ~8% optimistically, but instead I see microscopic improvements.

    It is simply embarrassing for an eight core processor to be beaten by a quad core, even considering some apps don't support more then two or four cores.
  • JonnyDough
    In our own exploration of performance in the developer build, FX did, in fact, yield better numbers.

    There it is. That's all you need to know. AMD made a processor that was too ahead of software to be viable. Forward thinking is good, but the software just wasn't ready for it. I have a feeling they'll be ahead though when it comes to the next architectural design. They are after all, pioneering the way.
  • clownbaby
    Like putting lipstick on a pig. I don't understand the method behind AMD's madness with these chips. They're basically relying on software to take advantage of optimization instead of developing a truly fast and efficient architecture. More cores may be the way of the future, but AMD can't compete with intel if it's using twice as much silicon (or more) to achieve similar results. They're reputation as a value alternative can only hang around so long before consumers wake up. I sure hope their next chip takes a large step forward, if for no other reason than to keep intel CPUs affordable.
  • I still cant get past that the 8 core 8150 is slower then a quad core no hyper threading 2500k doing a 3DS Max Render. 248 frames, 8 at once on the 8150, 4 at once on the 2500k, but the 2500k actually finishes rendering each frames in under half the time it takes the 8150 to render a frame.

    That is just pathetic for an 8 core to fail at rendering.
  • KelvinTy
    Sigh... The change is so insignificant that they don't even need to exist...
    My God, AMD... the 2500K just shhhh all over your face again... Why would you do such thing!
  • soccerdocks
    stm1185I still cant get past that the 8 core 8150 is slower then a quad core no hyper threading 2500k doing a 3DS Max Render. 248 frames, 8 at once on the 8150, 4 at once on the 2500k, but the 2500k actually finishes rendering each frames in under half the time it takes the 8150 to render a frame. That is just pathetic for an 8 core to fail at rendering.
    Is rendering a floating point operation or integer operation? The 8150 is not truly an 8 core processor. Although it may perform like one in some aspects, it does not have 8 full cores.
  • aznshinobi
    Lets hope the new stepping brings about larger improvements...
  • de5_Roy
    great read. too bad the patches didn't improve performance. hopefully win 8 will change it. by then, piledriver and trinity might become available.
    it was funny to see stock 2500k's superior capability (especially at 1080p) as a gaming cpu. i recently read in some thread - one guy claiming that 8150's 8 cores (2500k has only 4 cores) improve performance in cpu bound scenarios.
    power consumption is still bad. if amd gets at least 10% better with win 8, that will mean 23 watts less! there's still hope there....i hope...
    i wonder what will happen in multiplayer games e.g. bf3 where cpu is important. from starcraft figures, looks like stock 8150 won't be able to keep up with stock 2500k.
  • _Pez_
    hmm well if there are "8" cores divided in 4 modules . Then why not do multitasking on both AMD "Octa" and Intel quadcore "Hyper treaded CPU's" with multiple programs and see what numbers/time are droped out. Is think my idea could probably show something different.. let's keep giving a try to AMD's new architecture....
  • thartist