AMD FX-8350 CPU: Piledriver Arrives

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Performance Analysis

We arrived at our overall performance figures by giving each CPU a proportional score in each real world benchmark with each test having an equal weighting. The scale has been adjusted so that the FX-8350 is the reference point with a score of 100.

The FX-8350's performance leap over the FX-8150 is considerably more than the FX-8150 had over its predecessor, the X6 1100T, but it still lags behind popular Intel chips like the i5-2500K. It's disappointing to see AMD's best still trail Intel chips released almost two years prior.

Dividing the overall performance by the platform street cost (CPU plus an average priced motherboard) gives us the performance per dollar, re-weighted with the FX-8350 at 100 points.

Competitive pricing has been an important strategy for AMD's viability throughout most of its history and here it saves the FX-8350 from domination. With regards to initial platform costs, the FX-8350 delivers almost the exact same bang for your buck as the i5-2500K.

To determine performance per watt, we divided the overall performance score by the average power consumption calculated earlier and again re-scaled with the FX-8350 as our reference.

If energy efficiency is your biggest concern, the results are overwhelmingly in favor Intel. The i7-3770K is a particularly adept specimen touting twice as much performance per Watt than the FX-8150 while the rest of Intel's lineup have an advantage of at least 45%.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The FX-8350 is faster across the board than the FX-8150 but like its predecessor, it's hampered by uninspiring single-threaded performance and crummy energy efficiency. In both regards, there's a lot of ground to make up if AMD want to catch Intel. Sandy Bridge chips, which are approaching their second anniversary, hold a noticeable lead in all areas except for price. The one place FX-8350 might have the advantage is in performance per dollar, but only against high-end models like the i7-3770K. In this metric, it effectively ties the Core i5-2500K, a processor which is much closer to the FX-8350's price-point.

AMD's new flagship offers a decent boost in speed over its predecessor but the upgrade isn't substantial enough to alter the desktop CPU landscape in any meaningful way. Like the FX-8150, the FX-8350 is only a suitable choice for a small subsection of desktop users: those with heavy, multi-threaded workloads and complete ambivalence toward power consumption. If for example, you primarily use your PC for video encoding/rendering and your utilities are included with your rent, Piledriver/Vishera might be for you. For the rest of us, it's hard to stomach and impossible to rationalize.

Our thanks to AMD and ASUS for the FX-8350 and Sabertooth 990FX R2.0 samples used in this review.

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Articles of Related Interest
AMD A10-5700 APU: Trinity at 65W
AMD Trinity: A10-5800K & A8-5600K 2nd Gen APUs
Intel Core i7-3770 Ivy Bridge CPU
Intel Sandy Bridge Extreme: Core i7-3960X LGA2011 Processor
AMD FX-8150 8-Core Bulldozer Processor
AMD A8-3850 Quad Core Desktop APU (updated July 10)

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