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AMD FX-8150 8-Core Processor Review: Bulldozer Has Landed

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News Posted: Wed, Oct 12 2011 12:06 AM

AMD FX-8150 8-Core CPU Review: Bulldozer Is HereToday AMD is officially taking the wraps off its latest FX-Series of desktop processors, targeted at performance-minded PC enthusiasts and overclockers. The FX-Series is based on the processor core formerly codenamed Zambezi, which leverages AMD’s much anticipated Bulldozer microarchitecture. The flagship processor in the new FX-Series line-up is the FX-8150, an unlocked, 8-Core processor, with gobs of cache and peak Turbo frequencies that exceed the 4GHz mark. But there’s a lot more to the FX-Series than speeds and feeds. The Bulldozer microarchitecture is a completely new design, which was built from the ground up in an attempt to shed some weight and produce a modular, highly-efficient CPU...

AMD FX-8150 8-Core Processor Review: Bulldozer Has Landed

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realneil replied on Wed, Oct 12 2011 12:17 AM

Good to see this thing finally land. Even though it didn't cream the 2600K like people thought it would, it's still a strong performer in it's own right.

I guess now it's up to AMD to make this CPU ~a very compelling buy~ to ensure it's success. If the price to performance ratio is good enough compared to Intel's offerings, it will sell.

The only thing about this beast that gives me pause is the amount of power that it consumes, and the heat that it will certainly generate. (I have a 2600K now that is fast, efficient, and runs cool)

I'm going to wait for a while before I buy into anything. I'm sure that some sort of response is imminent from the boys in blue, and I want to see what that is. Plus, the prices of these Bulldozers will probably come down before too long. Now may not be the best time to buy one.

I thought that this review was a good read, and I stayed up late just to read it all before I went to sleep. I waited until now to comment though. (I couldn't stay awake last night) Good job on the review Marco, as always.

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pwrntspd replied on Wed, Oct 12 2011 1:16 AM

I wont lie, im happy and a bit sad all at once. Good to see AMD finally releasing this thing, its about time! However, the performance is a bit disappointing, hopefully it will indeed get better in the future with windows 8 and maybe an update to windows 7? Either way, my next comp is a laptop and it will be trinity so im curious to see how piledriver cores will improve upon what ive seen here today. Either way, Congrats AMD! And thanks to Hothardware and Marco for the article!

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Thanks for the review Marco! I'm a little bummed about the performance and power consumption but it still looks like a good chip at an affordable price; which we all expected. Looking forward to seeing some more builds with this! 8 cores......crazy!

Now you're just mashing it!

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I did read the AMD FX 8 cores CPU. I was somewhat impressed with its performance. Let's wait for Intel release new powerful processor soon.

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KreepyK replied on Wed, Oct 12 2011 2:05 AM

I have been eagerly waiting for this CPU to come out and now I'm deeply disappointed... That thing could bearly compete with the core i5. I'm sure if AMD made and 8 core phenom processor it would perform just as good...

I do understand the challenges that AMD has been facing all these years being the competitor of a dominant monopolistic and resourceful giant like Intel but this is really dispiriting...

I really hope they get their rear in gear and come up with more efficient and competitive chip designs.

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AKwyn replied on Wed, Oct 12 2011 2:12 AM

Nice review Marco. I liked how you hit all of the points that people want to hear about, such as how the processor performs in certain citations.

I'm guessing I was right in the fact that Bulldozer would match Intel's processors. I mean even if it didn't beat Intel, it still performed relatively close to them (i7 not included) and if they manage to get their stuff together for next year then maybe it could possibly beat the newer SB-E processors, maybe...

The fact that the CPU didn't perform as they expected however is going to disappoint a few fans who were anticipating Bulldozer though, me included. I mean I've seen a video of some form of Bulldozer powering a game while allowing multi-tasking to happen and while the same may apply here, it just doesn't seem to be the Intel crushing monster that it was hoped to be...

I was surprised that the thing used a combine method of Hyper Threading and true cores. (Kinda makes me wonder how a 12 core Bulldozer processor would perform) I mean I knew that they had some form a method that allowed them to have 8 cores with 4 modules but I didn't expect it to be this. In any case, historically AMD's methods of producing processors have always lead to questionable performance as time goes on. I mean we have Intel focusing heavily on x86 performance and with the lead they have in silicon dies... There's just no question who dominates here.

Anyways, the methods they've used has always resulted in less then expected performance for those users who used their processors, even though some don't mind the performance drop. While they may have found a way that could at least best Intel at some parts, the applications for which it was put through placed less then expected performance results. Like the computer was giving it instructions and the processor just knew exactly what to do but didn't know the most efficient way to do it; this has historically been AMD's weakness; they do seem to be putting improvement with Bulldozer but it's still a weakness.

Despite that, No one can deny that the confidence that AMD had in this processor was justified and again, bringing back the FX brand is a vote of confidence that AMD was working hard to put out a competitive processor that can compete with Intel's 5-series CPU's. And did you see the slides leaked from AMD presentations that detailed how the processor could be powerful under certain situations due to the Bulldozer module that they made for the CPU; and you can't forget about that AMD belt that was seen just a few days. Even though the performance of the processor was disappointing to some, you can't deny that AMD didn't convince customers that their processor would at least not be a Phenom II X4.

So aside from that; yeah... This is Bulldozer in all it's glory. I wasn't following much on Bulldozer due to my lack of interest in upgrading the system but from what I've read, it's competitive, it's cheap (okay, it's $50 more expensive but the fact that it matches Intel at certain parts makes it more viable to those looking for an Intel alternative without the really crappy performance.) and even though they couldn't take advantage of the 32nm process (power consumption for example.) they have managed to make a competitive processor and a jumping pad for future AMD processors should they feel the heat from the SB-E processors that'll be released earlier that'll be certain to blow most of the Bulldozers out of the water but at a high-cost.

Good job AMD! Good job!

 

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digitaldd replied on Wed, Oct 12 2011 9:19 AM

It will be interesting to see the power numbers for the 95W 8 core part the 8120(?). The one things that I look at negatively is the huge differential in the idle and under full load power draws.. At this state of the AMD CPU front I'm thinking the Daneb's still give the best bang for your buck.

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acarzt replied on Wed, Oct 12 2011 10:15 AM

Disappointing performance considering all the hype!

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super disappointed...the i5 2500k is $220..the 8150 $280...and it still stomps the 8150 lol, guess i shall wait a BIT longer on a new pc, the 2011 sockets from intel will be extreme :)

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I'm looking forward to what they are going to do with the future of this design. Main thing holding bulldozer back is still the dreaded IPC. Their plans are preportedly to improve IPC signifigantly in the next iteration, and stick Graphics on it for Trinity.

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rrplay replied on Wed, Oct 12 2011 2:46 PM

Thanks for the excellent review Marco ! Somehow I was not actually expecting Bulldozer to crush a SB 2600k & out AMD back on top..But more interested into what AMD willin the future.Seems like the more answers that are revealed, the more questions come up ..Can't really say that AMD missed the mark>> just fell a bit short .The two -step Turbo Core sounds interesting and looking forward to 'Piledriver'  Overall happy to see BD finally out in the wild,and a glimpse  at the direction AMD is likely to take and hopefully for all of us they will take care of the tweaking that's needed and get into out hands early in 2012.

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Thanks for the review Marco I have been waiting for this one for awhile now. Very disappointing for sure as I was hoping that Bulldozer would have more oomph.

We need AMD to find it's mojo... and quickly. The GPU touting is all well and dandy but I would like to see x86 improve.

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"Oh boy. Well , it did not turned out As I predicted, but it still a good chip. I did some analysis and I came to the conclusion that  AMD needs to price the 8150 equally to SB 2500k, had it been so from the beginning, then the reviews all across the board would have been more favorable. I see a little of Intel's *Speed/Price* ratio pricing of the X58 chips, specifically from the 920 all the way up to the 960. Its the same exact chip but clocked at different *stock* speeds and price. So what do I mean by all of this, well, the 8120 is the same as the 8150, only one is clocked higher then the other so, I would rather save me $60 and go for the 8120 and just have it overclocked to the same overclock speeds that the 8150 can reach."

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103960

"Can't deny that the hype has turned negative for AMD. The average consumer is saying why can't an  8 core beat a 4 core? Why the FX brand, why so much delay for such little gain over the Phenoms. Its safe to say AMD did not deliver but, ultimately, it's not bad, just need better pricing."

"Anyone catch the name scheme in the roadmap?, Bulldozer - PileDriver - SteamRoller - Excavator. ROFL, someone over at AMD sure loves construction equipment, its like with Nvidia and Comic books characters, Ka-lel  - Wayne - Logan - Starks, lol. "

"Anyhow, Marco , is there a separate Bulldozer vs Sandy Bridge Gaming analysis and review coming? Maybe Joel H is working on it?"

 

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AKwyn replied on Wed, Oct 12 2011 5:22 PM

Wheatley:
I did some analysis and I came to the conclusion that  AMD needs to price the 8150 equally to SB 2500k, had it been so from the beginning, then the reviews all across the board would have been more favorable.

*slaps head profuriously hard*

Intel Core i5 2500k: $218

AMD FX-8150: $245

I know it's only the suggested retail price but there is only a marginal difference between the price points, so I doubt that it would favor in better reviews. If you really did the research, you would of discovered this: http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/amd_fx_8150fx_8120fx_6100_and_fx_4170,1.html

Also I'd wait a while before making a judgement about the prices, I mean alot of retailers are inflating the prices beyond their suggested prices and I don't know why they're doing it but it just ain't right...

Wheatley:
So what do I mean by all of this, well, the 8120 is the same as the 8150, only one is clocked higher then the other so, I would rather save me $60 and go for the 8120 and just have it overclocked to the same overclock speeds that the 8150 can reach."

So why are you making a big point of an obvious thing that everybody knows? You even said this before in one of your posts; as much as I share your opinion, stating it as a point just doesn't help you in any way.

Wheatley:
"Can't deny that the hype has turned negative for AMD. The average consumer is saying why can't an  8 core beat a 4 core? Why the FX brand, why so much delay for such little gain over the Phenoms."

Didn't you read the article? I read it page to page, detail to detail. The bulldozer-module is a combination of multi-threading and hyper threading. Which means that there are really only 4 cores (modules) and the rest is emulated with hyper-threading... Hence the comment about the 12 core CPU (12 equaling 6 Bulldozer Modules.)

Also:

So yeah... Bulldozer managed to near the i5-2500k at some things but to not match the i7-2600k is disappointing. The price thing is overblown though.

 

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CMarko replied on Wed, Oct 12 2011 6:44 PM

actually performs quite well considering they used low frequency ram, it's NATIVE 1866 memory, the lower ram speed and the bottle necking from windows not addressing the cores properly hurt it more than anything, every test using the higher frequency 1866 ram competes with an I7 2600k.

not realizing i think some testers bottle necked the cpu therefore not letting it hit it's full potential in the currant setting.

I think the misconception here is that it wants and needs the 1866 Mhz ram,it needs fed as fast as you can feed it and the faster you feed it and the more you feed it the faster it gets.

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Thanks for the review though the news saddens me a bit. With these chips sucking up as much power as a previous gen chip you would think the performance would be a bit better.

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Drago replied on Wed, Oct 12 2011 10:33 PM

They should be calling the FX 8xxx series quad cores, the 6xxx series triple cores, and the 4xxx series dual cores. The bulldozer module's just do not perform good enough to call the top of the line an 8 core chip. This is just as bad when Intel made the Pentium D and called it a dual core when it was two cores on one chip using the fsb as a connector.

Im glad to see a new micro arch, but come on, it has to be competitive. All the hype and my Phenom II X4 is just about as good as it. Maybe it is time for AMD to let the garbage of ATi go. Ever since AMD bought them they have had nothing but hell meeting deadlines for their procs. It is like they bought ATi and focused hard on doing good in the vid card market and figured the stuff with the processors would just fall into place. Fusion while a nice idea and halfway practical targets the bottom of the barrel desktop market. AMD just doesnt have enough laptop market share to really make enough money off of it.

Unless new programs are written and old ones rewritten to take advantage of AMD's new micro arch, i think AMD is toast. They just dont have the market share to continue to fail like this. At least Nvidia is smart enough to delay till they have enough performance to be competitive, rather than send out slower crap than what the competition has. This is why VIA had to get out of the CPU market, and now it looks like AMD needs to be following suit if they cant cut the mustard. Intel cant hold back to much longer, they are already 2-3 years ahead of AMD and have Ivy Bridge ready that will simply crush AMD's whimpy thunder of their FX chips. I hate to say it, but i might just have to break down and actually buy Intel the next go around. Been using AMD since 1998...such a shame.

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rapid1 replied on Thu, Oct 13 2011 10:21 AM

I don't know what to think really. Of course these will continue to develop and or be developed I am sure and therefore the capabilities will go up. I am disappointed with AMD though as long as they have been working on Bulldozer the performance should be better. I personally was an AMD die hard for many years. As far as it goes the system I am on now is an Intel system I won here and the last system I built uses a Phenom II 965 Black. However; I do not see much reason other than the enhanced memory and bandwidth capabilities, but that is also just as much the AM3+ chip set, as it is this CPU.

I apologize to anyone I offend by saying that I am disappointed, and it seems to be a decent unit especially regarding the price lines. I just think they should have had it more solid in the amount of time they have been working on it. The generals such as the build size (NM) and energy usage etc as well seems like a settlement rather than a drivenly developed device t me. I wanted more capabilities in many ways. I guess we will just have to see where it goes from here though as I said earlier.

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rapid1 replied on Thu, Oct 13 2011 10:24 AM

The only thing is Draco AMD would most likely not exist any more if the did not have ATI and the profit they have gotten from the GPU's as AMD just had the first positive quarters for the last few quarters in many years. That was almost entirely due to there GPU's not there CPU's as they were just pulling even really financially.

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rrplay replied on Thu, Oct 13 2011 5:08 PM

AMD1:
Forget about Sandy Bridge Bulldozer is slower than Thuban clock for clock in the majority of applications both single and multi threaded and the power draw is totally inexcusable. What the hell is going on at AMD? They totally blew it with this sh.......

anyhow  welcome to HH AMD1 and seeing your 1st post  ...

sometimes we get a bit creative with some descriptions and have a bit more fun

 

Edit:: >>Thought to mention the above quoted post by AMD1 had been removed due to the profanity references.

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That was Some Good Reading, thanks for the excellent, easy to read review Marco, as always... I had better expectations for the Amd Fx 8 core processor but it turns out to be a dud and did not fulfill as advertised. I have no reason to upgrade my x58 system with a 950@ 3.8 with a GTX 470. It's still going strong.....But still..the Amd Fx does a good job at the benchmarks that appeals to me like Video renders and multi-threaded applications., just no enough to win me over ...I did do as usual and compared reviews....I noticed something fishy going on several sites, I think they sold out to Amd for favorable reviews...glad I'm part of the most respected and reliable tech site around.... HotHardware.COM...thanks for the honest review, see ya guys around soon.

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gazd1 replied on Fri, Oct 14 2011 6:11 AM

I think that AMD's bulldozer has finally ran out of diesel, like I predicted. It can't save itself no more, so amd will not have to go on filling it up with diesel. What they should of done was to try to out do the Ivy bridge chipset instead of the old LGA1366 pinset socket number chipset.

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gloriad1 replied on Fri, Oct 14 2011 6:21 AM

I'd have to agree. The bulldozer seems good compared to the old lga1366 socket number, but I wonder if they'll ever get out of this rut that they're in.

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Everyone commenting needs to do a little more research. The way BD was tested (memory at 1600) cost it performance. Also the problems with GF cost it performance. There are some cache issues and branch perdiction issues.

1* Bulldozer needs its memory to be running at 1866. At that memory speed it is very competative with the 2600.

2* Windows 7 degrades its performance due to cache thrashing (Windows 8 beta gives +10% performance)

3* Running as a 4 core shows a very high gain in single thread performance in Windows 7

The next spin of the chip needs to fix the branch prediction issues, figure out what is wrong with the cache (most likely GF process issue) and fix it, and set BD to only use 1 thread per Compute Unit until you have 5 or more threads active. Microsoft is currently working to fix the issues with thread management, the virtualization companies are already releasing patches.

Bulldozers issues are mostly software and production process. The problems with the branch prediction could be anything, more test is 2CU/4C, 4CU/4C need to be done.

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CDeeter replied on Fri, Oct 14 2011 7:04 PM

I understand what you are saying, but I wonder how many software vendors are going to put out patches?

I was really wanting Bulldozer to address the single/ lightly threaded issue that plagued Phenom.

No one disputes that AMD has been effective at multi-threaded/ multitasking situations, applications just don't make use of these capabilities often enough - even though quad core processors have been around for a long time now, long enough that there is no reason that any application should not be able to make use of all available resources.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. AMD needed to vastly improve IPC, and did not. I hope as this new design matures they can improve upon this area. I have always bought AMD, and will continue to do so, but as it stands I have to concede that Intel has the better chip - for now.

BTW I had an interesting thought, how does Bulldozer fair when there is a bunch of stuff running at the same time? Like on Grandma's PC that loads everything under the sun on start up? Might not Bulldozer show it's worth then?

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That's the thing CDeeter, it does have a (slightly) higher IPC then the last generation when you run it 1 thread per CU.  The cache thrashing really hurts.

As for the patches, since it is an OS level update, expect it to happen to all the server based OSes fairly quicklly.

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DHampton replied on Mon, Oct 17 2011 10:08 AM

While multi threading is not super common yet. Its well on its way even though in first 3 or so years of 64 bit applications I saw 1 game come out with 64 bit programming available.

But I think the next release of operating systems along with gaming console will influence more devolopers to produce more 64 bit applications. Cause it will be flat out impossible to keep up graphically and speed wise with other companys.

As for performance keep in mind all mobos out were designed prior to the release of the cpu. With very little data on it I think after couple firmware updates. And new mobo designs we will see a good 10-20% performance gain. As applications become more and more friendly towards multi threaded computing I think you will see unparalled gains far greater than with other cpus currently on the market.

That being said AMDs biggest failure with this chip was focusing on a multi core processing power. Applications are still a 32 bit market there are 64 bit os and few other things but market is still pretty sparce. Right now buying phenom II 555 processor is still most bang for buck. Unlock into quad core overclock to 3.8/4.0 ghz and you got a processor that cost 75$ competing with 220-300$ processors. Give it a few years and when prices drop software changes and maybe the fx processor will become bang for buck winner. But not yet.

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AMD1 replied on Mon, Oct 17 2011 12:11 PM

I'm sorry I'm just incredibly dissapointed with BD as an enthusiest and a shareholder.  My brother is a broker in NY for ML and he warned me not to buy AMD stock, but I didn't listen.  Then again he also told me Apple needed to keep hitting homeruns that was about two years ago.

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I'm worried AMD made a mistake here. Future operating systems seem to be getting more simplified and not demanding on hardware (eg. win 8 specs are exactly the same as win 7, which was even lower than vista). In such a world single-threaded performance will be VERY important. AMD MUST improve single threaded performance in addition to adding more cores, or eventually they'll be further behind than they are now.

Oh well, seems like my Phenom II X61100T still has some life left in it.

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CYu replied on Sun, Nov 6 2011 1:12 AM

I'm shopping for a cheap box to do some MW3 caputure on CL.

I noticed The FX-8150's are just sitting.

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AKwyn replied on Sun, Nov 6 2011 3:17 AM

CYu:
I noticed The FX-8150's are just sitting.

That comment made me check on the prices for the FX-8150. I thought they'd lower the prices by now, guess I was wrong. Also odd is that on the online stores it's sold out mostly everywhere... Only 4 online stores still carry the product according to Google...

I agree that $269 is a bit too high but seeing the stock that's not coming, the stock that's still at retail stores like Micro Center and the fact that retailers have not marked it to the suggested retail price or near Intel's retail price (I have to wonder what Intel is offering these retails to keep the prices low.) I'm beginning to think AMD needs to take action regarding this matter.

 

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gazd1 replied on Fri, Dec 2 2011 10:29 AM

Good to see this review! Good to keep informed! But at least we know that AMD's bulldozer has finally run out of diesel for good!Cool & Yes

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AKnudson replied on Sun, Dec 4 2011 12:04 AM

The Amd proccesors major selling point is and always has been price, intel has outpreformed the every step ofthe way, but the major reason AMD is still around is because they are just close enough to keep them in the game.

Tia that with an awesome price and you now have a battle not unlike mac vs pc you can buy comparable products from each but one will be better and as a result the other will be cheaper.

One things strikes me as odd though, AMD doesn't have nearly the market share intel has, historically the cheaper compettitor has more customer base.

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Would it be a good idea going from a Phenom 2 X6 1090T to this?

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^Depending on what your doing maybe... but for most people no. 

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Despite all the other comments here, this actually looks very appealing to me considering I'm sitting on an AMD 3.2GHz 6-core.

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Joined: Jul 2013

I bought this processor as an upgrade from my FX-8120. I bought it from newegg with the LC as a bundle. For 190 a CPU and upgraded cooler from my stock was nice. After selling the 8120 i only really paid about 80 for the new cpu and cooler. So far i haven't had any problems with it. The performance isn't top of the line, but it definitely is great for multi-tasking. The heat generation from this this really is quite high. I wish that it was a little bit more efficient on power in turn making less heat. The ability to OC the FX series has been made quite easy with AMD overdrive. Without changing any kind of voltage i've been able to OC the 8150 to 4.4ghz and keep it stable at about 60-65C with the LC. I have yet to experiment much with changing the voltage. I'm sure i would be able to OC closer to 5 ghz with more experimenting. Overall the price/performance ratio is great in my opinion. Intel continues to outdo AMD on the strict processing side and speed, but like a bunch of other comments state they are much more expensive.

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