AMD FX-8350 Vishera 8-Core CPU Review

Introduction and Specifications

Even before AMD officially released its Bulldozer-based FX-Series of desktop processors last year, the company was already talking about the follow-on microarchitecture codenamed “Piledriver”. In fact, in the conclusion of our launch article featuring the AMD FX-8150, we posted an AMD-provided slide that showed Piledriver was already on-deck and that it would offer IPC and power improvements over existing architectures, which would result in roughly a 10% to 15% uplift in performance.

We have already shown you what Piledriver could do in mainstream APUs in our coverage of the desktop AMD A10 and A8-Series of products here and the mobile A10-4600M here, but today AMD is finally refreshing its higher-end desktop CPU line-up, which hasn’t seen a new product launch for just over a year. The updated AMD FX-Series of desktop processors featuring the Piledriver microarchitecture was codenamed “Vishera” and we’ve had the flagship variant, the new FX-8350, in the lab for a couple of weeks now. Like other FX-Series processors, the FX-8350 is fully unlocked for easier overclocking, but it’s also been updated with some new features and capabilities courtesy of Piledriver, and AMD has been able to crank the clock speeds way up. In fact, the FX-8350 is the first desktop CPU to feature a base clock of a 4GHz, which can officially Turbo up to 4.2GHz.

We’ve got some quick features and specifications of the new FX-8350 below, along with some related information. Then we’ll move on to the nitty gritty and see just what AMD’s latest flagship desktop processor can do...

AMD FX-Series Processor For 2012
Specifications & Features
CPU Description
Tech/Package 32nm / AM3+
TDP Configs 95W, 125W
Processor Core “Piledriver” (up to 8 Cores), 8MB L2 cache, 256-bit FPUs, 8MB L3 cache
Memory DDR3, 1333-1866, 1.5V
Graphics Core N/A – Pair with AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series Graphics
Performance Management -Core Level: CC6 Power State
-Module Level: L2 Cache power gating via CC6
990FX + SB950
Tech/Package 65nm / FC BGA
TDP Configs 10W for typical configurations
ALink III x4 Gen2
SATA 6 Ports, 6Gbps
USB 12 USB 2.0 Ports, 2 USB 1.1 Internal Ports
PCIe 2.0 Lanes 2x16 or 4x8 + 8x1 + 4x1 + (2x1 on SB)
RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
Software Drivers: Windows 7, Windows 8, Linux

A Side View of the AMD FX-8350 Processor

Before we dive in talk about the new AMD FX-Series, we should call out a few past HotHardware articles which are pertinent to today’s product launch. Although the FX-8350 we’re going to be showing you here today is a new processor, it leverages technologies we’ve previously covered.

The new FX-Series processors, at least for now, will be paired to existing chipsets and motherboards, so we won’t be talking about a totally new platform, like we had to with Trinity and the recently released A-Series APUs. AMD’s latest FX-Series chips use socket AM3+ and are designed for use with previously released AMD 9-Series chipsets, like the high-end 990FX. If you’re unfamiliar with first-gen FX-Series based on the Bulldozer microarchitecture and want to brush up on the features of the 990FX chipset and the newer Piledriver microarchitecture, the list of articles above is a good place to start.

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