Before bringing this article to a close, we'd also like to take a but about power consumption. Throughout all of our benchmarking and testing, we monitored how much power our AMD FX-based test system was consuming with a power meter, versus other test systems we used for benchmark comparisons on the previous pages. Our goal was to give you an idea as to how much power each configuration used while idling at the Windows desktop and while under a heavy CPU workload. Keep in mind, this is total system power consumption being measured at the outlet and not the individual power of the CPUs alone.
The idle power on all the FX-83xx processors is generally similar, but the full load power needs some explanation. The FX-8350, which dates to 2012, draws about 10% more juice than the newer FX-8730. This is the type of slow evolution that often happens over time as a process matures -- the chips AMD is building in 2014 are a bit more refined than they were when the CPU family was new.
The FX-8370E draws less power than any of the other FX-8xxx family, but there's still a 121W gap between the system's idle power and its full load draw. How does this happen when the chip supposedly has a 95W TDP?
The answer lies in how TDP is defined. Years ago, Intel and AMD defined it differently, with Intel stating that CPU TDP represented typical power consumption in a range of workloads while AMD defined TDP as the maximum amount of power that one of their CPUs could ever draw, period. The company seems to be moving away from that definition and instead adopting an approach that ensures power consumption over a period of time doesn't exceed a specific threshold. Under sustained load, the FX-8370E throttles back its clock and power consumption while the FX-8370 does not.
Since one of AMD's stated goals for these new chips was to create a high-end option for mid-range motherboards, we've got to take the company at its word that the 95W TDP processors will not overload the platforms of their target markets.