AMD’s APUs might be great budget buys, but AMD’s FX architecture generally struggles to compete with Intel. Despite ostensibly having eight physical cores, the FX-8350 scores 2,701 in our multi-threaded video encoding test, for example, while the Core i5-4690K manages 3,333. Of course, the FX-8350 costs £130 against the Core i5’s £170, but the FX chips are also really power-hungry.
Our test rig drew 110W from the mains with the Core i5 under load, but our AMD rig with the FX-8350 drew around 200W . In a bid to combat power consumption and provide AM3+ motherboard owners with a new upgrade, AMD recently launched a couple of Vishera-based E-series FX CPUs. Still based on the Piledriver architecture and using an aging 32nm manufacturing process, the FX-8320E and FX-8370E have seen their official TDPs drop to just 95W – the same as the A10-7850K. There are still eight x86 cores (integer units), courtesy of four Piledriver modules so, with eight threads on tap, the FX-8370E should prove potent in multi-threaded applications.
That said, the lower power consumption appears to be partly derived from a cut in base frequency, with the FX-8370E sitting at 3.3GHz with a 4.3GHz Turbo clock. The non-E-series FX-8370 has the same Turbo frequency, but a base frequency of 4GHz, so the 8370E’s base frequency is a good 700MHz slower. All the other specifications are the same – they both have four Piledriver modules and eight cores, 8MB of L2 cache and 8MB of L3 cache. There is a small catch though. Both the FX-8370E and FX-8370 cost £143, which isn’t only higher than the very similar FX-8350, but also higher than
the cost of most of Intel’s non K-series Core i5 chips, so the 8370E really has to prove itself.
As we’re still collecting results for our new benchmark suite, we’ve included results for our previous suite in order to make comparisons with AMD’s older CPUs. The FX-8370E managed an overall score in the old suite of 1,466, compared to 1,788 for the dualcore Core i3-4130 and 2,328 for the quad-core Core i5-4690K.
The FX-8350, meanwhile, managed 1,660. With a Turbo frequency of 4.3GHz, the 8370E should be more competitive in this test, but we found it rarely boosted this far, even on a 990FX-based motherboard with its latest BIOS. With all its cores, the FX put up more of a fight in Cinebench R15, where its score of 531 was only a little behind the Core i6-4690K’s result of 594, but the FX-8350 was faster again, with a score of 643.
The Intel CPU was faster in the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim too, with a minimum frame rate of 90fps compared to 80fps for the AMD CPU, although the Core i3-4130 was slower still, posting just 57fps. Meanwhile, power usage sat at 77W at idle and 153W under load; both results are noticeably higher than those from Intel’s Core i5-4690K, but a little lower than the FX-8350’s power figures. We managed to overclock the FX-8370E to 4.62GHz, using a vcore of 1.38V and HTT speed of 280MHz, which is a little slower than the 4.8GHz we managed to get from the FX-8350.
This overclock saw the overall score in the benchmarks rise from 1,466 to 1,744 but that increase still wasn’t enough to eclipse the Core i3-4130, although it did beat the (stock speed) Core i3 in our multi-threaded video encoding test.
In Cinebench R15, the extra threads available over the Core i5-4690K finally made themselves known too, as it just pipped it to the post with a score of 734 compared to 724. However, this test also saw the power consumption rise, with a load peak draw of 284W – over 100W more than the overclocked Core i5-4690K.
While the power savings offered by the FX-8370E are welcome, they aren’t achieved by a tweaked architectural design or smaller manufacturing process, but by lowering the clock speed. The 8370E also costs noticeably more than the FX-8350, and it’s still much more power-hungry than Intel’s mainstream desktop CPUs.
Also, its performance in many areas is inferior not just to Intel’s CPUs, but also the likes of AMD’s cheaper FX-8350 at stock speed. In addition, while the 8370E is meant to be able to Turbo boost to 4.3GHz, the highest frequency we saw during benchmarking was 3.8GHz, and that was on a top-of-therange 990FX-based motherboard.
The FX-8370E might be appealing if you own an AMD motherboard that has a 95W (TDP) CPU limit, and you don’t want to replace your motherboard. However, if you’re building a new system, Intel’s Core i5-4690K costs a little more and offers much faster performance, while cheaper AMD CPUs such as the FX-8350 are faster too. As you’ll still need a hefty CPU cooler to overclock the FX-8370E, we’d recommend opting for its older, cheaper siblings instead.