AMD FX-8370E Conclusion

Since the bygone days of the GHz wars, energy efficiency is now a key part in any x86 CPU manufacturer handbook. When designing a CPU, parts can be engineered to either be all-out guns blazing on performance, or it can strike a balance between performance and power. When AMD first announced the FX-9590, it was presumed that the Vishera architecture was the former, given the large power increase to get to 5 GHz with turbo. That same principle comes across in these new energy efficient processors, especially when the FX-8370E is 700 MHz less than the FX-8370 it tries to emulate for a 30W decrease.

Trying to have an energy efficient part of an architecture that loves high frequency at the expense of power is an odd scenario, one borne from the initial production of motherboards that supported these processors. When there were only 95W and 125W CPUs to worry about, motherboards were made to only cope with this setting, until 220W CPUs hit the ecosystem. These 95W parts allow AMD to offer an upgrade path to an 8-thread machine without replacing the motherboard. The fact that AMD is going this far might suggest they have some strong data that a user would more likely replace a CPU than a motherboard. Admittedly replacing a CPU usually requires a BIOS update or less, whereas upgrading a motherboard is a bigger ordeal.

In terms of absolute performance, the FX-8370E sits somewhere between the FX-6350, FX-8150 and FX-8350. The multi-core performance puts it ahead of the FX-6350 CPU, but the single core performance can juggle around with all three, sometimes between the FX-8150 and FX-8350 due to the generational gap but often on par with the FX-8150. The same goes with gaming, where it competed with the FX-8150 near the bottom of our charts. The new FX-8370, the non-E part, should come out a clear winner over the FX-8350, so it stands to reason that the FX-8370E sits below them both due to the base frequency difference.

For competition against Intel, the nearest sets of numbers we have are the i3-4330, i3-4360 and the i5-4690, positioned well below and above the price point respectively. Intel wins hands down on the single threaded performance, even against the FX-9590, although having access to 8 threads on the FX-8000/9000 series is becoming more important for tasks like compression, multi-threaded web browsing and media creation.

AMD’s ideal scenario is a gamer using a combination of an FX-8370E ($200) with, for example, an MSI 970 Gaming motherboard ($90) and an R9 285 GPU ($250). Altogether this would cost around $540 for the start of an 8-thread system. This will do fine in gaming at 1080p, and the parallel to draw is that this performs the same as an FX-8150, but at lower power. It is a shame that the FX-8150 came out in October 2011, and nearly three years later we are saving only 30 watts of TDP (24%) and $45 on release price difference (18%) for the same performance on what should be the flagship line for a major x86 manufacturer.  

At the end of the day, AMD needs to upgrade the architecture (and the chipset). At some point the architectures of the FX and APU line either need to diverge their separate ways, or there needs to be a hard earned reconciliation attempt to find a node and a manufacturing process suitable for both low power graphics cores and high frequency processor cores. We know about AMD's plans for 2016, dealing with ARM and x86, and the announcements on K12 so far point to AMD targeting servers, embedded markets and ultra low power client devices. Here's hoping desktop side gets a good boost.

 

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  • boot318 - Tuesday, September 02, 2014 - link

    AMD, you sure the CPU speed is right? :/

    Good to see that power consumption is down (would like to get more data on it). I've been wanting to my my Phenom x3 that I have an office computer with an 8-core, and I might just do it with this one. Black Friday!!!!
    Reply
  • ddriver - Tuesday, September 02, 2014 - link

    Yeah, they fixed power consumption, all they need to do now is double the performance and they are back in the game LOL Reply
  • Flunk - Tuesday, September 02, 2014 - link

    Hey, be nice to AMD. These new processors are totally competitive with Intel...'s Sandy Bridge processors from 3 years ago.

    Seriously AMD, Intel has almost been standing still for 3 years and you're still behind. Come up with something better or us enthusiasts are not going to have a reason to even look at your chips. Your GPUs are a good option, with competitive performance and better prices (I recommend Radeons in almost every price bracket right now because of this). If only AMD could put out some decent CPUs.
    Reply
  • SpaceRanger - Tuesday, September 02, 2014 - link

    Has anyone been looking at their chips seriously?? I stopped using AMD a long while ago. Intel blew them away and it'll take some competitive chips from AMD to get me to think otherwise. Reply
  • ddriver - Tuesday, September 02, 2014 - link

    Don't get me wrong, I sympathize with underdogs, and especially considering in the case of AMD, it was decades of Intel's anti-competitive practices that have pretty much doomed AMD to be a perpetual runner up, but I can't deny the obvious. AMD is where Intel always wanted it to be - a handicapped "competitor", barely enough for Intel to say "we are not a monopoly". I've been a long time AMD consumer, but today it is not worth it, maybe on the low end where power consumption is not that much of an issue and the lower price may make some sense, at least in the short term. But ever since I became a prosumer, AMD CPUs simply have nothing to offer. Radeons are pretty neat though, since they offer tremendously better DP performance for the buck.

    Seriously, how hard is to make a decent CPU... Intel surely has a manufacturing lead as well, but the poor performance of AMD is mostly because of the inferior design, process might give Intel 20-30% advantage, but the rest is all the design.

    On a side note, the CPU performance stalling is actually a good thing, even if AMD was competitive, there are physical limits which CPUs will hit soon, not to mention Intel has already reached the point the chips are too small to displace that much hear efficiently. I remember I used to upgrade CPUs every 18 months or so, but now I have a 2 year old CPU that is only a notch slower than the latest and greatest.

    Moore's "law" is a dud, it is obvious that performance cannot exponentially grow, it is more of a half of bell shaped curve, as we reach physical limits, performance gains will slowly go stale. And quite frankly - that's OK, enough is enough. Did we really make much good use of extra performance? Nope, we got sloppy technologies, slow programming languages, bloated runtimes which kind of "equal out" the experience. I have 10 tabs in my browser open, with total content of all websites not exceeding 100 MB, and yet it takes 1200 MB of ram... Lousy skype, a puny messenger - 100 MB of ram usage? WTF?
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, September 02, 2014 - link

    "not to mention Intel has already reached the point the chips are too small to displace that much hear efficiently."
    So why is my i7-4770k @ 4.5GHz and 1.35V cooler (60°C core average while running Prime95 27.9, delidded) than my old i7-860 @ 3.8GHz and 1.34V (80°C core average with same load)? It is pretty much just Intel cheaping out on manufacturing of the consumer line CPUs, with weak TIM and too much glue for the IHS.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, September 02, 2014 - link

    "Moore's "law" is a dud, it is obvious that performance"
    Way to show that you don't know jack. Moore's Law just says that the number of transistors on the same area will double every 2 years. Nothing about the performance of said transistors.
    Reply
  • mrdude - Tuesday, September 02, 2014 - link

    You forgot the economics portion of Moore's law, which ties number of transistors per dollar. If there wasn't a financial incentive, we would have never had the law in the first place ;) Shrinking didn't just improve die sizes (and almost always performance), but it also made economic sense. If you take into account the economic aspect, ddriver isn't far off. We're not far off heretofore hypothetical scenario of 'It's just too expensive and doesn't provide enough benefit anymore'. In fact, for some semicos we're already there. Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, September 03, 2014 - link

    Seriously, to imply that an IPC should double in performance every 24 months is ridiculously impossible.

    Moore's law is a law of production, not design.
    Reply
  • ddriver - Wednesday, September 03, 2014 - link

    Even so, that is impossible just as well. This would require that transistors can get infinitely small, which is simply not the case. There are limits to how small a transistor can be, and even in the case of insanely slow and expensive atomic assembly transistors will still be several atoms big, and that won't even make it in mass production.

    Moore's law IS A DUD and only applies to a short interval in time, Moore apparently didn't look far enough into the future, and made a foolish assumption transistors will keep shrinking perpetually, and even considering how thick chips were back in his days is no excuse for him making such a statement, nor is there any excuse to people who like religious zealots believe it will hold forever.

    If you bother to actually map transistor size vs time you will not get a straight line but the half of an inverted bell shaped curve, indicating initially slow transistor shrinking, gradually speeding up towards the middle and gradually slowing down to a complete halt the decade or two.

    Something like that: www.futuretimeline.net/subject/images/transistor-size-timeline.gif

    however this one starts at the middle.
    Reply

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