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AMD FX 8320E Processor Review

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Introduction

On August 28th, AMD held a press briefing. While the industry was all a buzz with the anticipated release of the new Radeon R9 285, AMD had a bit more planned. AMD had also decided to release three new FX Series processors. These would include a new lower power version of the FX 8320, dubbed the FX 8320E. There was also the new FX 8370 and FX 8370E. The FX 8370 uses the same 4 GHz base clock as the FX 8350, but features a 100MHz higher turbo boost of 4.3 GHz. The FX 8370E is the low power variant of the FX 8370 with a lower 3.3 GHz base clock to conserve power.

AMD was nice enough to send us samples of the FX 8370 and FX 8370E, as well as the AIO water-cooled version of the FX 9590 during that release. Now AMD has sent us the FX 8320E as a follow up. Thank you AMD!

The AMD FX-8320E processor is the entry level 8-core 95W processor from AMD. Designed to offer a both ‘tall and wide’ performance, it features 8 cores and a large four-core turbo boost. Being 8 cores wide will benefit multi-threaded applications like media encoding, traditional ray-trace renderers, home video and photo editing, and multi-threaded low-level API’s like DirectX 12 and AMD Mantle. The large turbo boost offers more performance for applications using older APIs, smartly using the TDP limit of the processor to increase throughput via increasing clock speed.

In a recent blog, Brad Wardell, Stardock CEO, highlighted that a significant improvement in frame render times is seen when switching from the single threaded DX11 API to the multi-threaded DX12 API. Currently, the widely used gaming APIs use only 1/8th of the processing power available in the FX processor to feed the GPU beasts attached to them. As the gaming industry transitions to the new, close to the metal, highly threaded API’s, it could be possible that PC’s with more cores will be better positioned to give great gaming experiences in the newer titles.

Like all AMD FX processors, the platform configuration speeds are unlocked for voltage and frequency adjustment offering the ultimate in tunability for any use case – end users can tweak the performance/clockspeed/boost/voltages to suit their needs, be it a quiet PC or a fast-as-it-can-go benchmark winner. With the latest Catalyst Omega and supported video card, not only will the an AMD FX based offer the core count that can be leveraged by the new multi-threaded API’s of 2015, but also support key technologies such as OpenCL 2.0, OpenGL 4.4, OpenGL ES3.0, AMD Freesync, AMD TrueAudio, and AMD Mantle.

AMD’s take on the FX Series

AMD FX Processors unlock maximum, unrestrained processing performance for extreme responsiveness you can see and feel.

Maximum Performance

  • The industry’s only 8-core desktop processor
  • Overclock with easy to use AMD Overdrive™ technology and AMD Catalyst™ Control Center™ software suites
  • Supreme power available from virtually every core configuration – also available in 6- and
  • 4-core variants
  • Aggressive performance for mega-tasking and intensive applications like video editing and
  • 3D modeling

Innovative Architecture

  • The industry’s first and only native 8-core desktop processor for unmatched multitasking and pure core performance with “Bulldozer” architecture
  • New 32 nanometer die shrink designed to reduce leakage for improved efficiency, increased clock rate headroom and improved thermals
  • Can deliver cores and performance you need without raising the power requirements

An Industry Leader in Price for the Performance

  • Unlocked processors allow the maximum in tunable performance
  • AMD Turbo CORE Technology dynamically adjusts performance to give you the best experience, no matter what you are doing
  • Get superior performance at a competitive price with unlocked technology

 

Up next, the specifications and a closer look.

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Specifications and a Closer Look

Specifications

Closer Look

AMD supplied us with a MSI 970 Gaming motherboard for testing. It features support for all AM3+ processors and AMD 2-Way CrossFire or Nvidia  2-Way SLI.

The MSI 970 Gaming is quite an attractive motherboard and at $99.99, quite affordable as well

The FX 8320E was already installed in the motherboard, when it arrived.

While not officially certified by AMD, the MSI 970 Gaming is capable of supporting the FX-9000 series. MSI have a great video to help you learn more about this motherboard:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnAb2QF8LJc

In conjunction with MSI’s added value features (USB 3.0, Killer NIC, high quality audio, and excellent visual appeal) with their bundled software (XSplit live streaming/recording 3-month license, OC Genie, Sound Blaster Cinema 2), the MSI 970 Gaming can grow from the FX-6300 or FX-8320E to FX-8350, FX-8370, FX-9370 or FX-9590, as well as up to two AMD Radeon R9 GPU’s.

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Now to move onto the test set up.

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System Configuration and Software

Testing Hardware (AMD):

  • MSI 970 Gaming Motherboard
  • Kingston HyperX Fury 16GB 1866MHz Memory
  • OCZ Vertex 460 256GB Solid State Drive
  • Corcair Vengeance C70 Case
  • OCZ ZT Series 550W Power Supply
  • PowerColor Radeon R9 285 TurboDuo Graphic Card

 

Testing Hardware (Intel):

  • Gigabyte Z97X-SOC Force Motherboard
  • Intel Core i7 4670K Processor
  • Kingston HyperX Fury 16GB 1866MHz Memory
  • Crucial M550 240GB Solid State Drive
  • Spotswood Small Tech Station
  • XFX PRO850W XXX Edition 850w Silver Power Supply
  • PowerColor Radeon R9 285 TurboDuo Graphic Card

CPU Cooling:

  • EKWB Supremacy EVO Waterblock
  • XSPC X20 750 Reservoir/Pump
  • Cooler Master 120mm Fans (3x)

Testing Operating System and Utilities:

  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1

General System Benchmarks:

  • PCMark 8
  • Super Pi

CPU Benchmarks:

  • Fritz Chess
  • Cinebench R15 – CPU
  • 7-Zip
  • Passmark Performance Test 8 – CPU

Memory Benchmarks:

  • AIDA64 Engineer
  • Passmark Performance Test 8 – Memory

Game Benchmarks:

  • 3DMark
  • Cinebench R15 – Open GL
  • Unigine Heaven
  • Bioshock: Infinite
  • Metro: Last Light
  • Thief
  • Tomb Raider

All performance testing was done using the new PowerColor Radeon R9 285 TurboDuo. AMD recommends the R9 270 graphics card with the FX 8320E, yet we sis not have one available.

One the Intel side, an i5 4670K was used. The price far exceeds the price of FX 8320E we are testing. Ideally, we would have used an i3 4360 ($149.99), but we did not have these available to us at the time of testing. The results should still be interesting.

On to performance testing

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General Performance and CPU Performance Results

General Performance Results

Like most modern processors, the FX Series feature a variable clock rate. The FX 8320E features a base clock of 3.2 GHz, with a turbo clock of 4.0 GHz.

PCMark 8

“Use the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark to test the performance of SSDs, HDDs and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office and a selection of popular games. You can test the system drive or any other recognized storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.”

While things do not look like a good start for the FX, as it clearly has the lowest score, it also has the lowest price. The FX 8320E scores are quite close to the FX 8370E scores, a CPU that costs around $50 more. PCMark 8 includes quite few single threaded tests, so it is natural for the Intel processors to make a strong showing.

Super PI Modded 1.5

“In August 1995, the calculation of pi up to 4,294,960,000 decimal digits was succeeded by using a supercomputer at the University of Tokyo. The program was written by D.Takahashi in collaboration with Dr.Y.Kanada at the computer center. This record should be the current world record. (Details are shown in the windows help.) This record-breaking program was ported to personal computer environment such as Windows NT and Windows 95. In order to calculate 33.55 million digits, it takes within 3 days with a Pentium 90 MHz, 40 MB main memory and 340 MB available storage.”

Things seem to look even poorer for AMD when we get the Super Pi. This is another case of a single threaded application. Floating point match is one of Intel’s strong suites and it shows here. The FX 8320E does fair well against its more expensive siblings.

CPU Performance Results

Fritz Chess

Fritz Chess is a benchmark in which a fictitious game of chess is played. As each move has to be calculated by the computer, it is an excellent test of CPU muscle.

The tables turn with Fritz Chess. Here the AMD processors get to starch their multi-threaded legs. The i5 4670K  does manage to best the FX 8370E, though is would be quite the match for a lessor Intel example.

CPU testing continued on next page.

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CPU Performance Results Continued and Memory Performance Results

CINEBENCH R15

“CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and many more.

CINEBENCH is the perfect tool to compare CPU and graphics performance across various systems and platforms (Windows and OS X). And best of all: It’s completely free.”

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The results we saw in Fritz Chess, repeat themselves here with an interesting outcome though. The FX 8320E matched the performance of the FX 8370E. This may be do to the difference in test motherboards. It does show just how close the FX 8320E is to the FX 8370E in mutli-threaded performance.

7-Zip

This form allows you to measure the performance of your computer.The benchmark shows a rating in MIPS (million instructions per second). The rating value is calculated from the measured speed, and it is normalized with results of Intel Core 2 CPU with multi-threading option switched off. So if you have modern CPU from Intel or AMD, rating values in single-thread mode must be close to real CPU frequency. There are two tests, compression with LZMA method and decompression with LZMA method. Once the total passes reaches 100, the score is taken.

 

7-Zip is a well threaded application and even the far most expensive i5 4670K is no match for the AMD FX 8 core.

Passmark Performance Test 8 – CPU

“Fast, easy to use, PC speed testing and benchmarking. PassMark Performance Test allows you to objectively benchmark a PC using a variety of different speed tests and compare the results to other computers. Thirty-two standard benchmark tests are available in five test suites plus there are seven advanced testing windows for custom benchmarking.”

Here we see floating point math performance is lacking on the AMD side. Integer math and compression really shine with the FX line.

Memory Performance Results

AIDA64 Engineer Edition

“FinalWire Ltd. today announced the immediate availability of AIDA64 Extreme Edition 1.50 software, a streamlined diagnostic and benchmarking tool for home users; and the immediate availability of AIDA64 Business Edition 1.50 software, an essential network management solution for small and medium scale enterprises. The new AIDA64 update implements AVX-optimized benchmarks for the upcoming Intel Sandy Bridge processors, adds a brand new video encoding benchmark, and supports the latest AMD and nVIDIA graphics processors.”

The Intel clearly wins this round. The memory performance of the AMD is just no match.

Passmark Performance Test 8 – Memory

Again we see that memory performance in titled in favor of the more expensive Intel..

To the next page, gaming performance.

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Synthetic Game and Non- Synthetic Game Performance Results

Synthetic Game Results

3DMark – Firestrike

“The new 3DMark includes everything you need to benchmark your hardware. With three all new tests you can bench everything from smartphones and tablets, to notebooks and home PCs, to the latest high-end, multi-GPU gaming desktops. And it’s not just for Windows. With 3DMark you can compare your scores with Android and iOS devices too. It’s the most powerful and flexible 3DMark we’ve ever created.

Fire Strike is a showcase DirectX 11 benchmark designed for today’s high-performance gaming PCs. It is our most ambitious and technical benchmark ever, featuring real-time graphics rendered with detail and complexity far beyond what is found in other benchmarks and games today”

CINEBENCH R15

“CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and many more.

CINEBENCH is the perfect tool to compare CPU and graphics performance across various systems and platforms (Windows and OS X). And best of all: It’s completely free.”

Heaven

“Heaven Benchmark immerses a user into a magical steampunk world of shiny brass, wood and gears. Nested on flying islands, a tiny village with its cozy, sun-heated cobblestone streets, an elaborately crafted dirigible above the expanse of fluffy clouds, and a majestic dragon on the central square gives a true sense of adventure. An interactive experience with fly-by and walk-through modes allows for exploring all corners of this world powered by the cutting-edge UNIGINE Engine that leverages the most advanced capabilities of graphics APIs and turns this benchmark into a visual masterpiece.”

Non- Synthetic Game Results

Bioshock: Infinite

“Indebted to the wrong people, with his life on the line, veteran of the U.S. Cavalry and now hired gun, Booker DeWitt has only one opportunity to wipe his slate clean. He must rescue Elizabeth, a mysterious girl imprisoned since childhood and locked up in the flying city of Columbia.”

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Bioshock: Infinite, developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K Games, is the third iteration of the Bioshock franchise. It uses the extremely popular Unreal 3 game engine and is one of the best looking games of 2013.

Metro: Last Light

“It Is the Year 2034. Beneath the ruins of post-apocalyptic Moscow, in the tunnels of the Metro, the remnants of mankind are besieged by deadly threats from outside – and within. Mutants stalk the catacombs beneath the desolate surface, and hunt a midst the poisoned skies above.”

Developed by 4A games and published by Deepsilver, Metro: Last Light uses the 4A game engine. At it’s highest settings, the 4A game engine is capable of bringing all but the most extreme gaming systems to their knees.

Game testing continued on next page.

Game Performance Results Continued, Temperatures, and Overclocking

Thief

“Garrett, the Master Thief, steps out of the shadows into the City. In this treacherous place, where the Baron’s Watch spreads a rising tide of fear and oppression, his skills are the only things he can trust. Even the most cautious citizens and their best-guarded possessions are not safe from his reach.”

Thief was developed by Eidos-Montréal and published by SQUARE ENIX, Eidos Interactive. The newest game in our benchmark suite, Thief is also one of the most demanding and has the highest recommended system requirements. Those heavy requirements allow it to use the Unreal 3 game engine to great effect. It also features AMD’s Mantle API, as well as Microsoft’s common DirectX 11 API.

Tomb Raider

“Tomb Raider explores the intense and gritty origin story of Lara Croft and her ascent from a young woman to a hardened survivor. Armed only with raw instincts and the ability to push beyond the limits of human endurance, Lara must fight to unravel the dark history of a forgotten island to escape its relentless hold.”

Tomb Raider was developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by SQUARE ENIX, Eidos Interactive. It features a modified version of the Crystal game engine and was the first game to integrate AMD’s TressFX 2.0, which adds hair, fur and grass physics.

Temperatures

One thing is quite obvious; the FX 8320E is one cool CPU. The 360mm radiator in the test system has no issue coping with the heat. Indeed, just about any cooler should be able to handle the FX 8320E with breaking a sweat.

Overclocking

I started off overclocking the FX 8370. I was able to eventually get a nice clock of 5.0 GHz. The MSI 970 Gaming motherboard that was supplied for testing, has a reasonably strait forward BIOS. A simple adjustment to increase the voltage to around 1.5 volts was all that was needed to get a very respectable 4.7GHZ clock speed.

The results speak for themselves.

 

The Conclusion and Final Thoughts are next.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

The new AMD FX 8320E is far from ground breaking. It does not really need to be either. Its multi-threading prowess would make the Intel  i3 an easy target. The FX 8320E is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s mild 3.2 GHz base clock and low power label makes it quite easy to overlook from an enthusiast stand point. As the overclocking testing showed, it has quite a bit of potential. This also makes it quite versatile. Indeed, you can use it in the low power configuration for work and with a couple of easy adjustments, crank up the clocks for play time.

The AMD FX-8320E is currently priced at $139.99 online and the MSI 970 Gaming motherboard is $99.99. A great pairing for this combination is DDR3-1600 or DDR3-1866 CL9 memory, and an R9 270 graphics card to build out a capable mainstream 1080P gaming and productivity machine. For more graphics muscle, you could also mate it with a R9 285 or even the R9 280X quite easily. The performance per dollar of such a system should compare favorably with an Intel Core i5-4440 and GeForce GTX 750 with H97 chipset motherboard.

As a bonus, purchasers of the AMD FX 6000 or 8000 series will receive the AMD processor bundle coupon to allow them to choose a free copy of one of the following titles – Thief, Murdered Soul Suspect, Sniper Elite 3, Lego Batman 3, or Corel Aftershot Pro (for $4.95). This bundle is available until February 28th. That makes for quite the deal.

Likes

  • Excellent Multi-threading Performance
  • Very Reasonable Price
  • Strong Overclocking Potential

Dislikes

  • Lack Luster Single Threaded Performance

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