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AMD FX-8320E AM3+ Processor Performance Review

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FX-8320E Overclocking and Performance

AMD FX CPUs allow you to change the multiplier on both the base and the turbo clocks. My previous AMD FX experience has been with the FX-8150 and FX-8350; this is my first “E” CPU. Initially I increased the boost multiplier to run to 4.5gHz, but I was getting really odd benchmark results. Watching the clock frequency during the benchmark runs provided the answer: although CPU temps were well within AMD’s specs (the highest temp I saw was 53 degrees Celsius), the processor was throttling very aggressively, dropping as low as 1.4gHz in the middle of benchmarks. Presumably this is to keep the CPU within AMD’s 95 watt power budget.

The solution is to disable turbo boost and increase the multiplier on the base clock. Indeed, this is exactly what MSI’s OC Genie does, setting the base clock to 4gHz (and, oddly, disabling your memory’s XMP profile if it has one. This seems strange, but that’s what it does, so that’s how I tested with it).

I initially made a benchmark pass at 4.7gHz before AMD requested we test with Firestrike Extreme and PCMark 8 Home. The first benchmark would crash at anything over 4.6gHz, while the latter would not complete a run at anything over 4.5gHz, so 4.5gHz base clock is what I tested with, supported with 1.432V of CPU core voltage. Overclocking AMD CPUs really demands a water cooler; I used a Corsair H105 for this.

cpuid

While disabling turbo boost and increasing the base clock might seem crude, it’s the best way to get the most this CPU has to offer. Note that in most of the benchmarks the humble FX-8320E, when overclocked, was able to equal or exceed the performance of the top-dog FX-9590. This is because even with water cooling, the 9590 would throttle itself under heavy loads, to below the 4.5gHz the overclocked 8320E was running at…and this is why you’ll see the “low end” CPU outperform the high end CPU. I suspect this might have been due to the fact that MSI does not certify the 970 Gaming motherboard for use with AMD’s 220-watt CPUs, although AMD says it will work fine.

Let’s take a look at how to overall performance of the FX-8320E compares in the non-graphics benchmarks. The best scores in each test will be in bold. For some tests, lower scores are better; these tests are flagged with an asterisk.

FX-8320E [email protected] FX-9590 i3-4360
AIDA64 Queen 29025 40011 39330 26482
AIDA64 Photoworxx 12393 12922 12814 14894
AIDA64 ZLIB 276 379 399 161
AIDA64 Hash 3280 4583 4757 1895
CINEBENCH OpenGL 88.2 102.8 109.1 128.0
CINEBENCH Single Core 94 108 114 147
CINEBENCH Multi Core 519 719 731 372
Handbrake* 147 108  07 214
Firestrike Extreme Physics 6415 8832 8465 5627
PCMark 8 Web (Jungle)* 0.33 0.32 0.32 0.30
PCMark 8 Web (Amazonia)* 0.13 0.13 0.13 0.12
PCMark 8 Writing* 6.25 5.22 5.26 4.77
PCMark 8 Photo Editing* 0.66 0.54 0.54 0.62
PCMark 8 Video Chat 1 30 30 30 30
PCMark 8 Video Chat 2* 90 66 66 95
Spec APC Interactive* 667 571 691 631
Spec APC Multitask* 1330 1115 1150 1417
Spec APC Render* 800 588 798 1057

The takeaway here is that in any test that uses more than a few cores, the AMD CPU will win, often decisively. The Intel CPU’s superior single-core performance gives it the win in tests that don’t spawn lots of threads. Again, note that overall the overclock FX-8320E outperformed the FX-9590.

Now let’s see how the graphics scores compare. All the scores in this table represent frames per second, so higher is better.

FX-8320E [email protected] FX-9590 i3-4360
Heaven 4.0 Low 135 175 175 205
Heaven 4.0 High 51 52 51 52
AvP Low 290 296 293 302
AvP High 96 97 97 98
Lost Planet 2 Low 72 88 88 101
Lost Planet 2 High 57 67 62 68
Metro 2033 Low 110 126 126 111
Metro 2033 High 49 49 49 51
Firestrike Extreme Graphics 1 21 21 21 21
Firestrike Extreme Graphics 2 14 15 15 15

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that low-quality graphics place more emphasis on CPU core power, whereas high-quality graphics place more emphasis on GPU power. Of the four graphics tests that were configurable, Intel wins 3 at high settings, but by an average of less than two frames per second.

So, what does it all mean? Follow me to the next section to find out…


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9 comments

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  1. Roland

    Gaming performance is changing… I picked up a G3258, Great little CPU with performance greater than say the i5 750(ish) overall. So nothing to sneeze at and if you overclock can easily surpass stock i5s. Problem?

    Well, a few of the newest games can’t be run on it (think Dragon Age Inquisition) as they require 4 cores. So what are we left with? On the cheaper side this or say the 860K. Suddenly those cheaper AMD Quads are looking a whole helluva lot more attractive and as you said your not likely to see to much difference. Fast is still fast just not as fast as some. I’ve always maintained though that for “most” your not going to notice much of a difference is most tasks provided other areas are relatively equal.

    1. David Ramsey

      I’ve never heard of a game that requires four cores; generally, a program just spawns threads and lets the OS and CPU sort out which resources will handle them. Windows has dozens of threads running when you’ve just booted and are sitting there (actually, I just checked, and Task Manager says I have 65 processes going in this case). Most of these threads are low priority, and it could certainly be the case that some modern games would run better with four cores, but they should run, if poorly, with dual cores or even a single core.

      So, as you point out, AMD’s lower cost multi-core chips may well be better for some of these games than a “faster” Intel CPU.

      1. Roland

        Hi David, So sorry for the late reply. I never heard of it either till recently.. Kind of floored me actually since I’ve built a few budget machines for others that will certainly complain if they land up buying that game (one other to.. can’t remember it’s name) Basically what happens is both cores go to 100% and just sit there not allowing you to play.

  2. Athlonite

    I would have been more impressed if AMD had die shrunk this CPU to 22nm instead of just reducing the clock speed thus the TDP from 125 to 95 well big whoop AMD as soon as you clock it the same as an FX8320 (3500MHz) it’s using the same 125W

    1. David Ramsey

      Well, it’s up to GlobalFoundries to get their process size down. It’s a non-trivial thing, you know, which is probably why I don’t know of any company other than Intel that’s managed it.

      I agree the “E” thing seems kinda silly.

  3. Meh

    It took 8 cores to do it but they finally beat an i5 whether that’s good or bad I don’t really know, but hey still cheaper than an Intel processor I’m not complaining I bought one as well.

  4. CrabbyR

    Hi, I picked up an interesting but odd 8320E , purchased it for 132 CAD , came sealed in an amd box with fan which is a pretty good price, Everywhere I look on websites
    the base clock is listed as 3.2 ghz , the unit I have is a base clock of 3.5 , I even looked at the chip again to make sure that the E was present on the processor , which it was ,cpu z reports it as 8320 E, So at stock settings it`s 3.5 and 4.0 turbo , I have a ASrock
    970 extreme 3 board so out of curiousity I set the multiplier down to 3.2 and , it didn`t want to go there, still reported 3.5,
    Guess I could force it down , so this begs the question , Is it a 8320 misbranded and 125watts or a flukey 8320e thats running 95 watts at 3.5 . I haven`t seen anything on the web from anyone else about this, Any thoughs or info?

    1. David Ramsey

      That is an excellent question. My first suggestion would be to make sure you’re running the latest BIOS for your ASRock motherboard– the 8320E came out after most 970 motherboards. So update your BIOS if needed and see if that fixes things.

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