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.
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.
|CINEBENCH Single Core||94||108||114||147|
|CINEBENCH Multi Core||519||719||731||372|
|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.
|Heaven 4.0 Low||135||175||175||205|
|Heaven 4.0 High||51||52||51||52|
|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…