We started this review with a look at the FX-8150 CPU so let’s continue that way on the conclusion…
Overall we were impressed by the new Bulldozer chip, it shares the same external design and build quality as previous AMD processors which of course means we can drop it into many existing motherboards creating an easy upgrade path to the latest technology. In terms of the internal design the decisions made by AMD offer a design which will see our processor perform better as more applications support its many cores. This also includes Windows 8 which AMD have indicated will offer performance enhancements over 7 due to the way the OS handles multi-threaded tasks.
As things currently stand it is clear from our testing that the i7-2600K is a faster CPU in many tasks and for this reason we feel the FX-8150 needs to be a little further away from that model in pricing, especially as we expect a drop on the i7 in the near future.
There are two areas where the FX-8150 excells though, those are gaming and overclocking. In the former we saw the processor give us improved framerates over the Intel model. In the latter the ability to exceed 5GHz with ease offers additional value for money. In fact AMD have indicated that they expect most users to exceed 4.8GHz on air cooling.
Moving on to the 990FX Extreme4 we have another very impressive board from ASRock. It combined flawlessly with the new FX-8150 giving us great overclocking potential and stability from the moment we first turned the system on. Running DDR3-1866 was a simple process also and the overall package is enhanced by the extra features such as support for multiple GPUs, 3TB drives and a great BIOS GUI and update tool.
So that brings us to Sapphire who have created an exceptional 6950. There isn’t much we haven’t covered about this range of card before but Sapphire still managed to impress us with their decision to offer a pre-flashed second BIOS with additional shaders (and performance) available. The card is also overclocked at the factory and has a great bundle including Dirt 3 and from some retailers, Deus EX Human Revolution. Add to this a free HDMI cable, overclocking tool and near silent running and we have the best 6950 we have tested so far.
AMD FX-8150 Black Edition Processor
ASRock 990FX Extreme4 Motherboard
Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 Toxic Edition