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AMD FX-8320e Review

AMD FX-8320e Review

For some time AMD seemed quite happy to leave their FX range of CPUs as they were. Focus for them was very much on their new APUs which offer multi-core CPUs with advanced built in graphics…the latest models using the same GPU tech as their high end desktop cards. Recently though we have seen the focus switch a little as AMD have refreshed the FX chips, looking to hit aggressive price points and include stand out features which have appeal to particular audiences. Today in our AMD FX-8320e Review we look at one of those products, an 8-core model priced very aggressively and offering new, lower power use.

AMD FX-8320e Review – The CPU

amd-fx-8320e-review-cpu amd-fx-8320e-review-pins

As we have noted many, many times before, one of the most customer focused approaches AMD have had in recent years is to stick with a socket for as long as possible and that trend continues with the latest FX CPUs such as this 8320e. They share the same heatspreader and pin layout as the previous models and for most consumers it takes little more than a BIOS update to add support for the chip to a motherboard. Flash, turn off and it will drop into many existing AM3+ boards from all of the major manufacturers. With this particular CPU we have seen numerous reports of people using them in their older 800 series chipset based motherboards, extending the life and improving the performance of those systems.

Like the high end FX processors before it, our CPU for this AMD FX-8320e Review is a true 8-core processor. Looking at the key specifications this model is a 32nm, 95w chip with 8MB of L2 and L3 cache. It has an advertised speed of 3.2GHz however like other high end processors it has the ability to tailor its speed depending on the current workload. This means we idle down lower when the processor is not in use and when under load this model is capable of hitting speeds of 4.0GHz.

So that’s the key points of the new CPU, more of the same but lower power (Older high end FX parts tended to be 100-125w).

amd-fx-8320e-cpuz

AMD FX-8320e Review – Our Motherboard – MSI 970 Gaming

amd-fx-8320e-review-970-gaming-board amd-fx-8320e-review-970-gaming-socket

The 970 Gaming uses a black PCB, mixing in various red sections to add some interest. Being part of MSIs impressive Gaming series this board as with others in the family has Military Class 4 certification which includes the use of high quality components (Super Ferite Choke, Dark Cap) to guarantee stability and long term reliability.

amd-fx-8320e-review-970-gaming-pcie amd-fx-8320e-review-970-gaming-sata

Down at the bottom left of the board we find a slot layout which runs from PCIe 1x through 16x, 1x, PCI, 8x, finishing with another PCI. Sitting beside these is the dedicated audio portion which sits separated from the main PCB by red track lighting. The audio processor has EMI shielding and surrounding it are dedicated audio capacitors from Nichicons acoustic series. Also in this area are dual headphone amplifiers which help those using headphones achieve maximum sound quality.

There are six SATA 3 ports on the 970 Gaming and these support RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10.

amd-fx-8320e-review-970-gaming-mem amd-fx-8320e-review-970-gaming-ports

Further up the board we have a standard 24 pin power connector (which pairs with the 8 pin next to the CPU socket) and between the main power connector and our AM3+ CPU socket we have four memory slots. These are capable of holding 32GB of DDR3 at speeds up to 2133MHz.

Turning round to the back of the board we find a decent range of connectivity. This starts with PS/2 and 2x USB 2.0 (gold plated) before running through optical audio (7.1), 4x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, 2xUSB 2.0, Killer E2205 GB LAN and gold plated audio ports which also run off the ALC1150 Realtek chip.

msi-970-gaming-software

MSI offer their Command Centre software on the 970 Gaming board and it allows us to monitor and control our board from within Windows. We can for example view in real time the clocks of the CPU, including when they are hitting turbo and by how much. Or get involved in some tweaking. For those who are not too keen to take on manual overclocking, the OC Genie screen handles the hard work for us, boosting performance in just a few clicks. Also included with the 970 Gaming is Creative’s SoundBlaster audio control panel.

msi-970-gaming-bios msi-970-gaming-bios2 msi-970-gaming-bios3

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In terms of the BIOS, MSI once again use their Click BIOS 4 which allows us to use our mouse and keyboard, just like the OS to quickly tweak our board. A basic summary screen gives us access to key features and we can then delve a little deeper into the settings, view information on the installed components, update our BIOS from USB and configure detailed fan profiles.

AMD FX-8320e Review – Performance

AMD FX-8320e
AMD FX-8370e
AMD FX-9590
Intel Core i7-4790K
Intel Core i5-4460

Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 5
ASRock 990FX
MSI 970 Gaming

AMD Radeon R9-285

16GB Corsair Dominator DDR3-2666
Samsung 840 Evo 1TB
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB (SATA Testing)
OCZ RevoDrive 350 (PCIe testing)
Corsair Voyager GTX (USB 3.0)

Corsair AX1500i
Antec Kuhler 1250

Installed on a Dimastech EasyXL Test Bench

Intel Wireless AC 7260
Razer DeathAdder
Razer BlackWidow Ultimate
ASUS 120Hz/3D Display

Windows 8.1 64-bit
AMD Drivers: 14.12

Battlefield 4
SiSoft Sandra
dBpoweramp
Cinebench R15
ATTO
Adobe Creative Cloud
3DMark

The test system was built from scratch, a format of the hard drive was performed (NTFS) and then Windows 8.1 was installed. Following the completion of the installation, the video drivers were installed. All windows updates were then installed as were the latest builds of the benchmarking tools. Finally, the hard drives were de-fragmented (where appropriate). For each test, the video drivers were set to default quality/optimizations (unless otherwise stated).
Good Benchmarking Practice
Where possible, each benchmark was performed three times and the median result for each resolution/setting is shown in the tables that will follow. All applications had their latest patches applied and all hardware features the latest BIOS/Firmware.

Cinebench R15
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Music Conversion (2CD lossless to MP3)
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Video Conversion 4K to 720p
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Gaming AMD + AMD 285
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Power Use (Full System Load)
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Cinebench with CPU Overclock
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AMD FX-8320e Review – Conclusion

With the FX-8320e AMD have managed to create a very well balanced CPU. It offers performance very close to the more expensive 8370e however does so at a lower price point and with a touch less heat/power use. The CPU performs best in tasks which fully take advantage of multi-core use with AMD also specifically stating they feel gaming on this processor with a 270 series card hits the great 1080p playable range. In our testing we went a little higher and overall the CPU performed well in gaming tasks so this seems a fair comment from them.

The board we tested with today was the MSI 970 Gaming which is a reasonably up to date board based around AMDs 970 chipset rather than the higher end 990FX. Given the CPU/GPU combination recommended by AMD, the 970 chipset is a decent match for the 8320e and there is little missing from the mainstream board for most consumers to concern themselves with. We still get 6 SATA ports, Crossfire compatibility (multi-GPU to improve performance) and support for reasonably spec’d DDR3. A few more USB 3.0 ports would always be appreciated but MSI do go with a good audio and network solution for this class of board, elevating it above the competition (Dual headphone amps, dedicated audio capacitors, shielded components, Killer NIC).

Of course, as we touched on earlier, one of the strengths of this CPU (and many of AMDs FX range) is that it is compatible with older motherboards. So if you are using an 890 Chipset board with a Phenom CPU you could find that this (after a BIOS update) just drops in and starts running. That can significantly increase the lifespan of any system based around one of those boards. So that mixed with the overall cost and performance balance of this CPU, wins it our recommended award.

Recommended Award

CPU available from Overclockers and Newegg.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

2 Comments

  1. IvanV

    Cool CPU. I wouldn’t have expected that, but the music conversion test showed the shortcoming of this solution best: when things get tough, aggressive throttling occurs in order to keep the CPU within the thermal envelope. Which means that the user gets significantly less than the advertised speed. A test against a regular FX-8320, which nominally has the same CPU clocks, would have demonstrated that even more obviously.

  2. I have FX 8320e overclocked to 4.3 and only got up to 44C after running Prime95 for an hour. This is with a Zalman cnsp 9900 cooler. My intel i5-2500k hits 67C with the same setup. This is definitely a cool running processor. Fan speeds stay low making it a quiet rig as well.

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