Our FX-8150 Sample was sent out with a nice presentation tin, showing the artwork that AMD will be using with this series of CPUs.
The processor itself is very similar in appearance to the processors we have seen in the past from AMD, using the same heatspreader on the top and an AM3+ pin layout on the bottom.
So how does the CPU differ internally to the Phenom 2 X6 range? Well the basic answer is that this range is topped by the FX-8150, a true 8-core processor which is fully unlocked, ensuring that it will have maximum appeal to enthusiasts. AMD will also offer 6 and 4 core models based on the same technology however those have not yet been sampled.
The FX-8150 is a 32nm, 125w chip with 8MB of L2 and L3 cache. It has an advertised speed of 3.6GHz 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 between 3.9GHz (All cores) and 4.2GHz (50% of cores).
As well as increasing the number of cores and cache levels AMD have also added support for faster DDR3 speeds, this time officially allowing the use of 1866MHz modules in dual channel configurations.
Additionally it is worth noting that this is a new core family (15h) which was designed with a focus on balancing performance, cost and power consumption in multi-threaded applications. AMDs solution to this was to create dual core "building blocks" which would optimise the resources within the processor, ensuring each area has its own high use components (e.g. L1 cache) where as other components which are used less such as L2 cache and floating point pipelines are now shared.
Speaking of the floating point units, those included in the FX range have been redesigned to support many new instructions (FMA4, XOP, AES, AVX and SSE 4.2). Combined with the front end unit this means that the FX range is designed to handle multi-threaded tasks better than other processors, for example decoding four instructions per cycle compared to the Phenom 2's three.