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AMD FX-8150 Black Edition 8-Core Processor vs Core i7-2600K Review

AMD FX-8150 Black Edition 8-Core Processor vs Core i7-2600K Review

AMD FX Processor (AMD FX-8150 Black Edition) Review vs Intel Core i7-2600K

ASRock 990FX Extreme4 (Scorpius Platform)

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On the last page we looked at the FX-8150 CPU and with new processors AMD often like to give a name to a platform as they also offer motherboards for new CPUs. In this case the platform is Scorpius and the breakdown of how each key component connects is shown above.

In this review we will be using the ASRock 990FX Extreme4 as our Scorpius board.

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For their 990FX Extreme4 board ASRock give us some box artwork which is similar to some other models we have seen from them in the past. Some product information is given on the front with the majority under the flip open front. Inside we find a thorough bundle which includes a USB 3.0 bracket that can be installed in the front panel or in an empty add-in card slot at the back of the PC. We also get some decent documentation, all the cables we will need and an SLI bridge.

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The 990FX Extreme4 is an ATX board based on the AM3+ platform and as with many other ASRock boards it uses a black PCB with blue, white and grey components. In terms of key features that ASRock offer we have the option to attach the bundled fan to our passive cooler, keeping the power circuity and chipsets at a lower temperature than normal. ASRock also use premium gold Japan-made solid capacitors across the board and these combine with a Digital PWM design to ensure stable power at all times.

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Down at the bottom left of the board we find the add-in card slots and these run from a PCIe 1x down through PCIe 16x, PCIe 1x PCI, PCIe 16x, PCI, PCIe 4x and support for three way Crossfire as well as dual NVIDIA cards (Quad SLI with 2x GTX 590) is present. ASRock also position several connectors along the bottom edge of the board and the two most noteworthy are two Marvell powered SATA 6Gb/s sockets and the on-board USB 3.0 header which can be used with the bundled bracket or case ports on recent chassis.

Round at the bottom right of the board we find our AMD SATA 6Gb/s ports which run through the Southbridge and these are capable of RAID and AHCI operation. Beside the SATA ports is a Debug LED which assists us with fault finding and the on-board power and reset buttons are also located here. Further up the right edge we find the DDR3 slots, dual channel/32GB capable, which support speeds up to and beyond the FX CPUs DDR3-1866 rating. Speaking of th FX range, as of BIOS 1.3 those CPUs are fully supported, as are older Phenom 2 CPUs as well as various socket AM3 based Athlon 2 and Sempron models.

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External connectivity starts with two PS/2 ports and these sit beside a clear CMOS button. Next we have optical and coaxial audio, 6x USB 2.0, Broadcom GB LAN, Firewire, eSATA 6Gb/s, 2x USB 3.0 (Etron) and our 3.5mm audio connectors for the Realtek 7.1 chipset.

ASRock also offer some interesting features through these ports. The first is software management of the GB LAN port which ensures that we are receiving an optimal experience. That can mean prioritisation of tasks, lower latency and traffic shaping. Next we have XFast USB technology which maximises the performance of our USB 3.0 ports and finally there is On/Off play which allows us to use our PC speakers with a portable device via 3.5mm pass-through cable, even when the system is powered down (ACPI S5 mode).

BIOS/Software

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AS with many of their boards ASRock give us access to a BIOS with GUI that makes it easier to use and understand than older styles, ideal for novice users. All of our key options are found in the OC Tweaker screen and this includes the ability to save BIOS profiles as well as unlock and overclock cores on CPUs which have had sections disabled at the factory.

Instant flash also makes an appearance here, allowing us to update the BIOS from a USB drive quickly and easily.

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ASRock also offer an extensive software suite with the 990FX Extreme 4 and the two key applications for power users are AXTU and Overdrive. Both perform similar functions but one is coded by ASRock, the other by AMD with the aim of each being fine tuning and monitoring of our system within Windows. ASRock also bundle a trial of Cyberlink MediaExpresso, THX audio software, a tool to make use of 3TB drives, an application which speeds up charging of portable devices and a multimedia suite called Magix.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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