I found myself wondering what path I was going to take when it came down to comparing the new FX-8150 today. I haven't been in charge of the CPU category for long, so I don't have piles of CPUs like I do video cards. The biggest thing I was trying to think about was whether or not we add the Intel Core i7 990X into the mix.
In the end I decided to not worry about it. The simple fact is that Bulldozer doesn't go against the X58 platform, let alone the highest end CPU in it. Instead, we opted for the two most important models to the FX-8150.
The first is the Phenom II X6 1100T. If you're the user of an AMD based system the chances are you're using something like an 1100T, or maybe the model below it. Either way, if you want to move to the FX-8150 on hopefully your already equipped AM3+ motherboard, then it's going to be one of the most important comparisons.
The other CPU we've got today is of course the 2600k.While more expensive than the FX-8150, the simple fact is that it's Intel's mainstream flagship processor which is what the FX-8150 is for AMD. We could've thrown in the 2500k, but it's cheaper than the FX-8150 and we already know how the 2500k and 2600k compare. Going through previous coverage, you will have an excellent idea of what the 2600k offers over it, and for the most part it's very little.
What we really wanted to make sure we offered, though, was overclocking of the CPUs we've tested, and that's the main reason we've cut back on the CPUs we've tested. While we only have three CPUs here today, we've got results for six setups and with overclocking being something that AMD are pushing, that was really important to us.
On the i7 2600k front we've got that benched at stock and overclocked to 5.2GHz. This isn't the highest we've had this CPU at; it's topped out at about 5.38GHz. 5.2GHz is what it runs at on our VGA testbed whenever we do any testing, though, and we know it's 100% stable. For that reason it's the number we decided to concentrate on; that and the fact that 5.2GHz for end users is more realistic than 5.38GHz.
Moving onto our next CPU, the Phenom II X6 1100T we tested at stock and overclocked to 4.06GHz. This is the same as what our Crosshair V Formula achieved when we first tested the board. We had hoped that the most recent BIOS would push that clock up a little higher, but all the BIOS updates that have come for the board over the last week or two have concentrated only on Bulldozer.
Finally, we have our FX-8150. First things first, what's overclocking like? Really easy actually, because we're dealing with the AM3+ platform that we've used for a while and we know where everything is when it comes down to the BIOS - overclocking the product is actually pretty easy.
Overclocking is something that AMD are promoting and with our Corsair H100 water cooler we managed to achieve an overclock of 4.765GHz as you can see above. This is a really nice overclock, especially compared to the 1100T which sees just over 4GHz.
Before we get into the performance side of things, I just want to touch on what AMD say about overclocking in the reviewers guide. While they've got stupid irrelevant numbers like 8GHz and 8.4GHz for Liquid Nitrogen and Liquid Helium cooling, when it comes down to normal cooling they say we should see 4.6GHz to 5GHz depending on the amount of cores for AIR and 4.9GHz to 5.2GHz for water.
We could get into Windows around the 4.9GHz to 5GHz mark with our H100. The one program that would crash out a lot was actually Cinebench. We could get Hyper PI to finish a run here and there; we also had some joys in a couple of other benchmarks. On a whole, though, we couldn't run everything solid, and for that reason we ended up with the 4.765GHz clock we mentioned above.
Let's get started!