AMD FX-8320E Overclocking

Sometimes looking at CPU overclocking performance is not that relevant. Each CPU ends up being different, and the plural of anecdote is not ‘data’. At some point it might be useful to sample 100+ CPUs of the same type and gain a proper scientific distribution of overclocks, but even then a sample size of 100 is quite small. So our single point in the ether might not matter too much, but the end result this time around was more than interesting.

To put this into perspective, our recent CPU samples here at AnandTech have been bottom of the barrel for our 24/7 validation methods. Our current i7-5960X does 4.4 GHz on a good day, and our fall-back stock testing model only does 4.2 GHz. Similarly we had an i7-4770K that only did 4.1 GHz – that was particularly shocking. Our last true good overclocker was a Sandy Bridge i7-2600K that did 5.3 GHz with a little push but sat at 5.1 GHz comfortably. Since then, horse plop is a nice word to describe it. However, that changed with our FX-8320E sample when paired with our AM3+ CPU test bed, the 990FX Extreme9.

As the voltage was increased, the frequency increased. It kept going, and going, and going. The Nepton 140XL CPU liquid cooler from CoolerMaster kept the temperature low (when I remembered to plug the fan in), but on the other hand the power started to rise. Almost every bump in frequency required an adjustment in voltage, but the increases were small.

At the end of the day, we rose from a 3.2 GHz base frequency all the way up to 4.8 GHz, a +50% overclock.


Our standard overclocking methodology is as follows. We select the automatic overclock options and test for stability with PovRay and OCCT to simulate high-end workloads. These stability tests aim to catch any immediate causes for memory or CPU errors.

For manual overclocks, based on the information gathered from previous testing, starts off at a nominal voltage and CPU multiplier, and the multiplier is increased until the stability tests are failed. The CPU voltage is increased gradually until the stability tests are passed, and the process repeated until the motherboard reduces the multiplier automatically (due to safety protocol) or the CPU temperature reaches a stupidly high level (100ºC+). Our test bed is not in a case, which should push overclocks higher with fresher (cooler) air.

Overclock Results

The voltage at 4.8 GHz ran at an alarming 1.550 volts, and the system was stable during our testing when we rested all the benchmarks at this new marker. For 50% extra MHz, our POV-Ray scores jumped from 1212 to 1806, a near 50% jump as well. The only thing that jumped more than 50% was the power consumption. We measured an 86W idle to peak delta when at stock, but the final power was an additional +176W, or +205%, for a total 262W all in, pushing it above the FX-9590's TDP.

Actually in our graphs over the next few pages, the FX-9590 proved to be the best competition when overclocked. That being said, if I were using the CPU 24/7, 1.550 volts at 4.8 GHz would not be the best place to leave it. At 4.5 GHz the CPU only needed 1.375 volts for only a +79W power consumption. Depending on the power delivery of the motherboard, perhaps another couple of notches as well. But all four modules at 4.8 GHz was pretty much unexpected. As always, your mileage may vary.

One argument for our good overclocking sample takes many prongs. A cynic might suggest that this was pre-binned to give a good result, however our past samples from AMD has nothing to suggest that this was particularly special. Karma might suggest that it was just ‘our time’ to get a good sample. A pragmatist would suggest that the FX-8320E is a particularly highly binned part to begin with, and the 30W saving from the regular FX-8320 for only 300 MHz loss might work in its favor depending on how far the voltage curve goes. Again, as stated at the top of this page, it is hard to pin it down without a representative overclocking sample.

Test Setup

Test Setup
Processor AMD FX-8320E
4 Modules, 8 Threads, 3.2 GHz, 4.0 GHz Turbo
Motherboards ASRock 990FX Extreme9
Cooling Cooler Master Nepton 140XL
Power Supply OCZ 1250W Gold ZX Series
Corsair AX1200i Platinum PSU
Memory G.Skill RipjawsZ 4x4 GB DDR3-1866 9-11-9 Kit
Memory Settings XMP
Video Cards MSI GTX 770 Lightning 2GB (1150/1202 Boost)
Video Drivers NVIDIA Drivers 337
Hard Drive OCZ Vertex 3 256GB
Optical Drive LG GH22NS50
Case Open Test Bed
Operating System Windows 7 64-bit SP1

We are using our ASRock 990FX Extreme9 for testing consistency and comparison, despite AMD sampling the MSI 970 Gaming with this review unit. The motherboard and BIOS can affect the performance quite dramatically, and this keeps our numbers comparable to each other.

Many thanks to...

We must thank the following companies for kindly providing hardware for our test bed:

Thank you to OCZ for providing us with PSUs and SSDs.
Thank you to G.Skill for providing us with memory.
Thank you to Corsair for providing us with an AX1200i PSU.
Thank you to MSI for providing us with the NVIDIA GTX 770 Lightning GPUs.
Thank you to Rosewill for providing us with PSUs and RK-9100 keyboards.
Thank you to ASRock for providing us with some IO testing kit.
Thank you to Cooler Master for providing us with Nepton 140XL CLCs.

Load Delta Power Consumption

Power consumption was tested on the system while in a single MSI GTX 770 Lightning GPU configuration with a wall meter connected to the OCZ 1250W power supply. This power supply is Gold rated, and as I am in the UK on a 230-240 V supply, leads to ~75% efficiency > 50W, and 90%+ efficiency at 250W, suitable for both idle and multi-GPU loading. This method of power reading allows us to compare the power management of the UEFI and the board to supply components with power under load, and includes typical PSU losses due to efficiency.

We take the power delta difference between idle and load as our tested value, giving an indication of the power increase from the CPU when placed under stress.

Power Consumption Delta: Idle to AVX

86W undercuts the 95W TDP by a good margin, however one might suggest that the power efficiency difference of the power supply would take that into account. The stock load voltage was 1.168 volts in our motherboard, which does not suggest anything untoward regarding the VID.

AMD FX-8320E Review CPU and Web Performance
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  • jabber - Friday, January 16, 2015 - link

    And with the labour charges etc. all included you could well have just bought a job lot of new Dell Dimensions.

    Plus decent AM3 chips are tres expensive now.
  • phoenix_rizzen - Friday, January 16, 2015 - link

    Actually, our hardware costs are decreasing slightly each year while the hardware it buys is increasing. Our current desktops are around $150 CDN including motherboard with Radeon graphics onboard, Athlon-II x4 CPU, 2 GB of RAM. We run diskless Linux, so no harddrive, no floppy drive, no optical drive; the only moving parts are the CPU, PSU, and case fans (and sometimes we even remove the case fan).

    Our original build with nVidia 6100 graphics onboard, 512 MB of RAM, and a Sempron CPU was over $200 CDN 7-odd years ago.

    Buying the CPUs in bulk for upgrades was less than half the cost of a new system. Buying RAM upgrades was much less than half the cost of a new system. And a single tech working for a full day could upgrade an entire lab of 30 stations with some time to spare for testing ... for less than the cost of a single new system.

    We've been doing this for just over 12 years now. We know which is less expensive for us, and it's not buying name brand computers with Intel CPUs and chipsets. Everytime we put a bid out for systems, the Intel systems are more expensive without being a whole lot more powerful, and they require discrete GPUs, whereas the AMD systems include graphics support on the motherboard (Intel 3D has improved over the years, but still doesn't hold a candle to nVidia or AMD).
  • ddriver - Wednesday, January 14, 2015 - link

    Why would you go for an AMD build? I am not a big fan of Intel's past practices, and as much as I sympathize with AMD their products are simply way too weak, their performance per watt ratio is so low the lower hardware price doesn't really matter, you still end up paying more for it when you account for the electricity bills.

    Besides, for an office machine, a 5W ARM board costing 35$ suffices.

    The only reason I can think of buying AMD is in case you want to burn some money to keep AMD afloat for the sake of not leaving intel without competition, not that AMD is much of a competitor anyway... More like a perpetually crippled "competitor" existing solely for the purpose of not running unopposed.
  • phoenix_rizzen - Thursday, January 15, 2015 - link

    See my post just above yours (posted after yours in time).
  • ddriver - Saturday, January 17, 2015 - link

    So the people who benefit from AMD are those who don't have enough money, so they can end up spending more for less over time? Doesn't sound like a good deal...
  • phoenix_rizzen - Monday, January 19, 2015 - link

    And I guess black is white and down is up in your world?
  • Jinx50 - Sunday, January 25, 2015 - link

    Ironically in contrast to all the misinformation spewed "above and below" I still play Crysis 3 on ultra with a overclocked 1090T @ 3.8GHz and a HD 6970.

    I'm still waiting for the unplayable game to arrive "to give me a reason to upgrade" meanwhile I have to ask, how many Intel chips and boards have you all burned cash on in the last 5 years?

    I'm not hating on Intel just stating facts "in my instance in regards of the bang for the buck factor", and I will probably snag an FX 8xxxx when this rig finally hits the medium settings wall.

    AMD is not a processor for those who don't have the money "on the contrary". It's the processor for those who want to KEEP THEIR MONEY. ROFL I could dump money on an Intel but do I want to ride that roller coaster NOPE..
  • Oxford Guy - Thursday, April 2, 2015 - link

    The minimum frame rates in that Bioshock Infinite chart are worrisome.
  • stefstef - Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - link

    nope. intel just has the better processor portfolio. this is not because amd cpus are so bad, but intel has the advantage of a much lower production process (22nm instead of 32nm). they are technically ahead in every sector: design, process and manufacturing. nonetheless amd makes sense as intel charges for the premium quite some good money. the usual jobs might be done by a amd as well as an intel.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Wednesday, January 14, 2015 - link

    I wouldnt go so far as to say that AMD wont give you a good experience. I traded, on a bet, my motherboard and cpu with my other pc gaming friend, and went from an i5 3570k to aq fx 6300. know how much of a difference there is? nothing. both get 60fps in everything at 1200p with my 770. i will say, if i have multiple game servers running in the background, the fx does not slow down nearly as much as the i5 ever did, even though hypothetically the i5 was more powerful, it couldnt multitask as well.
    and with the new consoles both coming with 8 core cpus, i think AMD chips will still work well, at least for the forseeable future.

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