AMD is launching three new 8-core processors in the hope they can lift along with the Haswell-E release hype from Intel. Looking and comparing the two would not be fair. The AMD FX 8370 series launch at 200 USD, the Core i7 5960X is a 999 USD processor.That said, the multi-core awareness in applications is picking up, and opposed to two years ago 8-core processors make a lot more sense these days. Gaming with the per-core performance that the octacore AMD series offers remains tricky to explain. My generic advice here is that if you stick to mainstream PC gaming (and do not use high-end graphics cards or Crossfire/SLI), only then you are OK with an AMD FX processor as tested today.
The PileDriver based FX 8370(E) processors from AMD does what was expected of it, and that's increase performance, albeit that statement is relative for the new 95W E model with its lower the power draw (and thus performance). Other then that it's the FX 8350 with a couple of tweaks. Overall these CPUs are based on a very a sound architecture if we lived in a world where all games and application would make use of massive multi-threading then AMD would be competing very well with Intel. And though things slowly change most often applications use up-to four cores, and that's why Intel with its higher per core performance will win time after time. It's simple per physical CPU core Intel is twice as fast over the AMD FX CPU core. But again, with Windows 8 things are slowly changing and the overall performance you can't complain about. You get a fast and responsive PC and operating system with fast apps and program responsiveness. Gaming however will remain a bit of a conundrum with a high-end graphics cards as games often only use two to four cores, and a faster per physical CPU core performance remains incredibly relevant if you are not GPU bound.
AMD has set the strategy to pursue processors with as many CPU cores as possible. The benefit here is that massively threaded applications really like that very much. Look at the Handbrake (multi-threaded video transcoding application) results and content creation with MAXON's animation software CINEMA 4D. But yeah, the hardware needs the software in order to shine. Times are slowly changing though, I mean we had the single core to dual-core revolution, quickly followed by four, six and thus now eight cores. So where multi-threaded applications are programmed right AMD really starts to shine with the FX series.
Real World Usage
So the opposite effect of AMDs offering is that with applications that prefer say one or two CPU threads and thus utilize only one or two cores, that's where the FX series have a really hard time as the per core performance starts to hinder AMD very much. I've been using the FX 8370E processor for a couple of days now though and granted the overall experience with this processor is once again great. The OS responds more than fast enough and for you everyday usage you'll have a hard time noticing any difference to say a Core i5 processor. Once you start up applications that allow for it, multi-threading kicks in really nicely performance will quickly see high-end grade performance.
In games we see similar behaviour but the FX remains relatively weak on most games due to its very average per core performance. But if you take for example a Radeon R9 285, then it would be in good symbiosis with the processor performance. Overall in the higher resolutions you'll be GPU dependant more then CPU dependant. So gaming at Full HD with an AMD FX 8370 series processor will be absolutely fine. Once you go Crossfire / SLI or use a high-end dedicated graphics card, that where you would like to have a faster per-core performing product. But for mainstream gaming / usage the processor will be totally fine.
Video encoding and Decoding
For the ones that use their PC for content creation and video transcoding, well this processor kicks in very nicely, and for a reasonable price you get impressive multi-threaded performance. Considering that the FX 8750 will cost merely 199 USD we can state that the processor offering great value, under the condition that you use multi-threaded encoders. Video playback is not an issue, the per core performance is fast enough to deal with any Blu-ray or 1080P content stream.
Power consumption wise we are a little reserved in judgment, the platform with this processor uses just under 100W in idle yet when we stress the CPU cores all at once, we peak closer to 200W. That's not bad, but it certainly isn't excellent either. Power consumption is platform dependant though, so your motherboard might be responsible for a lot more or less. Overclocking wise we think the FX series will offer a lot of fun but power consumption there rises quickly when you apply CPU voltage tweaks. With a decent air cooler, 4.5~4.6 GHz should be a viable target to achieve, 4.7 to 5 GHz on proper liquid cooling should be achievable as well but will require a lot of CPU voltage.
We mentioned pricing a couple of times already, the FX-8150 when it was released it costed around 244 USD/EUR at launch. The new FX 8370 and 8370E will be introduced at 199 USD. Honestly that is good value.
Concluding then. I'll keep saying this, personally I would have preferred a faster per core performing AMD quad-core processor rather then an eight-core processor with reduced nice per core performance. However we do have to be clear here, we have been working with the FX 8370E processor for a while now and it simply is a great PC experience overall. Your system will be fast and responsive. The main Achilles heel simply remain single threaded applications. The bigger problem here is that it effects game performance quite a bit, especially with high-end dedicated graphics cards and that's why in it's current form the FX series simply is not that popular among the gaming community. Good for AMD that Mantle popularity seems to be growing, this will greatly help AMD get freed from CPU bottleneck performance issues.
Overall the AMD FX 8370 or 8370E is a processor we can recommend in the mid-range PC gaming and desktop space. The FX 8370 with eight CPU cores is hip in a PC desktop environment with the many threads you can fire off at it, and if you love to compress, transcode or use your PC as a workstation then it will bring heaps of performance and fantastic value. I think that the 95 Watt E model has to forfeit a bit too much in performance, but the regular FX 8370 at its current price level will be a steal. And if you want to go even cheaper, just pick up the cheapest unlocked 8-core FX model you can find like thje 8150. They start around 170 bucks already. You can easily tweak them to the performance levels shown today. Even though today's release is merely a step forward we do say the FX processors deserve a lot more credit then they have gotten thus far. At a price of 199 USD the AMD FX 8370 is a really fun 8-core mainstream segment processor to work with.