AMD FX-8150 review

AMD's new Bulldozer processors appear at last. But are they any good?

AMD FX-8150
Bulldozer's finally here!

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

AMD fx-8150

Inevitably the performance of these chips is where they are going to be judged in real terms.

And somewhat inevitably it's something of a disappointment.

It's somewhat inevitable as AMD simply doesn't have the vast research budget of its Silicon Valley rival, Intel. We don't want to start making excuses for AMD though, and the FX-8150 is by no means a bad chip.

It is definitely the fastest CPU AMD has on the market right now.

Take Intel out of the equation and we'd be lauding the Bulldozer architecture as a truly remarkable thing.

The problem is Intel is most definitely in this equation and we've had this sort of performance, for around this sort of price, since we first clapped benchmarks on Sandy Bridge.

But Bulldozer remains the future for AMD.

And there is genuine hope on the horizon. The Trinity APU for example will be running the enhanced Piledriver architecture alongside discrete-class graphics in the same die.

For now though the top-end, eight-core AMD FX CPU struggles to keep pace with Intel's middling, ageing, cheaper and resolutely quad-core, Sandy Bridge i5 2500K.

And that's the big problem.

The FX CPUs are almost competitive with their Sandy Bridge rivals, but still can't beat them.

The 2500K is a cheaper chip and represents a better bet for gamers. If you want multi-threaded prowess too then for only another £50, at worst, over the FX-8150 you can pick up the awesome i7 2600K.

This is though only one of the Bulldozer-based chips AMD has launched, and the lower-end CPUs may actually be far more worthy.

The 3.1GHz FX-8120, for example, is available for around £165 – less than the 2500K – and should still have the overclocking chops thanks to the unlocked nature of the entire FX range.

Topping 4GHz with that CPU could turn it into a really very good gamer's chip with added multi-threaded extras to boot.

Still there is more to come from Intel, with another LGA 1155 Sandy Bridge reportedly on its way and the brand new, ultra high-end Sandy Bridge E is soon to touch down too.

We liked

The modular architecture is impressive and ought to pay off for AMD further down the line.

As it is the FX-8150 is an impressive overclocker's chip. Hitting 4.7GHz gives the chip one hell of a boost in performance terms.

We disliked

Unfortunately the chip's just not competitive enough against its rivals.

At stock speeds it struggles against the non-HyperThreaded i5, even in some multi-threaded applications. And while it keeps pace with the competition in gaming terms it loses it when you come to adding in extra GPUs.

Even AMD ones.

Final word

We can't help but feel disappointed with the lack of performance progress the FX-8150 represents. It's not a bad chip, but we wanted more.