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AMD FX 8150 Black Edition 8-Core Review (with Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7)

Rating: 8.0.

Intel’s Core i5 and Core i7 range have been dominating the headlines in 2011, bringing together a heady combination of class leading performance with competitive pricing. Today AMD are set to revitalise their famous FX brand name and we analyse the new flagship FX 8150 Black Edition processor. Is it enough to put them back on the map?

AMD have been struggling to offer Intel a serious fight this year in the mid range sector and we all want a new challenger, because a competitive market is a healthy thing.

The Phenom II X4 processors are literally light years behind and although we regularly use the 6 core Phenom II X6 processors in our offices for some encoding duties, they are also comfortably outperformed by the latest Core i5 and Core i7 designs … an issue made even more apparent after overclocking. Both X4 and X6 are pretty much limited to 4.3ghz-4.4ghz with air cooling, whereas the latest Core i5 and Core i7 processors can reach 5 ghz.

Enter the new FX 8150 Black Edition processor, the world’s first 8 core desktop chip which has already hit the headlines for breaking an overclocking record, achieving a staggering clock speed of 8.429 ghz when cooled by liquid helium. Obviously such heights are beyond the limits of mere mortals, but the signals are already firmly in place that the new design will overclock easier and further than the previous generation. Precisely the subliminal message AMD wanted to circulate before the official release.

Today, to test the processor, we selected a Gigabyte 990 FXA-UD7 motherboard. AMD sent us an Asus CrossHair V motherboard kit for our review, but we know everyone else is getting the same configuration and we wanted to build a system which wasn’t cherry picked by AMD. I have reviewed this motherboard before and was extremely impressed with the overall design.

AMD are promoting the product at a performance level between the current Intel Core i5 2500k and Core i7 2600k, with a price point hopefully to match. The Core i5 2500k has underwent some price reductions in recent months, dropping to £167.99 inc vat. The formidable Core i7 2600k is available at time of publication for £235 inc vat.

The FX8150 should launch with a US price just under $250, meaning AMD should be aiming to hit a UK price of £200 inc vat.

This is all very well, but will the FX 8150 be worth the extra cost when compared against a Core i5 2500k?

We aim to find that out today … and more.

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