The AM3+ socket has been around for quite a while but in this review we are looking at the newer Piledriver refresh CPU, the AMD FX 8320E.
Straight up, we are not seeing any real architectural change here but AMD has made a conscious effort to improve the balance of power to performance in their refresh. The 8320E is an 8 Core (Threaded), 95W TDP CPU clocked at 3.2GHz (4GHz boost) and refreshes the AMD 8320 which had a TDP of 125W and slightly higher clock of 3.5 GHz (4.1GHz boost). It's clear to see that the big news of the refresh is the drop in power consumption and heat. Whilst this is great news for people wanting lower fan speeds, a quieter rig and lower power usage, we wanted to see if it was also good news for overclockers.
The relevant architectural limitations are primarily native support for PCIE 3.0 and USB 3.0. This can and has been alleviated by motherboard manufacturers when they provide the connectivity for USB 3.0 by other means as we saw with our test board from MSI. In terms of getting your game on, our review platform was more than adequate. We used an AMD AM3+ 'gaming grade' motherboard in the MSI 970 GAMING that included the AudioBoost 2 sound platform, USB 3.0 and Killer LAN. The FX 8320E CPU also has enough head room for overclocking if your cooling is up to the task. There is also the pricing to consider, the FX 8320E retails for $224 and our review board retails for only $145 which makes for a very affordable foundation including a few bells and whistles.