Top positive review
7 people found this helpful
Astonishing power for the price, but beware the cooler!
on June 5, 2012
I've been waiting nearly five years to upgrade my computer. In that time, I've been getting by on an old Athlon X2 @2.6Ghz. Games of the past few years had started feeling sluggish and it was all CPU-bound; my GPU wasn't really capable of shining as my CPU/RAM wasn't keeping up. Most aggravating though is that I transcode a great deal of video and audio, and to transcode standard-def video into x264 at a measly 10fps was just painful.
My motherboard decided to go belly-up a week ago, and I knew it was time to build a new rig. I decided right away that I wanted something that could chew up encoding jobs and an 8-core CPU fit the bill. I also knew I needed enough speed to handle even the newest games. After seeing the price premium charged by Intel, and reading that the FX line's initial launch problems (mostly regarding specific Steam games) had been resolved, I lept. I have *not* been disappointed.
The FX-8120 can be easily overclocked to 4.2Ghz, or higher with after-market cooling (I've seen 4.9Ghz with water cooling), though I choose to set it at the stock 3.1Ghz and let my mobo ramp up the clock cycles as necessary up to 4.2Ghz. The CPU goes anywhere from 1.7-4.2Ghz, as the work load dictates. This processor eats parallelized work loads for breakfast! Handbrake sings opera on this CPU and really shows off what 8 cores can do. Using the exact same encoding settings, I as able to encode the same standard-def material at a whopping 81fps, not the previous 10. To put that in perspective, a 2-hour movie used to take 288 minutes to transcode (about five hours). Now, that same 2-hour movie takes 35.5 minutes. Wow. I couldn't be more pleased. Games *never* dip below my vsync rate (60fps), even the newest blockbusters I've tried, at extreme settings and running 1080p. If I turn off vsync, games run anywhere from 110fps average (Diablo III) to 220fps average (Half-Life 2/Counter-Strike Source). Since I hate screen tearing and always leave vync on this bodes very well for a long relationship with this CPU. I did have a few problems launching Portal 2 and Left 4 Dead 2; after updating my motherboard's firmware and re-installing the games, they now run just beautifully. Bottom line: this CPU screams no matter what job I've thrown at it.
And that's where things go down-hill: this CPU SCREAMS. It sounds like a freakin' shop-vac when the workload is heavy!!! Please don't disregard this; when cranked up full-tilt the cooler fan runs at well over 6000rpm, and I can hear it from the other end of my house. My case even has foam sound insulation and it sounds like the CPU could take off for a vacation in Fiji any minute, and it's gonna take the full-tower system with it if it has to. So distracting is the noise that I ended up purchasing an after-market water cooling system to replace the stock cooler. I don't consider this a huge negative in the grand scheme of things as I almost always purchase after-market cooling solutions for my CPUs and had already planned to overclock this CPU eventually, but as a potential buyer you should be aware that the stock cooler is incredibly loud.