Articles: CPU

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As we’ve seen above, the FX-9370 and FX-9590 are already pre-overclocked by the manufacturer. Like an experienced overclocker, AMD not only increased the clock rate but also the voltage of its new FX 9000 series models. Still, we can hope that the FX-9370 and FX-9590 are manufactured out of semiconductor dies with the best frequency potential and thus can work at even higher clock rates than specified.

Before proceeding to our practical experiments, we want to remind you that a clock rate of 4.7 GHz is considered normal for an 8-core Vishera-based CPU under standard conditions. And this clock rate is the base one for the FX-9590! So while we can expect some overclocking potential from the junior FX-9370, the senior FX-9590 model is likely to be already working at its limit. GlobalFoundries’ 32nm tech process may have been improved over the year, yet the power consumption of the new CPUs suggests otherwise.

Now let’s see what we can expect from the FX-9370 and FX-9590 in terms of overclocking. We don’t want to set any records but only to find the clock rate at which our CPU can be used continuously. That’s why we don’t increase voltage much and use a dual-section tower-design cooler Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E.

One more thing must be mentioned here. Considering their high heat dissipation, AMD played it safe and set very strict temperature limits for the FX-9370 and FX-9590. Their thermal throttling threshold is lower compared to other FX series processors, so you need an efficient cooler to keep their temperature at an acceptable level. That’s easier said than done, so the FX-9370 and FX-9590 turn out to be much harder to overclock than the similar 8000 series models.

With such unfavorable starting conditions, it is no wonder we couldn’t reach high results overclocking our top-end Vishera-based CPUs. The FX-9370 was stable at 4.7 GHz but we had to increase its voltage to 1.45 volts. At higher voltage the CPU would overheat at high loads and at lower voltage the LinX utility would abort with an error message. The peak temperature of the 4.7GHz FX-9370 during our stability check was 75°C according to the mainboard’s sensor.

Thus, the FX-9370 has the same overclocking potential as regular 8-core FX series products like the FX-8350. The CPU is in fact pre-overclocked, so it can hardly be interesting for overclockers.

The faster FX-9590 could be sped up to 4.8 GHz, a mere 100 MHz above its default clock rate. The voltage was increased to 1.475 volts at that.

As with the other CPU, we were limited by thermal throttling. The CPU would get as hot as 75°C (according to the mainboard’s sensor) working at 4.8 GHz in our stability tests. When the temperature threshold was exceeded, the clock rate would drop down. We don’t think better results are possible as long as we use air cooling.

Summing up our overclocking experience, the FX-9370 and FX-9590 don’t seem to be overclocker-friendly. Their frequency potential is already used up by the manufacturer. So if you are interested in overclocking Socket AM3+ configurations, you may want to take a look at slower models such as the 8-core FX-8150 and FX-8350 which can be easily overclocked without such problems up to 4.6 to 4.8 GHz.

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