Results and Conclusion
Temperature and Overclocking Results
In my previous FX-8350 article I was able to achieve a fairly solid 4.6 GHz overclock on above average cooling. I had to take voltage up to 1.55v for the product, which is approaching a point where I get pretty uncomfortable. The FX chips are very heat sensitive. With this solution I was seeing temperatures reaching 60C under load. Once this particular CPU goes over 60C, it shuts off. The test room I have the bench set up in has an average temperature of 65F/18.33C. This is Wyoming in the wintertime.
The entire contents of the box laid out. The mounting hardware is actually quite simple and effective once the user can figure out how to mount it.
With a standard air cooler and all of the Cool and Quiet technologies enabled, the air cooler was able to provide performance around 29C at idle and 38C at load at stock clocks. Overclocked the air cooler hit 42C at idle and around 58C at load. Anything higher than 4.6 GHz would cause the machine to simply shut down. 4.6 GHz was not entirely stable either. 4.5 GHz was at that voltage.
With the LCS installed on the stock clocked FX-8350 and the silent mode enabled, the system measured some 26C at idle and 32C at load. The fans never had to move up in RPM. With the Extreme setting enabled the idle temp went down to 25C and load was at 29C. This is again at stock voltages and clocks.
I was able to overclock this chip up to 4.8 GHz stable with 1.5v with the Extreme setting. Idle temps were at 28C while load reached a pretty impressive 36C that would sometimes spike up to 38C. It never went above 40C at any time during observation. This unfortunately is with both fans going 100%. It is very loud and becomes tiresome quickly. The fans can be heard from the next office over from the lab. Users will likely not utilize this setting unless they are trying to get the maximum overclock.
The before picture of the above average cooler as well as the case we will use for mounting.
Under custom mode I had to drop down the overclock to 4.7 GHz and we would see temperatures at load reach 52C before the fans would start to really spin up and drop the temperature down. This could get annoying as it was constantly spinning up and down to keep temperatures below the 50C threshold.
In Silent Mode I was able to set the voltage to stock with a very reasonable overclock to 4.4 GHz. Temperatures are at 28C at idle and 33C at load. This is not a huge jump in terms of overclocking, but the extra 400 MHz base and 200 MHz turbo do have a positive effect on performance and allow the chip to surpass the i5 3570K in most applications (and approach the stock i7 3770K).
The AMD LCS that they are offering with the older FX-8150, and supposedly will be offering with the newer FX-8350, is a really nice little unit which will improve overclocking and thermal performance as compared to even a high end forced air unit.
I was able to increase my maximum overclock going from air cooled to LCS by 200 MHz, and also dropping the voltage a little bit at the same time. I was not able to hit 4.9 GHz or 5.0 GHz as AMD has widely reported. Then again, I am not the world’s greatest overclocking. It could easily be that with enough hours invested in tweaking settings that a user can get nearly any FX 8350 up to 5 GHz, but I had neither the time nor patience. I was still quite pleased about the extra MHz over my previous best, and the thermal characteristics of this particular LCS are very impressive as compared to even a decent air cooler.
The finished product in all its glory. It does take up quite a bit of space, and the passive motherboard coolers might miss out on some airflow. The results are worth it.
The build and quality of the design is really impressive. It is a solid unit with good enough software controls. I would like to see an update to the software to give users more granular control over fan speeds, but it is still an effective tool as is. The only issue I had with the product is the horrible manual that is confusing to try to follow. Once I set the manual down, I was able to figure out how to effectively mount the solution onto a motherboard.
This is my first real experience with water cooling of any stripe, and I have been thoroughly impressed. The combination of the FX-8350 and this particular closed loop system proved to be a good one. I can only hope that AMD releases this combination sooner as opposed to later. I do somewhat question this, as it seems the current inventory of FX-8150 parts with the liquid cooling system is quite high and they are being offered at fairly low prices ($189 for the CPU and LCS currently). Once those are cleared out I would expect to see the FX-8350 based combo hit the shelves.