To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

AMD FX-8120 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £129
inc VAT

It's a niche product and Intel's processors are generally faster, but this good-value Bulldozer chip is still the king of multitasking


The only way we could get AMD’s eight-core processor to beat its four-core rival was to run two sets of our benchmarks at once. In this slightly silly usage scenario, where during the multitasking test two sets of images are converted, two videos are encoded and two 1080p videos are played back at the same time, the AMD chip finally hit 100% processor usage and pulled ahead of its rival, with a score of 60 compared to 50.

We also tried to boost the FX-8120’s performance by overclocking the processor – it has an unlocked multiplier, so this is easy to do. Using the stock AMD cooler, we boosted it up to 3.7GHz – a 20% overclock. This led to improvements in the video-editing and multitasking benchmarks, which increased to 70 and 89, for a higher overall score of 81. This is only around a 6% improvement; when running CPU-Z at the same time as the benchmarks to see how the processor’s clock speed changed, the processor tried to keep at the overclocked speed as much as possible, but frequently down-clocked to normal speeds when it reached its thermal limits.

AMD FX-8120

The FX-8120 is a competent processor which provides plenty of performance for desktop tasks, and the price drop means it’s fairly good value; as Intel has yet to release Ivy Bridge Core i3 processors, its nearest Intel rival is around £20 more expensive. However, it can’t match Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors for performance in the vast majority of tasks, and you won’t even be able to use an inexpensive motherboard; most Bulldozer-compatible 990FX motherboards are over £90.

Things may improve in the future as more applications are coded to take advantage of more than four cores, but for the moment Bulldozer only makes sense if you perform several intensive tasks at once. If you’re the kind of person who encodes two videos at once while watching a third, though, the FX-8120 is a good-value way to do it.

Pages: 1 2

Basic Specifications

Processor core Bulldozer
Rating ****
Processor clock speed 3.1GHz
Processor socket AM3+
Processor process 32nm
Processor number of cores 8
Processor supported instructions MMX, SSE 1, 2, 3, 3S, 4.1, 4.2, 4A, X86-64, AMD-V, AES
Processor multiplier x15.5
Processor external bus 200MHz (HyperTransport)
Level 1 cache 8x 128KB
Level 2 cache 4x 2048KB
Processor level 3 cache 8192
Supported memory type DDR3 1866
Processor power rating (TDP) 125W
Price £129