Review Index:

AMD FX-8350 Overclocking + Liquid Cooling System Review

Author: Josh Walrath
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

December 30, 2012 | 08:55 PM - Posted by D Kizz (not verified)

There are several other things you could try to hit 5GHz. Try upping the FSB and adjusting the hypertransport frequency accordingly. Also turn off turbo mode/other options that could hold the OC back. Not all CPU's are created equal and 4.8 at 1.5 is pretty solid, but I bet you could go further. Also we don't know anything about your memory timings/motherboard make and model. The power phasing could be holding you back depending on the board.

December 31, 2012 | 11:12 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Excellent questions!  I used the Asus Crosshair V Formula for testing.  Turbo mode was disabled.  Pushed the phases to Extreme in settings.  I ran the HT bus/NB at stock (2.2 GHz) with the memory running at 1866.  I just used the multipliers to overclock, and I am sure I could have eked a few more MHz out by adjusting the bus speed.  As is though, it paints a pretty broad picture of what a LCS can do and how it affected the overclock of a CPU such as this.

August 20, 2013 | 04:38 PM - Posted by LaMorte (not verified)

Thanks for a well written review.

I have only just purchased a new M/B and PSU due to hardware fatigue and a rediculous amount of overheating of my motherboard components due to a failure of my GPU's cooling system, and was looking into liquid cooling my AMD Phenom II x6 1100 processor, with the idea in mind to retain the cooling system for a new AMD FX 8350 CPU.

After reading this, I believe that I will save the extra $$$ and wait until my budget allows the CPU purchase, with a good LCS in the box.


December 30, 2012 | 09:28 PM - Posted by Sandy Bruce (not verified)

Nice article. I was curious on how the LCS from the 8150 would do on the 8350. Thanks for the story.

PS plow the dust out of your system before posting pics. That PSU looks terrible.

January 2, 2013 | 01:11 PM - Posted by nabokovfan87

It's real easy to blow the dust out and take the pictures, not realizing all of it is there until you see it on the picture after the fact.

At least we know that it's a realistic cramped case.

I just put in an H100i with push/pull in my antec 1200 case. Hardly got it to fit, but half the screws got in. The 7970 lightning has the crossfire connector in just the wrong spot also.

Point being, I know when Josh does his articles on overclocking someone always says he should have done this or that. My 965 won't even go to 3.8 reliably because of the motherboard voltage or the chip itself just doesn't like voltage changes. Tough to tell, some days it runs fine, other times iI have major issues. Some chips just don't oc and it's nice to know it is an option down the road, but keep in mind it is never a sure thing.

Thanks for the article Josh.

December 31, 2012 | 11:18 AM - Posted by Onion (not verified)

the motherboard looks like a Asus Crosshair V Formula which has loads of power and control options, like josh says he didnt spend that much time overclocking etc, but thats a nice overclock im betting as the 8350 goes through steppings more reliable results will be achievable.

ps, nabokovfan87 just to illustrate your point i have a 965 with h100 push/pull thats sitting at 4.2 ghz, so it goes to show what you were saying.

December 31, 2012 | 05:50 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I'm sorry but i do not believe those temps one bit.

BTW, I'd be EMBARRASSED to show that old ass case and the filthy components inside as the setup you used.

December 31, 2012 | 07:04 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

As if the dust is really that bad, seriously. Some of you don't know what a dusty or filthy case and components really looks like because if you did you wouldn't be making a mountain out of a molehill. That's normal use dust from a weeks use.

Anyways, great job Josh. Keep up the good work and keep the dust.

January 15, 2013 | 09:37 AM - Posted by Droobius Maximus (not verified)

Looks like any power supply that is used in an open air configuration for many hours. I have had repair jobs crawling with roaches and mouse shit.. a little dust is nothing you numpty. Embarrassed by a little dust indeed... who are ya... Howard Hughes?

December 31, 2012 | 06:57 PM - Posted by Nilbog

Great article as always Josh.

That is very interesting that just changing your cooler will give you that extra headroom. Clearly good cooling is KEY for these parts to perform. Nice OC BTW
Too bad about the 5GHz though, that would have been badass.
Maybe the next chips will hit it, I've got my fingers crossed.

As for the dust... who cares.
I actually like that fact that this is being tested in a dustyish case. It much more realistic that way, and i appreciate it. My case isn't clean, i bet nobody here has a clean case, unless you just built it. I never clean it unless it is absolutely necessary. So if you are bitching about dust in the pic, maybe you should go clean your case too.

January 1, 2013 | 12:29 AM - Posted by Myopic (not verified)

1... After living in Wyoming for 20 years, I'd like to see what would happen if you set it outside. It'll freeze in minutes this time of year. That should be nearly as good as LN
2...Live south of the red desert and NOT have dust, that would be a miracle.
3...Thanks for another great article

January 1, 2013 | 02:14 PM - Posted by warpuck (not verified)

I use a Sabertooth and a Corsair A70(air), Finding a water cooler that will fit inside a Smilodon case is not that hard. Finding one that makes a significant difference in cooling over a A70 and still fits inside the case is another story. My 8350 on 8 cores is good for 4.45Ghz 24/7 with temps in the CPU 40-49*c room temps 22-27*C. I can get 4.95Ghz 24/7 running 4 cores. I call this my game profile.
As for the dust that is about a weeks worth in El Paso.

January 1, 2013 | 03:26 PM - Posted by Rotorheadman (not verified)

you should say at overclocking or overclocker

January 5, 2013 | 05:24 PM - Posted by Just a Reader (not verified)

A few things about the review, link at start to the very same review????

Your results are nothing really to use as a guide as your original system is sitting a cheap-n-nasty case with a poorly mounted HSF. Dude, your trying to draw airflow from the back of a very hot card. Turn it 90 degrees and compare to current vertical laugh that is pictured.

The Overclocks are suggestion you have missed the mark. I have seen plenty of the 8150 and 8350 climb to the these speeds on 40 dollar air-based solutions with better temps.

Please clean the case and system before taking photos next time.

January 15, 2013 | 09:43 AM - Posted by Droobius Maximus (not verified)

The case and it's condition are indicative of the vast majority of cases out there in use in the real world. I rather like the fact that it's not ornate or particularly fancy. My $60 Antec 300 has been fantastic for 4 years through multiple upgrades and will be so for another 4 years.

January 12, 2013 | 02:25 PM - Posted by Patriot (not verified)

What are the full system specs?

Crosshair IV is good.
What psu... a board with great vrms only goes so far unless you are also feeding it pristine power.

Also try with LLC off and completely manual voltages... sometimes the vdroop compensation is not fast enough.

It has been awhile since I played with an AMD desktop... might have to get one to play with.
Currently running a 2011 octo for a desktop and a 4p 48c opteron rig (overclocked :) )

January 25, 2013 | 05:54 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Excellent job!
Yea I might replace the PSU (it might help), but otherwise that case isn't that dusty. I clean mine every week or so and it gets more dirt than that.
A lot of things (some of which were mentioned) can stop your OC short. I did not see APM in the BIOS (turned off) mentioned. Also set voltage control to Ultra if you can.
But great job anyway.
Have fun. That thing is a BEAST.

February 7, 2013 | 11:37 AM - Posted by David (not verified)

I agree that testing this in a cramped case proves even more so the effectiveness of liquid cooling. I also think that that air cooler didnt stand a chance at is drawing heat directly off the gpu. That said I went from a 3.8 ghz overclock on stock voltage on a hyper 212 that would hit 45-50 degrees, to a custom loop at 4.0 ghz at 1.5 that never bumps up above 39. So obviously liquid cooling is just better lol.

February 7, 2013 | 11:40 AM - Posted by David (not verified)

On my 965 BE fogot to add that lol

November 25, 2014 | 04:04 PM - Posted by john duncan (not verified)

hi i just done my first build so gone a bit wrong with a few thinbs but my main problem is that i got the AMD FX-Series Liquid Cooling System and i cud not get it to fit in my case so i have one of the fans on the back of my case now so just wanted 2 know if i cud just use one of these fans and take one off and it still keep my 8 core at a cool temp :)

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