Tag Archives: FX-8350

System hard freezes with the AMD FX-8350

As an update to my post here, I observed seemingly random freezes on my system upgraded with the AMD FX-8350. The behaviour encountered was a total freeze of the desktop environment, no response to local keyboard nor mouse, no response to attempting to launch a virtual console, no reponse to pings over the network, and no ability to log in remotely. The only way to restore system operation was to perform a hard reset. Interestingly I could also consistently crash the system running a GraphicsMagick benchmark. Additionally, the freezes were OS-agnostic, occurring under both OpenIndiana and Ubuntu Linux.

Looking around online you can find several posts from folks on AMD Bulldozer rigs with very similar issues (such as detailed here), including a few from people who have rather alarmingly downgraded to a Phenom or Intel CPU as a “fix”, after having received advice to alternately update the motherboard BIOS, faff around with multiple BIOS settings, test and replace the RAM, power supply and hard disk, RMA-ing the new CPU (!?), and on and on and on. Most of this didn’t really add up, and similarly my problems were encountered on a system that was hitherto generally stable using an older-generation CPU (the Phenom II X6 in my case).

To cut a long story short, this quite simply turned out to be the motherboard not stably supporting the FX-8350. Although the ASRock 870iCafe 2.0 is an AM3+ compatible part and advertised as being “8 Core Ready” (to the point of specifically claiming compatibility with the FX-8350), the reality is that the latest BIOS release was in December of 2011 – a major red flag. After upgrading my motherboard to a Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 with the recent F9 BIOS, the system is now stable. And yes, this is using the original PSU, RAM, graphics card etc.

For the OpenIndiana readers, the GA-990FXA-UD3 works fine, although don’t expect USB3.0 support:

Gigabyte GA-990FX-UD3 driver support on OpenIndiana

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AMD “Piledriver” FX-8350 on OpenIndiana

FX-8350 unboxed

I’ve recently acquired a brand-spanking-new AMD FX-8350 CPU as an upgrade to my Phenom II X6 box. All the recent benchmarks of this CPU seem to fairly consistently point to it being a multithreaded monster. Plus, AMD has dropped the price of the new FX CPUs compared to the original Bulldozer architecture parts – and the icing on the cake is that the upgrade path is as simple as performing a BIOS update on my budget ASRock motherboard, and swapping out the old CPU for the new. Bliss!

So, given that AMD’s Piledriver archtecture might be a bit of an unknown as far as compatibility with Illumos and OpenIndiana goes, how does it fare? Well, the system seems to boot fine and run: here is the CPU as detected by Peter Tribble’s Solview app:

FX-8350 detected by Solview

8 cores, running at 4.0GHz – good. Let’s throw half a dozen VMs its way and see what happens:

VirtualBox VMs and the FX-8350

CPU utilization as measured by Solview is in the foreground. I should mention that this is also with a couple of OpenIndiana Zones running: GlassFish serving up a wiki, and a local BIND resolver.

In the time since I’ve installed the CPU I’ve experienced a couple of system freezes, so I’ve disabled core power saving features in BIOS to see if that changes anything. Yes, this is a new CPU architecture on a development build of an OS, but all in all, it’s working fairly well. Assuming I can iron out any stability issues, the FX-8350 is easily an incredible bargain.

Update 1: After further investigating the system hanging issues, it’s not limited to OpenIndiana, and is also encountered with Ubuntu Linux installed. Further updates to happen as I get to the bottom of this 🙂

Update 2: See here.