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AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Review: The New Six-Core Flagship

AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Review: The New Six-Core Flagship
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AMD knows that we're impatiently waiting for some traction on Fusion. And while we expect to see its first notebook-oriented Fusion-based processors featured in actual products at CES, we're still a ways away from seeing the technology in action on the desktop.

In the meantime, AMD is trying to tide us over with a steady stream of frequency bumps. It seems like that has been the case for a while now, but as the company improves its 45 nm manufacturing process, it's able to reliably get incrementally more headroom to boost performance--even if it's only bit by bit. This strategy isn’t viable long term, of course, especially in the face of Sandy Bridge launching in January at CES, aiming for the same mainstream market. It tided the company over in 2010, though, allowing it to offer excellent prices on processors that performed very well, despite Intel's lock on the high-end segment. 

Perhaps the best part of this approach is that, every time AMD introduced a new model over the last year, the faster processors have adopted the MSRP of the models they replace. This time is no different, and the result is a wave of price drops dribbling down the Athlon II and Phenom II product lines.

Once Sandy Bridge hits, AMD is going to have a hard time leaning on its current approach. We're simply expecting too much pressure on its higher-end models from Intel's LGA 1155 lineup. For now, the Athlon II and Phenom II processors remain viable options for enthusiasts looking for plenty of performance without dropping a lot of cash. Remember, we still don't have official pricing on the Sandy Bridge parts, so it could turn out that AMD retains its value proposition moving into 2011.

This time around, AMD is refreshing the Athlon II X3, Phenom II X2, and Phenom II X6 families. Even the Thuban-based six-core X6 can overclock up to 4 GHz relatively easily. So, it's not a stretch to expect another speed bump or two from some of AMD's lower-clocked parts as we traverse through the next year, even once Bulldozer-based parts start shipping.

Knowing that day is coming, is it worth sinking money into a new Socket AM3 platform now? Both Intel and AMD are gearing up for a next-generation battle, after all. Let's take a closer look.

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  • 2 Hide
    uruquiora , 9 December 2010 16:57
    very good article :) 
    thanks for the update and looking forward to get more info on Sandy bridge and Brazo CPUs soon..
    I guess i'll wait a bit for an upgrade then
  • 3 Hide
    Silmarunya , 9 December 2010 18:05
    Not exactly an exciting CPU, but minor clock speed bumps and aggresive pricing could keep them afloat until they can release some truly compelling products like Bulldozer and Fusion. In the meantime, they have their graphics market to use as a cash cow, and Bobcat promises to be a mighty tasty alternative to Atom (unless Nvidia can release Ion boards for the new Atom's...)
  • 1 Hide
    wild9 , 10 December 2010 00:57
    Once again AMD delivers some very attractive hardware..and not just for those building new systems. They even offer hex-core's with the 'BE' option, so you can overclock to your heart's content. All this without breaking the bank..and massively cheaper than Intel's 6-core models.

    On the Intel side I am more impressed with that i5 than the i7. The i5 is an overclocking hit even if it uses a controversial socket technology, that has with a limited life-span. Sure, I'd a bit concerned about the i5's idle power consumption at overclocked speeds, but to be fair, the same could be said for Phenom II x6 once overclocked past the magic 4.0GHz threshold.

    All in all, a win win situation for AMD and the buying public. At this price you can afford to build a kick-ass gaming rig, or server, or video transcorder setup - the money you saved could go on a super-fast GPU and suitable power supply unit. If you're running AM2+ hardware and you want some more kick at a reasonable price..are you gonna bin the whole rig and go i5, or simply update your BIOS and drop in something that can easily compete with the best? Choice seems clear.

    Cheaper, faster and more flexible than ever before. Good one, AMD. Very good.
  • -2 Hide
    dmen , 12 December 2010 19:30
    ^Ban him (and his IP) please?
  • 0 Hide
    tinnerdxp , 13 December 2010 15:18
    Just few more months until this will happen in the UK - and I will finally be able to build my cheap and power efficient quad core server :)  Any suggestions on CPU?
    Looks like I would be best of by using Athlon x4 but am sort of considering Phenoms as well - thing is I'd really love this to draw as less power as possible...
  • 0 Hide
    wild9 , 13 December 2010 19:09
    dmen^Ban him (and his IP) please?


    Something I did?
  • 2 Hide
    tinnerdxp , 13 December 2010 19:59
    Wow - THG started to BAN the spammers... Finally...
  • 0 Hide
    damian86 , 13 December 2010 21:05
    and still, they cannot beat the classic i7 920, i was hopping one of these days AMD will show me they can make a better cpu than intel or something 'extreme' , i will keep pmy eye on intels
  • 1 Hide
    tinnerdxp , 13 December 2010 21:05
    Wild9 - nah... there must have been a spam post below yours and above Dmen - there were 3 in this post so far... and all of them removed without us knowing they were there previously.
  • 1 Hide
    wild9 , 14 December 2010 07:24
    tinnerdxpWild9 - nah... there must have been a spam post below yours and above Dmen - there were 3 in this post so far... and all of them removed without us knowing they were there previously.


    Please forgive my oversight, tinnerdxp. I thought I might have done something wrong. I notice that when I looked at the thread..yep..another two spams appeared. I wonder if it is the same entity who is responsible sending them all. Maybe have some kind of low-level administration whereby trusted members can zap the spams in their tracks, or an image verifier. Will be glad when we can post in peace again (looks upon a star and wishes) :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Rab1d-BDGR , 18 December 2010 23:14
    Congrats to AMD on finally producing something to compete with the i7 920 and i5 750! They got there in the end! Six cores versus 4 real and 4 imaginary cores... and wildly different clock speeds and memory bandwidth - an interesting comparison. Plus when not overclocked they're pretty power efficient too. If I were building something I'd probably go with the 1075T and try to O/C it to beat its bigger brothers - at those prices that would be excellent bang-for-your-buck!
  • 0 Hide
    techpops , 16 July 2011 04:45
    I'm really unsure right now where to go. I own one of the old X4 620 AMD jobbies, have it overclocked to 3.1Ghz. Been running stable for a few years now.

    My indecision comes from the fact I need more CPU grunt for 3D rendering in Cinema 4D and a helping hand in other multi-threaded apps. It looks like me going to this top of the line X6 chip would almost double performance, or to put it another way, cut my rendering times in half. This is good, but I'm rendering on a single machine and its tied up pretty much 24/7. I have to brutally cut quality just to get work to finish in days rather than a week or two.

    I guess I'm hoping for a miracle, ooh maybe GPU rendering in Cinema 4D! Ah well, back to the real world.

    Now not knowing much about what's about to launch in the coming weeks and months ahead. How much of a real performance boost are we going to see at realistic prices? I can't afford the top of the line Intel prices. This is already a pretty high price for me. So should I wait to see if there is a tripling in performance for a similar cost or just accept that this is about as good as it gets in my price range and really were going to be seeing incremental jumps in performance, not doubling again?

    I'm leaning towards getting this, especially as I can continue to use the same motherboard and my old 8gb of DDR2 memory.

    Thanks for the review, it was very helpful, as are the comments.
  • 0 Hide
    techpops , 16 July 2011 04:45
    I'm really unsure right now where to go. I own one of the old X4 620 AMD jobbies, have it overclocked to 3.1Ghz. Been running stable for a few years now.

    My indecision comes from the fact I need more CPU grunt for 3D rendering in Cinema 4D and a helping hand in other multi-threaded apps. It looks like me going to this top of the line X6 chip would almost double performance, or to put it another way, cut my rendering times in half. This is good, but I'm rendering on a single machine and its tied up pretty much 24/7. I have to brutally cut quality just to get work to finish in days rather than a week or two.

    I guess I'm hoping for a miracle, ooh maybe GPU rendering in Cinema 4D! Ah well, back to the real world.

    Now not knowing much about what's about to launch in the coming weeks and months ahead. How much of a real performance boost are we going to see at realistic prices? I can't afford the top of the line Intel prices. This is already a pretty high price for me. So should I wait to see if there is a tripling in performance for a similar cost or just accept that this is about as good as it gets in my price range and really were going to be seeing incremental jumps in performance, not doubling again?

    I'm leaning towards getting this, especially as I can continue to use the same motherboard and my old 8gb of DDR2 memory.

    Thanks for the review, it was very helpful, as are the comments.