The AMD Phenom II X6 processor series has been long needed and has helped narrow the performance gap between AMD and the Intel Core i7 processors by the release of these new ‘Thuban’ based processors. The addition of the 890FX chipset and even the software updates (AMD Fusion Utility 2.0 for basic
performance tuning and easy profile selection and the new AMD OverDrive
3.2.1 Utility) have made AMD a more well-rounded platform. AMD has spent the past several years becoming the company that had budget friendly platforms, but now they have a solid platform. If you think about it, the AMD 890 chipset series is very robust with features like native SATA III 6Gbps and then you top that off with 6-core processors and an ATI Radeon HD 5800 series graphics card and you have a cutting edge system. AMD has done well with the ‘Leo’ platform and the benchmark results show that.
As we stated in our Intel 980X article, having six physical processing cores creates an amazing user experience when running
multi-threaded applications. The enormous growth of HD media content in
the home is driving the demand for computer systems that have the
horsepower to deliver an enjoyable user experience for the consumer. If
you have ever tried to create a Blu-ray movie or just tried to transcode
some HD movies you know how much time it takes to work on a project and
that can be frustrating for those that do it often. These new six core processors help you improve productivity and can be a drop-in replacement for those with
existing socket AM2+ and AM3 motherboard. According to AMD at the time of launch, they expect there to be over 160 AM2+ and AM3 motherboards with BIOS updates available (where required) to enable support for the Phenom II X6 processors! This is great news as those with older platforms can spend $199 on a processor like the AMD Phenom II X6 1055T and have a 45nm 6-core processor as a drop-in replacement! For those that want more performance the $299 AMD Phenom II X6 1090T is of course the processor to have.
Not every testing scenario showed the benefits of having six-cores
and twelve threads, though. For example, in gaming we saw a little
performance boost here and there, but nothing significant at the
resolutions we actually play games on. Crank up the image quality and
the screen resolution and you’ll be limited by the graphics card way
before the flagship processor of either company. The game developers
need to stop porting games over from consoles and walking away from
them! PC users deserve some solid code that takes advantage of 8 or more
threads. It was an eye opener to see some of our gaming benchmarks only
putting our processor under 20% load during testing! While we are on the subject of performance, AMD Turbo CORE technology is also a nice touch as most of the time you
aren’t using your PC for heavy tasks and the clock frequency boost is
nice to have. It’s one of those things that just works and if someone didn’t point it out to you, that you’d never have any idea that it was working. That is how it’s designed to work and it does it rather well.
One of the most impressive areas of the Phenom II X6 is the thermal performance of the processor. AMD has kept the TDP at 125W on these six-core processors and the thermals are impressive. With our XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 CPU cooler we were seeing 24C idle temperatures and 40C load temperatures when running Prime 95 on the AMD Phenom II X6 1090T processor. This is one of the reasons that we were able to take the 1090T up to 4.2GHz on air when overclocking it! With water cooling we’d expect consumers would be able to get these processors stable in the 4.2-4.5GHz range and that would make for one nice desktop processor for the price paid.
UPDATE: TigerDirect is doing a $50 rebate on the AMD Phenom II X6 1090T and 1055T, which is amazing for launch day! You can pick up the 1055T for just $149.99 shipped and the 1090T for $249.99 shipped.
Legit Bottom Line:
The AMD Phenom II X6 processor series makes AMD competitive with Intel once again in the mainstream market!