AMD Phenom II X6 1090T 6-Core Processor Review - HotHardware

AMD Phenom II X6 1090T 6-Core Processor Review

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Although the new Phenom II X6 1090T has two more cores than previous Phenom II X4 processors, the executions cores themselves are largely unchanged; there are just more of them in the X6. However, with this new generation of processors, AMD is introducing a new feature dubbed Turbo CORE.


AMD's 6-Core Thuban Die; Click For Larger View

Since the introduction of their Nehalem microarchitecture, Intel's processors have been outfitted with a feature called Turbo Boost that in essence overclocked one or more of the processor's cores under certain workload conditions, power and thermals permitting. Turbo Boost afforded the processors the ability to enhance the performance of lightly-threaded workloads by increasing the performance of active cores, while inactive cores remained idle. AMD's new Turbo CORE technology functions in a similar way.

AMD's Turbo CORE technology automatically increases the frequency of three active CPU cores by up to 500MHz, without the need for any special software or drivers. The technology will be enabled on Phenom II X6 processors and will work with all AM3-based motherboards after a BIOS update. The Phenom II X6 1090T we tested has a peak Turbo CORE frequency of 3.6GHz, while the 1055T which is arriving today maxes out at 3.3GHz.

 
AMD Turbo CORE Technology Explained; Click For Larger View

Turbo CORE technology works by putting three cores into a boost-enabled P-state when power consumption is below the processor's rated TDP. Being in the boost-enabled P-state doesn't necessarily mean the three cores are overclocked by 500MHz immediately, but rather that they are ready to have their frequencies increased based on the processing workload. When Turbo CORE is active, Cool 'n' Quiet still functions, so each core could be operating at anywhere up to that maximum clock, but is not necessarily at the absolute maximum. And the individual cores don't necessarily have to be operating at the same frequency either. Essentially, when three or more of a Phenom II X6's six cores are at low or no utilization, the processor determines that it is in a boost-eligible state, and the active cores are put into a Turbo-enabled state to increase performance. According to AMD, the active cores must be in a software P0 state for transition to boost and the processors will fully utilize available TDP budget to maximize performance, while remaining within electrical limits.

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Marco:
Our tests showed the 1090T performing in roughly the same neighborhood as the Core i7 870 and Core i7 975 depending on the application, but the Phenom II X6 1090T costs hundreds of dollars less than both.

This right here sums everything up pretty well. Might not be the top performer, but most of us not counting Raid Stick out tongue don't have that much to spend on a CPU. This looks like one hell of a CPU for the price.

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The 1090T is only $309 on the Egg! That's crazy compared to the I7's 1K price tag!

Pair it up with the current slew of Infineye cards and the price is just right. You can even save enough to get yourself the extra three monitors!

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.382678

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This just proves my point that AMD is essential to the home computer consumer. This is true even if you don't buy one of them.

The introduction of a CPU in the 300 dollar range that competes with Intel's 675-1000 dollar CPU's is significant and welcome news indeed.

This introduction HAS to affect prices of Intel CPU's in the near future unless they (Intel) want to see a runaway migration to the 'other side' like has happened in the past.

Intel seems to be able to counter within a short time frame, just about every move by AMD with something better, but they always charge a very healthy premium for their technology. AMD’s sensible pricing structures for their competitive CPU’s deliver what we want as consumers, for prices that we can more easily afford in today’s economy.

It’s true that Intel has low priced offerings for us, but not their performance line of CPU’s.

Thank You for doing it yet again AMD!

And thanks for another great review HotHardware.

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"despite the latter's higher default clock speed (3.3GHz vs."

It should be 3.2Ghz. Thanks for the review!

Considering the price and that AMD won't come out with the next generation of CPU's in a while I see very little reason to wait. However in my case, I just unlocked my 720BE to a quad core (thanks to ASUS) 2 weeks ago so I'm unsure what to do.

If I hadn't recently unlocked my triple core 720BE to a quad core (thanks to ASUS) I would definitely have bought this CPU straight away. Now I will w Great bang for the buck.

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Okay, I'm confused. The benchmarks and in-game performance tell two very different stories. So which one is it: does this belong in a gaming rig or not?

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@Gibbersome - The low-res gaming tests don't paint a pretty picture, but the 1090T is plenty fast for a gaming rig. With the resolution cranked up and details maxes, you're going to be more GPU bound, than CPU.

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Thanks Marco. At the very least, it fills the niche for consumers looking for a cheap multi-core processor.

I fully agree with realneil on this. While the 980x is still the enthusiast's pick, Intel is going to find it hard to compete with AMD on price.

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very impressive for the price!

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Another great review, I would agree Marco on a cost to cost basis you cannot match what AMD brings to the table. As you mentioned they are not the performance champion but they do offer a compelling solution to value shoppers or people who still own the good old trusty AM3 setup. What a treat they are getting, a simple bios update and they keep rolling along. Yes

As we move forward AMD will only strengthen their lineup as things move closer to the fusion launch. 

It is a great day indeed when you can get 6 cores running near 3GHZ for under $300 and the other for $200.

 

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     So basically what I see here is that if you are not willing to fork over 3-45K and up for a great system you should go with one of these new AMD 6 core processors (this represents the largest PC user population worldwide by a margin that is not really even a margin), you should go for one of these new AMD based systems which you will most likely be able to buy 2-4 computers, and for the same price of a single six core Intel system.

     One thing we need to realize here is the user for the lower priced system with the best performance all together represents probably 75% of the PC market in both expectations as well as usage parameters.

     So AMD basically represents this huge market population, where Intel represents the remaining 20-25% of the market. The biggest thing here as well as the market decider is the only people in general who understand any of this is a percentage of that 25%. Seems a rather sad state of affairs for the rest of the worlds population does it not? While in all reality it also show's that AMD most likely has a lot of growing to do in the near future as the general population figures this out. Much like I will also say the last time AMD started seriously chomping on some Intel market share. I love when a market corrects itself because in the end us small percentage get more to play with as does the rest of the world sooner or later :)

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