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AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition CPU Review
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Date: Dec 07, 2010
Section:Processors
Author: Marco Chiappetta
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Introduction and Specifications

We have been hearing a lot from AMD over the last few months regarding the slew of new processors and Fusion APUs slated to arrive next year. With all of the news regarding Zacate, Ontario, Bobcat, Bulldozer, and Llano, et al, that has hit recently, you’d think work on the current generation of products had ceased, but that is not the case.

Just in time for the holidays, AMD is refreshing it’s line-up of desktop six-core processor offerings with a brand new flagship CPU, dubbed the Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition. As you can surmise from its name, the 1100T is clocked higher than the 1090T it will be supplanting at the top of AMD’s line-up and its “Black Edition” moniker denotes an unlocked chip for more flexible overclocking.

We been playing with one of AMD’s new Phenom II X5 1100T Black Edition processors for a little while now and have a full performance profile laid out on the pages ahead. Take a moment to peruse the full set of specifications below and then strap in as we take a spin with AMD’s fastest desktop processor to date...


The Phenom II X6 1100T In All Its Glory...

AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition Processor
Specifications & Features

 


 
AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition, Top and Bottom.  Click For Larger View

The AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition is based on the same Thuban core as previous Phenom II X6 processors and differs from the 1090T only in its clock speeds. As you can see in the specifications above, the Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition has a 3.3GHz “base” clock frequency with a peak Turbo Core frequency of 3.7GHz—the 1090T tops out at 3.2GHz / 3.6GHz. The chip, like other Phenom IIs, is manufactured on Global Foundries’ 45nm SOI process node and it is comprised of roughly 904 million transistors, with a die size of approximately 346mm2. Bandwidth across the various links to memory and the rest of the system remains unchanged from the 1090T, as does the max TDP of 125 watts.

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Test Systems and Vantage

Test System Configuration Notes: When configuring our test systems for this article, we first entered their respective system BIOSes and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High performance Defaults". We then saved the settings, re-entered the BIOS and set the memory frequency to DDR3-1333. The hard drives were then formatted, and Windows 7 Ultimate x64 was installed. When the Windows installation was complete, we updated the OS, and installed the drivers necessary for our components. Auto-Updating and Windows Defender were then disabled and we installed all of our benchmarking software, performed a disk clean-up, defragged the hard drives, and ran the tests.

 HotHardware's Test Systems
 Intel and AMD - Head To Head

System 1:
Core i5 661
(3.33GHz - Dual-Core)

Asus P7H57D-V EVO
(H57 Express Chipset) 

2x2GB Kingston DDR3-1600
(@ 1333MHz, CAS 8)

Intel GMA IGP 
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD150 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA

Windows 7 x64

System 2: 
Core i5 750
(2.66GHz - Quad-Core)

Asus Maximus III Formula 
(P55 Express Chipset) 

2x2GB Kingston DDR3-1600
(@ 1333MHz, CAS 8)

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD150 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA

Windows 7 x64

System 3: 
Core 2 Q9650
(3GHz - Quad-Core)
Core 2 Quad Q9400
(2.66GHz - Quad-Core)

Gigabyte X48T-DQ6
(X48 Express Chipset)

2x2GB Kingston DDR3-1600
(@ 1333MHz, CAS 8)

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD150 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA 

Windows 7 x64

System 4:
AMD Phenom II X4 965
(3.4GHz Quad-Core) 
AMD Athlon II X4 645
(3.1GHz Quad-Core)

AMD Pehnom II X4 970
(3.5GHz Quad-Core)

AMD Phenom II X6 1090T
(3.2GHz Six-Core)

AMD Phenom II X6 1100T
(3.3GHz Six-Core)


MSI 890FXA-GD70
(AMD 890FX Chipset) 

2x2GB Corsair DDR3-1600
(@ 1333MHz, CAS 8)

Radeon IGP
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD150 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA 

Windows 7 x64

 Preliminary Testing with PCMark Vantage
 Synthetic Benchmarks

First up, we ran our test systems through Futuremark’s latest system performance evaluation tool, PCMark Vantage. PCMark Vantage runs through a host of different usage scenarios to simulate different types of workloads including High Definition TV and movie playback and manipulation, gaming, image editing and manipulation, music compression, communications, and productivity.  Most of the tests are multi-threaded as well, so the tests can exploit the additional resources offered by a quad or six-core CPU.

The new AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition is easily the fastest AMD-built CPU in the group, and it hangs well with the Core i5-750. But the similarly clocked (yet much more expensive) six-core Intel Core i7-970 has a large performance advantage over AMD's chip here.

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3DMark Vantage and '06

3DMark06's built-in CPU test is a multi-threaded DirectX gaming metric that's useful for comparing relative performance between similarly equipped systems.  This test consists of two different 3D scenes that are processed with a software renderer that is dependent on the host CPU's performance.  Calculations that are normally reserved for your 3D accelerator are instead sent to the CPU for processing and rendering.  The frame-rate generated in each test is used to determine the final score.

Futuremark 3DMark06
Synthetic DirectX Gaming

The additional cores and clock give the Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition an edge over all of the other AMD processors and the Intel quad and dual-cores tested here.  Once again though, the pricier Intel Core i7-970 has a big lead.

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage
Synthetic DirectX Gaming

3DMark Vantage's CPU Test 2 tells a similar story to 3DMark06. The X6 1100T BE is clearly the fastest AMD processor and it outpaces the Core i5s tested here, but the i7-970 is in another league.

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Cinebench and LAME MT

Cinebench R11.5 is a 3D rendering performance test based on Cinema 4D from Maxon. Cinema 4D is a 3D rendering and animation tool suite used by animation houses and producers like Sony Animation and many others.  It's very demanding of system processor resources and is an excellent gauge of pure computational throughput.

Cinebench R11.5
3D Rendering

This is a multi-threaded, multi-processor aware benchmark that renders a photorealistic 3D scene (from the viral "No Keyframes" animation by AixSponza). This scene makes use of various algorithms to stress all available processor cores. The rate at which each test system was able to render the entire scene is represented in the graph below.

 

We saw more of the same with the Cinebench R11.5 benchmark. The Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition finished just ahead of the 1090T, and clearly outpaced the other processors we tested, except of course for the Intel Core i7-970.

LAME MT
Audio Encoding

In our custom LAME MT MP3 encoding test, we convert a large WAV file to the MP3 format, which is a popular scenario that many end users work with on a day-to-day basis to provide portability and storage of their digital audio content.  LAME is an open-source mid to high bit-rate and VBR (variable bit rate) MP3 audio encoder that is used widely around the world in a multitude of third party applications.

In this test, we created our own 223MB WAV file (a hallucinogenically-induced Grateful Dead jam) and converted it to the MP3 format using the multi-thread capable LAME MT application in single and multi-thread modes. Processing times are recorded below, listed in seconds. Shorter times equate to better performance.

 

The new AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition performed at the exact same level as the Core i7-750 in our custom LAME MT benchmark. Due to its Turbo Core feature, which can push the clock frequency of up to three cores to 3.7GHz, it's worth noting that the 1100T also outperfomed the 3.5GHz Phenom II X4 970.

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Low-Res Gaming: Crysis and ETQW

For our next set of tests, we moved on to some in-game benchmarking with Crysis and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. When testing processors with Crysis or ET:QW, we drop the resolution to 800x600, and reduce all of the in-game graphical options to their minimum values to isolate CPU and memory performance as much as possible.  However, the in-game effects, which control the level of detail for the games' physics engines and particle systems, are left at their maximum values, since these actually do place some load on the CPU rather than GPU.

Low-Resolution Gaming: Crysis and ET: Quake Wars
Taking the GPU out of the Equation


The additional 100MHz offered by the Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition doesn't equate to a any significant gains in gaming performance over the 1090T, although it was a hair faster overall. Intel's Core 2010 processors--namely the i5-750 and i7-970--have significant performance advantages here.

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Total System Power Consumption

We'd like to cover a few final data points before bringing this article to a close. Throughout all of our benchmarking and testing, we monitored how much power our test systems consumed using a power meter. Our goal was to give you all an idea as to how much power each configuration used while idling and while under a heavy workload. Please keep in mind that we were testing total system power consumption at the outlet here, not just the power being drawn by the processors alone.

Total System Power Consumption
Tested at the Outlet

As expected, considering the processor fits into the same power envelope as the Phenom II X6 1090T, the 1100T Black Edition consumes a similar amount of power. Our particular chip actually consumed a few watts less than the 1090T while idling and only 15 more watts while under load.

We should also point out the that Phenom II X6 1100T operated and very similar temperatures to the 1090T, as the power numbers would suggest.  We saw idle temps in the low 40'C range and load temps in the mid-60'C range.

Our editor Joel has also been playing around with the 1100T in conjunction with a sinlge-phase Phase Change cooler to see what kind overlocks it's capable of with some exotic cooling. Joel got the CPU to POST at 5GHz at 1.475v, but the machine wasn't stable. Stability came at 4.3GHz with all 6-cores active. And with three cores enabled it hit 4.5GHz.

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Our Summary and Conclusion

 

Performance Summary: We didn't experience any major surprises throughout our testing of the AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition. Due to its higher base (3.3GHz) and Turbo Core (3.7GHz) frequencies, the 1100T offered small performance gains over the previous flagship X6 1090T. And the 1100T's additional cores give it an obvious edge in multi-threaded workloads over any other previous AMD quad-core. It even outperformed the Core i5-750 in a number of scenarios. In single or lightly-threaded workloads, the 1100T performed much like the 3.5GHz Phenom II X4 970, but overall we'd say the 1100T still had the edge thanks to its higher Turbo Core frequency. Intel's more expensive six-core processors, however, are still the kings of the hill for now.

It features AMD's most powerful CPU core currently available and it's clocked higher than any previous AMD CPU (at least when Turbo Core kicks in), so it should some as no surprise that the Phenom II X6 1100T is the fastest desktop processor released from AMD to date. In every test we ran the new Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition turned in scores marginally better than the previous flagship 1090T and thanks to the X6's Turbo Core feature the 1100T also managed to outpace the 3.5GHz Phenom II X4 970 in all but one test. If you're an AMD fan, the Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition is really a no comprimise solution.


One More Look At The AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition

Not surprisingly, the Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition will arrive with the highest price of any other AMD desktop processor, with an MSRP of $265. Even still, considering the strong performance of the chip, that price is easily justified. If you haven't noticed, pricing on the 1090T ($235) and 1075T ($199) has dropped recently in anticipation of the 1100T's arrival and you can now score an AMD six-core CPU for under $200 bucks. We should also point out that the Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition isn't the only CPU being released today. Arriving alongide the new flagship are a new 3.4GHz Phenom II X2 565 Black Edition at ~$115 and a 3.3GHz Athlon II X3 455 at ~$87, so AMD's got you covered at virtually all market segments.



  • AMD's Fastest CPU Yet
  • Strong Multi-Threaded Performance
  • Strong Lightly Threaded Performance Thanks to Turbo Core

  • Can't Touch An Intel 6-Core In Terms of Performance
  • Small Speed Bump Over 1090T



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