AMD Phenom II X6 1090T 6-Core Processor Review

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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.

Audio Encoding

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 LAME MT benchmark showcases the effectiveness of AMD's Turbo CORE technology. In this test, despite the 1090T's 200MHz default clock speed disadvantage versus the Phenom II X4 965, the 1090T is able to pull ahead of the X4. When Turbo CORE is enabled, the 1090T peaks at 3.6GHz and is able to outpace the X4. Intel's processors have an obvious advantage here, however.

x264 Video Encoding Benchmark
H.264 HD Video Encoding

The x264 benchmark measures how fast a system can encode a short, DVD quality MPEG-2 video clip into a high-quality H.264 HD video clip. The application reports the compression results in frames per second for each pass of the video encoding process, and it is threaded so it can take advantage of the additional resources afforded by multi-core processors.

Surprisingly, in the first pass of the x264 benchmark, the Phenom II X6 1090T trailed the X4 965. In the second pass of the test, however, the additional cores of the X6 allowed it to significantly outperform the Phenom II X4, although it just missed the mark set by the Core i7 870.

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bob_on_the_cob 4 years ago

[quote user="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. [/quote]

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.

animatortom 4 years ago

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!

realneil 4 years ago

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.

Schmich 4 years ago

"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.

gibbersome 4 years ago

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?

marco c 4 years ago

@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.

gibbersome 4 years ago

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.

Der Meister 4 years ago

very impressive for the price!

la_guy_10 4 years ago


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.


rapid1 4 years ago

     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 :)

dlim783 4 years ago

Intel Core i7 920-930 still beats AMD 1090T!

rapid1 4 years ago

Well I run a 930 my wife runs a 965BE she inherited. When run side by side in our systems both running the same speed DDR3 and one a ATI 5870 with the other a 5850 the difference is pretty much laughable on the same game. So is that worthy of 700 bucks of a difference? Were talking maybe 2 fps if that (and usually not that) so a 6 core processor of the AMD variety is even closer than a 4 core. Sounds like a waste of money to me more than anything!

lifeskills 4 years ago

No complaints so far on my 1090T.  Around April I was about to build an i7 system when I heard the 1090T was coming out.  Paired with an 890FX board and 8 gigs of ram, system is the fastest i have owned yet (previous systems were athlon and Phenom II 710, so not saying much here).  I have never had an Intel processor to compare AMD to...

acarzt 4 years ago

I think if AMD really tried to make a high end top of the line CPU to compete with Intel, it would be a pretty stout chip.

I miss the days when AMD had the faster CPUs AND at a lower price.

crowTrobot 4 years ago

I'd actually settle for a clearer technical (read: actual) roadmap of what AMD is trying to do more rather than an actual chip.  They have been keeping their plans too close to their chest.  I'd love to be enthusiastic about their upcoming product but its hard when I have no idea what they are and what they plan to do!  All I know is that power point slide that they have been showing since last year.

acarzt 4 years ago

I think they're just winging it lol

lifeskills 4 years ago

Was just looking through this again and noticed that the test systems used a GeForce GTX 280.  Would love to see a a ATI 5800 series card in there to complete the Leo platformWink

fat78 4 years ago

Love amd's 1090t

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