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Two AMD Phenom II X6 1090Ts?

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July 11, 2010 1:56:20 AM

Would it be possible to have a system running two AMD Phenom II X6 1090Ts? I am trying to compare all of the Intel and AMD processors, and it occurred to me that if I could get a system with multiple 1090Ts, I could get two and have roughly the performance I would get from an Intel i7 980

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July 11, 2010 2:34:14 AM

Nope. The Phenom is designed for desktops only. The only way to get a dual AMD cpu system is to go with the Opertons. At the moment, the fastest hexa-core Opterton is the 2439 SE, which is at 2.8Ghz. Also, what is this system being used for? Once we know that, we will have a better idea of what CPU would be the best suggestion.
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July 11, 2010 3:25:48 AM

I'm trying to build a high-end gaming PC for under $3000. I'm going on lot's of system builder's websites and customizing different systems. I've made a system that cost about $2700 (I forget the exact amount) with two Radeon 5970s. I'm thinking that it would need a pretty good processor not to bottleneck the GPU too much. The Phenom hexa-cores are pretty cheap, so I thought if I could get two of those, it might be a much better deal than getting a single 980.
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July 11, 2010 6:10:12 AM

Having 2 Phenom II X6 processors will give you exactly the same performance as a single Phenom II X6 in a gaming build, games do not use any where near that number of cores. A Phenom II X4 955 can match the Phenom II X6 1090T performance wise in almost every game actually, since the bulk of games won't even push 4 cores.
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July 11, 2010 10:05:04 AM

just get a 12 core opteron G34 and overclock it
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July 11, 2010 11:59:40 AM

Going that high end the i7 9XX series or 1090T with extreme overclocking are your only decent options, Opterons just aren't gaming processors.
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July 11, 2010 12:28:05 PM

Reubend said:
Would it be possible to have a system running two AMD Phenom II X6 1090Ts? I am trying to compare all of the Intel and AMD processors, and it occurred to me that if I could get a system with multiple 1090Ts, I could get two and have roughly the performance I would get from an Intel i7 980


First of all, you cannot run multiple Phenom IIs together on the same motherboard. There are not only no dual Socket AM3 motherboard, but even if there were, Socket AM3 CPUs lack the required CPU-to-CPU HyperTransport link to enable multiprocessor operation. You need to get Opterons to run more than one CPU together at one time. The closest Opteron to the 1090T is the Opteron 4184, which is a 2.8 GHz 6-core unit with no turbo (basically a 1055T minus the turbo and using Socket C32 instead of AM3.) 4184s cost a little over $300 each and can be run in pairs, but the only problem is that there is only one dual C32 motherboard that is usable for a desktop-type system (MSI MS-91F7), and it is not being sold in the U.S. at this time.

Secondly, two slower 6-core CPUs like Opteron 4184s do not give you the same performance as one very fast 6-core unit like the i7 980X. The 980X will be faster than any number of Opterons in single-threaded tests since it has a much higher clock speed. Adding more CPUs will improve multithreaded performance though, and I'd pick the 12 2.8 GHz Opteron cores over the 6 3.33 GHz cores + SMT i7 cores any day for a workstation.



That's not going to game nearly as well as an i7 980X since the 6174 is a 2.2 GHz CPU and most games prefer a few highly-clocked cores to a ton of lower-clocked ones. Plus a 6174 costs a little more than an i7 980X, the ASUS motherboard costs over $400, and the RAM setup you suggested is not only horribly expensive but slow. 16 GB DDR3 RAM modules are registered quad-rank modules and will run at a maximum speed of DDR3-800 in dual-channel mode.

xaira said:
just get a 12 core opteron G34 and overclock it


You can't overclock current Opteron boards much if any. The BIOSes all lack overclocking options and using a clock generator PLL tweaker like Clockgen or SetFSB usually only results in a very mild overclock (HT ref of 205-220) before the system is unstable. Server boards are almost never bus-locked and overclocking the PCIe and other buses is a recipe for disaster.
July 11, 2010 4:46:31 PM

MU_Engineer said:
First of all, you cannot run multiple Phenom IIs together on the same motherboard. There are not only no dual Socket AM3 motherboard, but even if there were, Socket AM3 CPUs lack the required CPU-to-CPU HyperTransport link to enable multiprocessor operation. You need to get Opterons to run more than one CPU together at one time. The closest Opteron to the 1090T is the Opteron 4184, which is a 2.8 GHz 6-core unit with no turbo (basically a 1055T minus the turbo and using Socket C32 instead of AM3.) 4184s cost a little over $300 each and can be run in pairs, but the only problem is that there is only one dual C32 motherboard that is usable for a desktop-type system (MSI MS-91F7), and it is not being sold in the U.S. at this time.

Secondly, two slower 6-core CPUs like Opteron 4184s do not give you the same performance as one very fast 6-core unit like the i7 980X. The 980X will be faster than any number of Opterons in single-threaded tests since it has a much higher clock speed. Adding more CPUs will improve multithreaded performance though, and I'd pick the 12 2.8 GHz Opteron cores over the 6 3.33 GHz cores + SMT i7 cores any day for a workstation.



That's not going to game nearly as well as an i7 980X since the 6174 is a 2.2 GHz CPU and most games prefer a few highly-clocked cores to a ton of lower-clocked ones. Plus a 6174 costs a little more than an i7 980X, the ASUS motherboard costs over $400, and the RAM setup you suggested is not only horribly expensive but slow. 16 GB DDR3 RAM modules are registered quad-rank modules and will run at a maximum speed of DDR3-800 in dual-channel mode.



You can't overclock current Opteron boards much if any. The BIOSes all lack overclocking options and using a clock generator PLL tweaker like Clockgen or SetFSB usually only results in a very mild overclock (HT ref of 205-220) before the system is unstable. Server boards are almost never bus-locked and overclocking the PCIe and other buses is a recipe for disaster.

Wow! Thanks for all the great answers! That was really helpful. :) 

simon12 said:
Going that high end the i7 9XX series or 1090T with extreme overclocking are your only decent options, Opterons just aren't gaming processors.

How much do you think I would have to overclock it before it reached the gaming performance of a high-end Core i7? And how much do you think it would need not to bottleneck the two 5970s?
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July 11, 2010 6:31:34 PM

Reubend said:
Wow! Thanks for all the great answers! That was really helpful. :) 


You're welcome. I'm personally a server/workstation kind of guy, so I keep up on that hardware a bit more than some.

Quote:
How much do you think I would have to overclock it before it reached the gaming performance of a high-end Core i7? And how much do you think it would need not to bottleneck the two 5970s?


Most any decent triple- or quad-core CPU will be able to keep the GPUs cranking out >60 fps in most games. Tom's recommends the Athlon II X3s for gaming because they are consistently able to keep the GPUs fed even at stock speeds. The Phenom II X6s and Core i7s are even more powerful, so the answer is "no, you won't need to overclock the 1090T any to prevent a bottleneck."

I think we need to define what the bottleneck really is in this case. Two 5970s are a massive amount of graphics horsepower and your monitor will be the bottleneck unless you have a very large multi-monitor setup. One 5970 can drive a 30" 2560x1600 monitor pretty decently, so you're looking at having something like two of those 30" units or three 1920x1200 or 1920x1080 monitors to be an appropriate match to that much graphics horsepower. If you don't have such a massive monitor setup, I'd consider going to a more reasonable graphics card like one HD 5870. In either case, you won't be able to tell the difference between the 1090T or Core i7 or the Athlon II X3 in actual gameplay.

The only exception would be if you're competitively benchmarking, in which case you probably want as fast of a CPU as you can get since the benchmarks usually have a CPU component as well and get higher scores on Intel CPUs (let's just say it has to do with how some of the benchmarks are set up and leave it at that.) If you have the money, the i7 980X rules the benchmarks and overclocks well. If you don't have so much money, get the Xeon E5620, which is basically the i7 980X cut down to four cores. It's the least expensive LGA1366 32 nm CPU and will overclock better than the non-980X 45 nm Core i7s. It also has 12 MB of L3 cache and will perform a little better clock for clock than the 8 MB 45 nm units. They're not cheap at ~$390, but compared to the $1000 price tag of the i7 980X and an even higher price for two 5970s, it's a relative bargain.
July 11, 2010 7:16:30 PM

MU_Engineer said:
I think we need to define what the bottleneck really is in this case. Two 5970s are a massive amount of graphics horsepower and your monitor will be the bottleneck unless you have a very large multi-monitor setup. One 5970 can drive a 30" 2560x1600 monitor pretty decently, so you're looking at having something like two of those 30" units or three 1920x1200 or 1920x1080 monitors to be an appropriate match to that much graphics horsepower. If you don't have such a massive monitor setup, I'd consider going to a more reasonable graphics card like one HD 5870. In either case, you won't be able to tell the difference between the 1090T or Core i7 or the Athlon II X3 in actual gameplay.

I don't have anything near that; I've got one 1680x1050 monitor and an old, smaller one lying around somewhere, but I doubt it will work with Eyefinity because they are different sizes. Do you think two 5970s are overkill, then? I could buy another screen for the new rig, but I don't think I will be buying two.
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July 11, 2010 7:36:42 PM

Reubend said:
I don't have anything near that; I've got one 1680x1050 monitor and an old, smaller one lying around somewhere, but I doubt it will work with Eyefinity because they are different sizes. Do you think two 5970s are overkill, then? I could buy another screen for the new rig, but I don't think I will be buying two.


Yes, the two 5970's are overkill for one 22 inch monitor (1680X1050) . A single 5870 and an X4 955 BE could play any games at good frame rates. That can be overclocked to 3.8 Ghz fairly easily.
If interested in more horsepower down the road, you could add another 5870 and buy some larger monitors. Also, the current 6 cores from AMD are not gaming CPU's.
However, AMD will be bringing out 6 cores next year that should be compatible with AM3 (and faster). I am waiting for bulldozer myself, my X4 940 will do me just fine until then.
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July 11, 2010 9:37:22 PM

buzznut said:
Yes, the two 5970's are overkill for one 22 inch monitor (1680X1050) . A single 5870 and an X4 955 BE could play any games at good frame rates. That can be overclocked to 3.8 Ghz fairly easily. If interested in more horsepower down the road, you could add another 5870 and buy some larger monitors.


Agreed.

Quote:
Also, the current 6 cores from AMD are not gaming CPU's.
However, AMD will be bringing out 6 cores next year that should be compatible with AM3 (and faster).


I think you must be thinking of the Socket F Istanbul 6-core CPUs. Those aren't gaming CPUs, but the Socket AM3 Phenom II X6s certainly are.

Quote:
I am waiting for bulldozer myself, my X4 940 will do me just fine until then.


I'm simply waiting until I have money, Bulldozer or no Bulldozer. I'm using a 5-year-old Socket 939 machine and it is certainly showing its age.
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July 12, 2010 12:05:23 AM

Quote:
Also, the current 6 cores from AMD are not gaming CPU's.
However, AMD will be bringing out 6 cores next year that should be compatible with AM3 (and faster).


I think you must be thinking of the Socket F Istanbul 6-core CPUs. Those aren't gaming CPUs, but the Socket AM3 Phenom II X6s certainly are.

I was suggesting that there are many articles available, even here on toms, that show the X4 955BE to be faster for gaming than the two hexacores currently available from AMD, and I expect that to change next year. I should not have said "they aren't gaming cpu's", I should have said "They aren't the best for gaming." And they aren't. They are great for multitasking, so if he wanted a CPU for highly threaded apps, I would certainly recommend the X6 1090T.

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July 12, 2010 2:29:01 AM

buzznut said:


I was suggesting that there are many articles available, even here on toms, that show the X4 955BE to be faster for gaming than the two hexacores currently available from AMD, and I expect that to change next year. I should not have said "they aren't gaming cpu's", I should have said "They aren't the best for gaming." And they aren't. They are great for multitasking, so if he wanted a CPU for highly threaded apps, I would certainly recommend the X6 1090T.


Ah, I understand you now. The X6s may not be the absolute first choice for gaming, but they will certainly do very well at it. I guess I consider a non-gaming CPU as one that would actually do fairly poorly at gaming due to lack of core count or lack of clock speed, such as the single-core Sempron 140 or the 1.7 GHz Opteron 6164 HE.
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July 12, 2010 2:34:35 AM

Quote:
1090T will Bottleneck Quad Fire and 2 5970's. It even bottlenecked 3 470's which is why iwent back to intel.


I'd have gone back and gotten a second monitor instead of a different CPU if it was me. Three GTX 470s feeding one 1920x1080 monitor is just slightly less ridiculous than two 5890s feeding one 1680x1050 unit if gaming is your target. I hope you're not running with Vsync on :kaola: 

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July 12, 2010 3:34:26 AM

MU_Engineer said:
Ah, I understand you now. The X6s may not be the absolute first choice for gaming, but they will certainly do very well at it. I guess I consider a non-gaming CPU as one that would actually do fairly poorly at gaming due to lack of core count or lack of clock speed, such as the single-core Sempron 140 or the 1.7 GHz Opteron 6164 HE.


Good point. Yes, you are right the 1090T is a lot better gamer than many other CPU's!
July 12, 2010 3:52:42 AM

So would having one i7 980X and one 5970 make a more balanced system?
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July 12, 2010 4:08:32 AM

It would make an expensive system. If you want to spend $1000 on a cpu, go for it.
July 12, 2010 4:09:20 AM

Also, could a single 5970 run games on two 1680x1050 monitors with decent frame rates?
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July 12, 2010 4:17:42 AM

Yes, it would power two monitors well. The pb with two monitor setups is the bezel would be in the middle, which for first person games is not great- although I understand one becomes used to it over time.
Probably the best multimonitor setup would be three 22inch screens as the 22 inchers are quite affordable. This would leave the center of the field of vision unobstructed.
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July 12, 2010 6:20:38 AM

Reubend said:
I'm trying to build a high-end gaming PC for under $3000. I'm going on lot's of system builder's websites and customizing different systems. I've made a system that cost about $2700 (I forget the exact amount) with two Radeon 5970s. I'm thinking that it would need a pretty good processor not to bottleneck the GPU too much. The Phenom hexa-cores are pretty cheap, so I thought if I could get two of those, it might be a much better deal than getting a single 980.

Nothing right now can utilize that many cores. If you want to go amd, get a 1090t. One and two will make no difference now.
I suppose you could go with the opterons and get two at 2.8GHz each and have 12 CPU cores, and might be able to keep up in the future due to your number of cores. But then again, you might also run dry on CPU power per core in the future.
You must understand that one 3GHz core+ one 3GHz core does not equal one 6GHz core.

But personally, if I had that money, I still wouldn't waste it on what I don't need. I would get an Asus crosshair motherboard with an AMD Phenom II 1090t. The extra 2 cores for newer games coming out. As per this article, I would also get 3 5870s and crossfire them instead of two 5970s.
Darn, I can't find the article. But it basically showed that in practical gaming, the 5970 never performed much more than a few frames better than tri-crossfire 5870s. In fact, the 3 5870s sometimes performed better. Even If I had 3 grand for a computer, I would not spend 1/3 of it on the CPU. Especially when you can upgrade to something better than the current $1000 CPU for about $300 in only a few years. AMD had dual core 2.6GHz CPUs for $1000 just 4 years ago. A slightly better architecture dual core with the same cache and a 0.4GHz faster clockspeed is less than $65 now.

2.6GHz x2: http://www.cpu-world.com/CPUs/K8/AMD-Athlon%2064%20FX-6...(ADAFX60CDBOX).html
3.0GHz x2: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Just to put things in perspective.
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July 12, 2010 5:08:05 PM

Enzo is right. Most of us are not recommending the 980X because it is not a good value. Not when you can get a CPU for $300 and overclock it to have the same (relatively) performance.
Even if you don't intend on overclocking, If you invest in a quad or 6 core CPU like the ones we've been suggesting that have clock rates over 3.0 Ghz you will be able to do anything you want with your PC for the foreseeable future.

IF you have the money to buy the fastest CPU available, then go ahead. The rest of us are probably just jealous we can't afford such extravagance.
July 12, 2010 5:12:37 PM

buzznut said:
It would make an expensive system. If you want to spend $1000 on a cpu, go for it.

Well, I was thinking that if two 5970s are overkill, the $700ish that I save by only getting one could be added to the $300ish that would have gone to the 1090t to get the $1000 needed for the i7 980X. Do you think I should just keep the $600, then?


enzo matrix said:
As per this article, I would also get 3 5870s and crossfire them instead of two 5970s. Darn, I can't find the article. But it basically showed that in practical gaming, the 5970 never performed much more than a few frames better than tri-crossfire 5870s. In fact, the 3 5870s sometimes performed better.

Hmm... and three 5870s are cheaper than two 5970s? Interesting.
July 12, 2010 5:15:39 PM

buzznut said:
Enzo is right. Most of us are not recommending the 980X because it is not a good value. Not when you can get a CPU for $300 and overclock it to have the same (relatively) performance.
Even if you don't intend on overclocking, If you invest in a quad or 6 core CPU like the ones we've been suggesting that have clock rates over 3.0 Ghz you will be able to do anything you want with your PC for the foreseeable future.

IF you have the money to buy the fastest CPU available, then go ahead. The rest of us are probably just jealous we can't afford such extravagance.

You can overclock the 1090t to perform like a 980X? Wow! Well then, I'll definitely get the 1090t. How much do you think you would have to overclock it to get to that point?
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July 12, 2010 5:29:11 PM

Reubend said:
Hmm... and three 5870s are cheaper than two 5970s? Interesting.

Found it
http://www.hardware.info/nl-NL/articles/amdnampoZGCa/Cl...

I linked you to the artificial benchmark page, but scroll through the game benchmarks too.

It's not in english, but you can still look at the graphs.
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July 12, 2010 5:51:45 PM

Well, I did say relatively! I believe the 980X runs at 3.4 Ghz, even if the 1090T were overclocked to 3.4 Ghz it would probably be a little slower. They aren't the same architecture, so the 980X will be better at some things and presumably the 1090T would shine in other areas. The 1090T is great for multitasking and highly threaded situations.
But gaming performance? I say relative because if you are getting 100 frames per second with a 1090T and 120 FPS from a 980X, who cares? Your eyes will not be able to tell the difference in performance.

Look, the 980X is the fastest CPU available for desktop PC, hands down. You could buy a dodge Viper for 100,000 dollars. Or you could get a Murcialago for 430,000. Would the lambogrguini be faster? probably a little, but would that speed do you any good on American highways? They are both in the same relative class of performance. One costs a hell of a lot more.

In this case, no one is going to look at your pc and go"I see you have the 980X, WOW!" All they would see under the hood is a large heat sink and fan.
You'd have a benchmark busting high performance machine that you could brag about on the forums.

Having said all that, Anandtech has found that the new hexacores from AMD are the only ones that reliably overclock to over 4.0 Ghz in 64 bit windows.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3676/phenom-ii-x6-4ghz-an...
Which is great news for us that like to access more than 3.25 GB of ram.
So I believe you could overclock the 1090T to 3.8 Ghz without too much trouble. Your mileage may vary.
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July 12, 2010 5:59:05 PM

BTW, I would take any savings you have from making smart hardware choices and investing in a large, high performance SSD. This WILL have a system wide impact on performance that is tangible.
Not sure if you have planned on this but I highly recommend it.
July 12, 2010 7:40:48 PM

Well then, I think all my questions have been answered. Thanks to everyone who replied to this! You help has been invaluable! :) 
!