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Our iTunes test is perhaps the most telling indicator of the effectiveness of Turbo CORE. We know that this application is not threaded, so we’d expect our 3.2 GHz Phenom II X6 1090T to ramp up to its maximum Turbo speed of 3.6 GHz.
The results, however, suggest that the 3.2 GHz part is merely matching the performance of AMD’s quad-core Phenom II X4 965. Meanwhile, everything from the sub-$200 Core i5-750 to the $1,000 Core i7-980X is able to outpace the two AMD chips.
Reiterating my previous point, Turbo CORE is compensating for the loss of clock speed resulting from AMD’s move to hexa-core computing without an accompanying die shrink. It does not look to improve performance versus the company’s previous flagship in single-threaded titles.
Of course, most media-oriented apps are not as handicapped as iTunes. MainConcept is well-threaded, so even if the X6 isn’t running as fast as the X4, it’s extra cores more than compensate, propelling the chip ahead of Intel’s quad-core Core i7-920 and -930, just behind the Core i7-975 Extreme. That’s a significant finish given the price gap between the -975, X6, and -930.
HandBrake, freely available, turns the tables even more in favor of AMD’s Thuban design. The Phenom II X6 1090T shaves more than two minutes off of the X4’s transcode, and AMD even manages to beat Core i7-975 by three seconds. Thuban can’t touch Gulftown, but again, we’re talking about the difference between a $295 and $1,000 processor here.
In the threaded DivX test, Phenom II X6 1090T again outperforms Intel’s quad-core Core i7-975, losing out only to Intel’s Core i7-980X. The Xvid routine isn’t threaded, though, and AMD’s X6 succumbs to the faster-clocked X4 part. The competition from Intel doesn’t do as well here.
It’s also interesting to note that, despite the fact that Intel’s six-core Gulftown part is bugged in Xvid, AMD’s six-core contender does not suffer from the same problem, and manages to complete the test without seizing up.