AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Review: The New Six-Core Flagship

AMD knows that we're impatiently waiting for some traction on Fusion. And while we expect to see its first notebook-oriented Fusion-based processors featured in actual products at CES, we're still a ways away from seeing the technology in action on the desktop.

In the meantime, AMD is trying to tide us over with a steady stream of frequency bumps. It seems like that has been the case for a while now, but as the company improves its 45 nm manufacturing process, it's able to reliably get incrementally more headroom to boost performance--even if it's only bit by bit. This strategy isn’t viable long term, of course, especially in the face of Sandy Bridge launching in January at CES, aiming for the same mainstream market. It tided the company over in 2010, though, allowing it to offer excellent prices on processors that performed very well, despite Intel's lock on the high-end segment. 

Hello, Thuban...Hello, Thuban...

Perhaps the best part of this approach is that, every time AMD introduced a new model over the last year, the faster processors have adopted the MSRP of the models they replace. This time is no different, and the result is a wave of price drops dribbling down the Athlon II and Phenom II product lines.

Once Sandy Bridge hits, AMD is going to have a hard time leaning on its current approach. We're simply expecting too much pressure on its higher-end models from Intel's LGA 1155 lineup. For now, the Athlon II and Phenom II processors remain viable options for enthusiasts looking for plenty of performance without dropping a lot of cash. Remember, we still don't have official pricing on the Sandy Bridge parts, so it could turn out that AMD retains its value proposition moving into 2011.

This time around, AMD is refreshing the Athlon II X3, Phenom II X2, and Phenom II X6 families. Even the Thuban-based six-core X6 can overclock up to 4 GHz relatively easily. So, it's not a stretch to expect another speed bump or two from some of AMD's lower-clocked parts as we traverse through the next year, even once Bulldozer-based parts start shipping.

Knowing that day is coming, is it worth sinking money into a new Socket AM3 platform now? Both Intel and AMD are gearing up for a next-generation battle, after all. Let's take a closer look.

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  • Mark Heath
    I wish Intel would do something like this for all (or at least most) of their processors.(the speed bumps with same price model)
  • fstrthnu
    A pretty good effort from AMD, but Sandy Bridge is only 2 or 3 months away by now. Of course, this is just a stopgap measure till Bulldozer comes; still, when AMD is only just catching up to Intel in terms of stock performance NOW (even though it has slightly better value)...
  • sideshowbob32
    Great article I just ordered a 1090T for m old am2+ set up, I look forward to it and this article makes me want it more!! Glad to see amd is doing great.
  • tacoslave
    im gonna wait for bulldozer
  • stingstang
    AMD is most certainly not doing great if they have to rerelease all their chips. Here's what happens: They make a batch of chips and sell them all as 4 core processors at X speed. The ones they don't sell or are returned go into stress testing. Those batches are divided in to x2 or x3 piles depending on how stable they are with which cores enabled. The winners of the tests get promoted and branded as new, faster chips with x+100 MHz. The process then repeats.
    Now if you'll look, their third iteration of this process still doesn't match intel's entry-level i7 processors. It's just embarrassing is what that is.
  • Could this be any more unremarkable or unnecessary a product? Might as well grab an i5, or one of the existing X6s, or wait for SB, or Bulldozer... this is just pointless.
  • buzznut
    I'm waiting as well I think. I'd have to upgrade my mobo to run a X6 anyway since Biostar chose not to support it with my current board. I think the 1090T is a great value at $230 though. Pretty sweet.
  • sudeshc
    thats more like it, increase those stock speeds and the we will have more chance to to get even more performance by overclocking :D
  • FunSurfer
    It would be nice to see in the gaming benchmark games that have intensive use of all the CPU's cores like GTA4, BFBC2, RFG (@ large building destruction).
  • dEAne
    With this data Sandy Bridge will not put pressure on AMD it will kill it. I think the only thing left for AMD is to lower the price much further.
  • Intel is far from the giant from 2007, with massive bribing of retailers. They lost $1.25B to AMD for the "sell only INTEL, NO AMD, and get free INTEL processors as rebates".

    Today, Intel locks NVidia/VIA/SIS from the LGA1156 & LGA1366 platforms to protect their own monopoly. #$%^^&(^&@#!!

    Many motherboards companies supported INTEL for the past 10 years. Today, Intel is killing them one by one. (YES, ABIT is dead)
  • metallifux
    If AMD would release some AM3+ motherboards i would be building a new PC right now with one of these bad boys, but no they insist on waiting until they have bulldozer ready.... BAD BUSINESS ME THINKS
  • tony singh
    I am tired of waiting for AMD to bring another 'athlon64' to lock horns with intel ,If it can match & defeat nvidia , why not intel ? I know what a giant intel is BUT it is not out of this world..
  • dEAneWith this data Sandy Bridge will not put pressure on AMD it will kill it. I think the only thing left for AMD is to lower the price much further.

    you are wrong sir, completely wrong! AMD have not looked this strong in years, they are on the brink of becoming really profitable again and are releasing great products at even better prices!

    Througt the Phenom I and C2D years all my customer builds were basically Intel, but since Phenom II and Athlon II I have built AMD for 90% of my clients with the odd exception of the Monster builds using i7 and x58 boards!

    Yes Intel has faster chips, yest sandy bridge will be great, so will Bulldozer and no, most people wanting new computers could not care less whats inside the PC, as long as it does what they want, which for most is still basic functions of Internet, E-Mail, online streaming, a few films and Music storage with a little Document creation! So here for the vast majority price matters more than pure absolute speed and AMD win very big in this sector!

    Seriously though I am no AMD fanboy and have never supported either exclusively because that would just be stupid, but right now, anyone who loves the modern age of computers should support AMD right now so as to keep the healthy competition alive because without AMD Intel will basically tank big time and the same for the opposite as well, we do not need a monopoly in desktop processor market!

    Finally, I can pick up 1055t and decent Mobo for under £180 allowing me an overclock of 3.8Ghz on six cores, the cheapest i7 x 58 is around £210 without Mobo! yes faster, but moneys worth considering what the 1055 can do, umm no!
  • yannigr
    In WinRAR test i think there is a problem with the motherboard and 6 core cpus. 1075T is too far behind 1090T and 1100T. That's what happens when you are using two different test systems for AMD cpus. At the same time it is a very interesting result. I guess Asus M4A785TD-V EVO is not the best board for a six core AMD. Sisoft Sandra memory benchmark is another result that gives me that impression. Maybe you should exclude that board in future testing with 6 core cpus.
  • blackjellognomes
    tony singhI am tired of waiting for AMD to bring another 'athlon64' to lock horns with intel ,If it can match & defeat nvidia , why not intel ? I know what a giant intel is BUT it is not out of this world..
    I know people who avoid AMD religiously. I also know people who have never heard of AMD. With all the support they get, Intel has the funds for R&D that AMD can only wish for. It's no surprise that it's all Intel at the high-end of the CPU spectrum and not AMD. AMD only "defeated" Nvidia because they could afford ATI's technology.
  • knowom
    tony singhI am tired of waiting for AMD to bring another 'athlon64' to lock horns with intel ,If it can match & defeat nvidia , why not intel ? I know what a giant intel is BUT it is not out of this world..
    Nvidia is defeated...hardly they completely dominate the workstation/scientific segment where the highest profit is and are right on par basically in the gamer segment.

    Then of course they have that 1B settlement coming to them from Intel with perhaps a clause in it so they can buyout Via and start making x86 CPU's certainly wouldn't be surprised by that.

    AMD can barely stay afloat and has been treading water for quite awhile if Fusion doesn't pan out a merge with Nvidia would be it's only hopes of survival.
  • elbert
    Think its time for AMD to combining 2 CPUs for 8 and 12 cores like they have on the server side but for AM3 motherboards. AMD would then have a 12 core black edition to match the i7's 6 core CPUs in performance and price. This would give AMD a fighting chance against Sandy Bridge until they get bulldozer.
  • notty22
    In a cpu review, you want to run game benchmarks to eliminate cpu performance.
    Yes, that makes sense/ not.
  • gxpbecker
    Where's my bulldozer, refreshes are getting a bit old... not that i am really complaining though??
  • masterasia
    Sorry AMD fanboys...not good enough. Took AMD 2 years to be almost where Intel was 2 years ago with the i7 920 (which is still top dawg and the best bang for your buck). The AMD chips still can't compete with an over clocked i7 920/930.

    I'm rooting for AMD to step their game. Can't wait to see what they have in bulldozer. If it's anything worthwhile, I might just switch back to AMD.

    These high end chips are for enthusiasts only, not even gamers. If you want to show off how much money you have then go for the best. It's just like a Toyota Corolla vs a Supra. They both get you from point A to point B, but you look good doing it in a Supra (chicks also dig you) and have higher risks (way higher insurance too) of getting pulled over or injury like Hulk Hogan's son, Nick.

    I'm a Supra guy...Always buy the best stuff. I have $1,000 golf clubs, but suck at it. I don't care, just wanna look good and show off my money.

    The point is, if AMD comes out with better stuff, I'll buy AMD.
  • saint19
    AMD is now delivery a lot of performance with their products, maybe not at the same Intel level, but that can be enough for some people that prefer price/performance and doesn't have enough money to go with Intel's CPUs
  • Th-z
    Don, Tom's should have more games benchmarked in CPU articles. In graphic card articles there are more games tested, maybe we can at least match that.

    Some games that can or claim to scale beyond 4 cores are (but not limited to): Civilization V, Gothic 4, Lost Planet 2, Anno 1404, Prototype, GTA IV , Medal of Honor, etc. In these cases, the cheaper six core AMD CPUs could have better price/performance (need to find out) than Intel's closely priced or even more expensive quad core CPUs.
  • re-play-
    u put the BE 565 in your TESTList but i dont see it in benchis