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

Phenom II X6 1100T: Pushing The Limit

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...

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.

  • 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.