• What
    is this?

    You've landed on the AMD Portal on AnandTech. This section is sponsored by AMD. It features a collection of all of our independent AMD content, as well as Tweets & News from AMD directly. AMD will also be running a couple of huge giveaways here so check back for those.

    PRESENTED BY

A very smart man once told me that absolute performance doesn’t matter, it’s performance at a given price point that makes a product successful. While AMD hasn’t held the absolute performance crown for several years now, that doesn’t mean the company’s products haven’t been successful.

During the days of the original Phenom, AMD started the trend of offering more cores than Intel at a given price point. Intel had the Core 2 Duo, AMD responded with the triple core Phenom X3. As AMD’s products got more competitive, the more-for-less approach didn’t change. Today AMD will sell you three or four cores for the price of two from Intel.

In some situations, this works to AMD’s benefit. The Athlon II X3 and X4 deliver better performance in highly threaded applications than the Intel alternatives. While Intel has better performance per clock, you can’t argue with more cores/threads for applications that can use them.

When Intel announced its first 6-core desktop processor, the Core i7 980X at $999, we knew a cheaper AMD alternative was coming. Today we get that alternative, this is the Phenom II X6 based on AMD’s new Thuban core:

It’s still a 45nm chip but thanks to architecture and process tweaks, the new Phenom II X6 still fits in the same power envelope as last year’s Phenom II X4 processors: 125W.

Update: AMD tells us that it gave us the wrong pricing on the 1090T. The part sells for $295, not $285, in 1000 unit quantities.

CPU Specification Comparison
Processor Clock Speed Max Turbo L2 Cache L3 Cache TDP Price
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T 3.2GHz 3.6GHz 3MB 6MB 125W $295
AMD Phenom II X6 1055T 2.8GHz 3.3GHz 3MB 6MB 125W $199
AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE 3.4GHz N/A 2MB 6MB 125W/140W $185
AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE 3.2GHz N/A 2MB 6MB 125W $165
AMD Phenom II X4 945 3.0GHz N/A 2MB 6MB 95W $155
AMD Phenom II X4 925 2.8GHz N/A 2MB 6MB 95W $145

You also don’t give up much clock speed. The fastest Phenom II X6 runs at 3.2GHz, just 200MHz shy of the fastest X4.

When Intel added two cores to Nehalem it also increased the L3 cache of the chip by 50%. The Phenom II X6 does no such thing. The 6 cores have to share the same 6MB L3 cache as the quad-core version.


The Phenom II X6 die. Monolithic, hexa-core

There’s also the issue of memory bandwidth. Intel’s Core i7 980X is paired with a triple channel DDR3 memory controller, more than enough for four cores under normal use and enough for a six core beast. In order to maintain backwards compatibility, the Phenom II X6 is still limited to the same dual channel memory controller as its quad-core predecessor.

CPU Specification Comparison
CPU Codename Manufacturing Process Cores Transistor Count Die Size
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Thuban 45nm 6 904M 346mm2
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Deneb 45nm 4 758M 258mm2
Intel Core i7 980X Gulftown 32nm 6 1.17B 240mm2
Intel Core i7 975 Bloomfield 45nm 4 731M 263mm2
Intel Core i7 870 Lynnfield 45nm 4 774M 296mm2
Intel Core i5 670 Clarkdale 32nm 2 384M 81mm2
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Deneb 45nm 4 758M 258mm2

The limitations are nitpicks in the grand scheme of things. While the 980X retails for $999, AMD’s most expensive 6-core processor will only set you back $285 and you can use them in all existing AM2+ and AM3 motherboards with a BIOS update. You're getting nearly 1 billion transistors for $200 - $300. Like I said earlier, it’s not about absolute performance, but performance at a given price point.

AMD 2010 Roadmap
CPU Clock Speed Max Turbo (<= 3 cores) L3 Cache TDP Release
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T 3.2GHz 3.6GHz 6MB 125W Q2
AMD Phenom II X6 1075T 3.0GHz 3.5GHz 6MB 125W Q3
AMD Phenom II X6 1055T 2.8GHz 3.3GHz 6MB 125W/95W Q2
AMD Phenom II X6 1035T 2.6GHz 3.1GHz 6MB 95W Q2
AMD Phenom II X4 960T 3.0GHz 3.4GHz 6MB 95W Q2

We'll soon see more flavors of the Phenom II X6 as well as a quad-core derivative with 2 of these cores disabled. As a result, motherboard manufacturers are already talking about Phenom II X4 to X6 unlocking tools.

The new Phenom II X6 processors are aimed squarely at Intel’s 45nm Lynnfield CPUs. Both based on a 45nm process, AMD simply offers you more cores for roughly the same price. Instead of a quad-core Core i7 860, AMD will sell you a six-core 1090T. Oh and the T stands for AMD’s Turbo Core technology.

AMD’s Turbo: It Works
POST A COMMENT

168 Comments

View All Comments

  • kenupcmac - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    so now amd x6 is better for 3dmax compare to intel i7? Reply
  • Wabid Wabit - Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - link

    Please check the site out, it is not a Intel Fanboy site or a AMD Fanboy site, but has the info you need, this page was an old post but the site has the info from then and now and it looks like - wait for it - wait for it - Intel just plain kicks ass - and all us Computer Geeks know that.

    http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html
    Reply
  • azizul.hoque - Monday, January 17, 2011 - link

    Hi,
    Can I use this processor for 3D studio MAX?
    Reply
  • tipoo - Saturday, May 07, 2011 - link

    Of course you can use it. Reply
  • superccs - Saturday, June 11, 2011 - link

    I have disabled the middle 2 cores on my 1055T (240Mhz FSB auto voltage, CnQ, and Turbo enabled) and it works quite well at bringing down temps when gaming. When turbo core is active the voltage of all cores goes up to 1.475, so disabling the cores saves power and temps.

    This works well in the summer, during the winter all heaters are enabled.
    Reply
  • rustamveer - Friday, July 29, 2011 - link

    sir i wanted to upgrade my pc with amd phenom2 1090t and i' m new to amd processors.
    but sir please suggest me which motherboard i will choose i don't know much abt motherboard????
    please also tell me the price rate in india of phenom2 1090t and motherboard????????
    i will be very thankful to you....waiting for you reply!!!!!!!
    Reply
  • archangel2003 - Saturday, February 04, 2012 - link

    Sounds a lot like the cycle magazines touting one bike having 1.5 HP more than the other, but really, how much riding is done nearly bouncing off the rev limiter?

    Same thing with these chips.
    How often are you going to experience the slight difference between these top of the line "at it's limits" Intel chip compared to the AMD at 1/3 the price?

    I think the point of the article was that the huge cost savings of an AMD offsets the slight difference in performance.

    BTW, all my computers have Intel only because that ia what they had in them, and if in the future I needed to make a choice, I would need better info like this article offeres.

    I could have went with the AMD 6 core for less than my i7 IntelQuad core cost!
    Reply
  • Somebody23 - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    I have managed to push my 1090T to 4.2ghz all cores. it was mostly stable on benchmark.

    Downgraded 100mhz to 4.1ghz. It's stable at 4.1ghz computer doesnt bluescreen in 3 hours stability test.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now