The Performance Summary

At $199 and $285 the obvious comparison points are Intel’s Core i5 750 and Core i7 860. We’ll dive into the complete performance tests in a bit, but if you’re looking for some quick analysis here’s what we’ve got.

Single threaded performance is squarely a Lynnfield advantage. Intel’s quad-cores can turbo up more and Intel does have the advantage of higher IPC.

Phenom II X6 vs. Intel's Lynnfield Processors
  Cinebench R10 (Single Threaded) Cinebench R10 (Multithreaded) 3dsmax r9 x264 HD - 2nd Pass Left 4 Dead
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T 3951 18526 13.7 28.5 fps 127.2 fps
AMD Phenom II X6 1055T 3547 16268 12.7 25.1 fps 111.5 fps
Intel Core i7 860 4490 16598 15.0 26.8 fps 131.0 fps
Intel Core i5 750 4238 14142 13.4 21.0 fps 130.0 fps

Highly threaded encoding and 3D rendering performance are obviously right at home on the Phenom II X6. The 6MB L3 cache and lower IPC does appear to hamper the Phenom II X6 in a couple of tests but for the most part if you need threads, the X6 is the way to go.

Applications in between generally favor Intel’s quad-cores over the Phenom II X6. This includes CPU-bound games.

None of this should be terribly surprising as it’s largely the same conclusion we came to with the Athlon II X3 and X4. If you run specific heavily threaded applications, you can’t beat the offer AMD is giving you. It’s the lighter or mixed use workloads that tend to favor Intel’s offerings at the same price points.

AMD’s Turbo: It Works AMD’s 890FX Chipset & The Test
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  • kwm - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    did the big bad caps scare you. sorry Reply
  • Taft12 - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    OF COURSE 6 CPU CORES WILL PROVIDE A TANGIBLE BENEFIT TO VIRTUALIZED PLATFORMS! Reply
  • Skiprudder - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    To folks asking for a more detailed overclocking review, I would just say that Anand almost always releases an in-depth OC article on a new CPU architecture anywhere from a day to a week later. I think he usually wants to get the basic info out first, then delve into the nitty gritty for those who OC. Reply
  • silverblue - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    I think Thuban could've been a little better realised;

    1) Higher uncore speed - whatever happened to the touted 5.2GT/s HT3 link?
    2) Triple channel controller - AMD have been using dual channel controllers for the best part of a decade - this HAS to be starving Thuban
    3) Keeping the Phenom II's core control system. Phenom I may have been more elegant, but even if Thuban is faster at ramping up the voltages, it'll still result in issues with XP and Vista. So, the targetted audience, at least for Microsoft users, would be Windows 7.

    Which reminds me... SysMark is on Vista, an OS known to cause issues with Phenoms. Would this have detrimentally affected the X6's scores, even if two cores are being taxed?

    I don't think extra cache would be viable for AMD. The Athlon II X4s aren't far behind equivalent clocked Phenom II X4s even without any L3 cache, plus the added expense and die complexity would've just pushed prices, and temperatures, upwards. Of course, a higher model with 8MB of L3 cache would be nice to see.

    It's not really a disappointment to see Thuban fail to topple the entry-level Nehalems. Remember that they're logical 8-thread CPUs and are thus more efficient at keeping their pipelines fed. You can still get a high-end AMD setup for cheaper than the competing Intel setups; just throw some heavily threaded software at it and it'll do very nicely. The new X4s may just give Intel cause to drop prices though.

    One final thing - AMD's offerings are known to perform far closer to Intel CPUs when every single bit of eye candy is enabled in games, including AA, and pushing the resolution upwards. It may have been more telling had this been done.
    Reply
  • silverblue - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    Ignore the last bit; it wouldn't be a good indication of the power of Thuban. Reply
  • gruffi - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    1) Higher uncore speed means higher power consumption and probably less power efficiency.
    2) You would need a new platform that makes the current one obsolete. You would also need much more time and money to validate.
    3) I actually see no problem.

    Sry, but your claims are unrealistic or pointless.
    Reply
  • silverblue - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    "1) Higher uncore speed means higher power consumption and probably less power efficiency."
    You could just reduce the clock speeds to compensate, assuming a higher uncore yields a satisfactory performance increase. The i7-920 has an uncore speed of 2.13GHz and Phenom IIs at 2GHz.

    "2) You would need a new platform that makes the current one obsolete. You would also need much more time and money to validate."
    Fair dos.

    "3) I actually see no problem."
    The potential for a thread hitting an idle core would still be there as, even with Turbo CORE doing its thing, there would be the potential for three idle cores, however this will be minimised if AMD has decreased the delay needed for a core to ramp back up from 800MHz.

    "Sry, but your claims are unrealistic or pointless."
    That's fine.
    Reply
  • jonup - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    Nice read; well done Anand! Are you planning to do an OC follow up like you,ve done in the past. Also I noticed that on the second "CPU Specification Comparison" chart on the first page "AMD Phenom II X4 965" is included twice.
    p.s. What's IOMMU? Can someone explain please?
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    The short answer is that an IOMMU is a memory mapping unit (MMU) for I/O devices (video cards, network controllers, etc). For most readers of this site, the only time they'd use an IOMMU is when using a virtual machine, as an IOMMU allows the virtualize OS to talk more or less directly to the hardware by translating the virtual addresses to the physical addresses the hardware is using. However it does have other uses. Reply
  • jonup - Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - link

    Thanks! Reply

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