|AMD Phenom-II X6-1100T CPU HDE00ZFBRBOX|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Tuesday, 07 December 2010|
Page 13 of 14
AMD X6-1100T Final Thoughts
AMD has played catch-up to Intel for many years now. For a brief period in the early years of the decade, AMD was the undisputed CPU performance champ, easily trouncing Intel's "NetBurst" CPUs, but those days are long gone. Although AMD fanboys argued that their "true" multi-core CPUs were more elegant and sophisticated than Intel's initial crude attempts, which involved simply putting two separate CPU dies in a single package (and later, two dual-core dies into a single package) and forcing the cores to communicate across the front-side bus, at the end of the day the Intel CPUs were simply faster.
Intel fans initially scorned the Thuban-core CPUs, especially when the publicity shots of the 6-core Thuban die show that the extra two cores seem to have almost been "tacked on": even someone who didn't know anything about processor design can see that it's obviously a four-core design at its heart. But there's one thing that a lot of people (even reviewers) seem to miss: while Intel continues to hold the performance crown, AMD is the undisputed leader in performance per dollar. And this is quite significant now that desktop processors have long since hit the "fast enough" point, where additional performance is unnoticeable in most applications. AMD's current processor lineup is much closer to Intel's in terms of performance than it has been in a while, as many of the tests in this review show: for example, the $159 AMD 965 Black Edition equals or exceeds the $184 Intel Core i5-750 in CINEBENCH, all three SPECviewperf tests, the Vantage Music test, four out of five AIDA64 tests, the Street Fighter IV low-resolution test, and is equal or slightly better in most other tests...and it also has the enthusiast cred that an unlocked multiplier means.
The Intel Core i7-980x is obviously the fastest single CPU you can buy now. But what level performance do you get for the extra $700 you'd pay over an 1100T? The chart below compares the scores of the 980x and (overclocked) 1100T in each test, with the difference shown as a percentage— a positive percentage means the 1100T won, while a negative percentage means the 980x won.
On the average, on these benchmarks, the overclocked AMD 1100T Black Edition is 13% slower than the Core i7-980x. If we remove the AIDA64 AES score, the different drops to 9.5%. Admittedly, this is an average; most of the scores exhibit more of a difference than this, and a different mix of benchmarks would skew this percentage one way or the other. But this is still a reasonable estimate of the real performance difference you'll see, overall, between these CPUs.
All that said, price decreases on Intel Socket 1366 processors and the introduction of several $200-and-under X58 motherboards have seriously eroded AMD's advantage in the mid-price field. Previously, building an Intel rig on an AMD budget meant going with a P55 system, but now that a Core i7-930/X58 system can be configured for about the same price as an 1100T/890FX system, the choice is less obvious. Although the 1100T's six cores make it faster than the 930 in media transcoding and other tasks that can utilize multiple cores effectively, the 930 is very overclockable, and its superior integer performance and Hyper-Threading feature will give it an advantage in many situations.
The performance of your processor is only one facet of the performance of your system, and in most cases it's not the most important once you've hit the "fast enough" line. If your processor is in the AMD 965BE/Intel 930 class, your performance dollars are better spent on a good video card or SSD rather than a fancier CPU. While six cores are of little benefit to most users, if you want a hexacore CPU for media transcoding or just bragging rights, AMD gets you much of the performance of the Core i7-980x for a fraction of Intel's price.