AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black
ERP: R2, 999
If you are one of the people who are not convinced by multi-core processors and are adamant that no program needs more than two cores, then you should stop reading right about now. However if you’re one that embraces technology, be it beneficial now or in the future, 2010 has to be one of the best years in CPU technology in a long time. AMD and Intel have both introduced six core CPUs and both of them have been met with some excitement, rightfully so because six cores are really better than four.
No surprises then that AMD has brought out their first six core part, following several months after AMD introduced the Magny Cours (Istanbul) 12 core server CPU. This CPU internally was made up of two six core dies, and as such it would have been a painless process to produce a CPU with just a single six core die. AMD has done exactly that and what we end up with is half a Magny Cours CPU or, as we like to refer to it, the best thing to come out of AMD in recent history.
While it is true that not many programs right now are able to take advantage of more than four threads at any given time, it’s good to have them for those programs that are multi threaded which are increasingly becoming more common.
Before we take a look at the CPU itself and its performance, it is worth noting that this CPU was manufactured at Globalfoundries, which is going to be AMD’s primary manufacturing facility for both CPUs and GPUs going forward. The new Thuban core may still be manufactured on the older 45nm node, however several improvements have been made to the manufacturing process and proof of this is how, despite having two additional cores, the total TDP has remained the same at 125Watts. Highly impressive given that the previous Deneb based Phenom II X 965 (C2) had a TDP of 140Watts (later 125Watts with the C3 stepping) with around 200 million fewer gates. It may be hard to believe but it is true, and proof of that is also in how much cooler the Phenom II X6 is when compared to the previous black edition quad core CPU.
The additional transistor count in the X6 CPU seems to have come mostly from the two additional cores, while some other logic was required to enable the Turbo Core feature of the new CPU, this logic was already present in the X4 Deneb based CPUs but turned off for a number of reasons. This feature has thankfully been enabled and with that obviously improved performance.
How Turbo Core works (much like Intel’s Turbo technology) is the CPU is able to increase clock speeds dynamically depending on load and on the 1090T, specifically the clock speed can increase by anything up to 500MHz. This increase in clock speed is directly related to how much load is on the CPU and how many threads are engaged. So, that is if anything less than four cores are being utilized you can experience a significant speed increase, and this holds true for most programs. What is worth...