AMD Phenom II X6 1055T £160
9th Sep 2010 | 12:14
Six cores for the price of four? Sounds too good to be true
AMD Phenom II X6 1055T: Overview
Remember when AMD launched its first quad-core processor in 2007? We can, because back then it seemed like AMD was months from keeling over stone dead. Today, the company is in much finer fettle. For proof, look no further than the new AMD Phenom II X6 1055T.
Somehow, AMD has managed to produce a six-core PC processor and sell it for just over £10 more than its best quad-core chip, the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition. It's actually cheaper than several Intel quads. Inspect the detail specifications and the Phenom II X6 1055T only gets more impressive.
The transistor count has grown from 758 million transistors to 904 million. And yet the smaller quad-core 965 is rated at 140 Watts while this new six-core 1055T is a 125 Watt chip. Of course, at 2.8GHz, the 1055T is clocked quite a bit lower than the 3.4GHz 965 BE. But AMD has clearly done something right.
AMD Phenom II X6 1055T: Verdict
It's been a long time coming. But AMD finally has something really interesting to offer in the performance PC processor market. The new Phenom II X6 1055T gives you six cores for the price of four. Hell, if you compare it to some of the latest Intel latest dual-core chips such as the Core i5 661, you're getting six for less than the price of two.
For the record, the 1055T also looks like great value next to AMD's flagship six-core processor, the Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition. The 1090T is clocked a little higher at 3.2GHz. But it's also around £70 more expensive.
There's a reason why AMD is punting a six-core CPU at such a bargain-basement price, of course. Core for core, Intel's processors are much more powerful. That's why the quad-core Intel Core i7 870is marginally faster for video encoding. But then it's much more expensive. The Intel Core i5 750 and Core i5 760 are much closer on price and neither can live with the Phenom II X6 1055T's multi-threaded throughput.
That said, it's a different story in games and file decompression. Those applications tend to benefit more from a smaller number of really powerful cores. Predictably, the 1055T can't keep up with Intel's cheaper quads, much less its pricier models that sell for £200 or more.
That's not a situation that changes when you factor in overclocking. Our 1055T sample will hit 3.65GHz with an air cooler, a respectable result given the stock 2.8GHz frequency. But Intel quads routinely breach the 4GHz barrier.
The Phenom II X6 1055T is one hell of a lot of chip for the money. Frankly, we've no idea how AMD can sell this near-one billion-transistor chip so cheaply. But no matter. What really counts is the huge amount of parallel processing power the 1055T's six cores deliver. It's got to be the most cost effective video encoding chip in the world.
The six-core 1055T is an awesome CPU. But it's not without its flaws. The main problem is the sheer age of AMD's underlying CPU architecture. AMD's cores are really getting on and it shows in the gaming and file decompression benchmarks.
Not the best gaming chip for the money, but still our favourite all rounder.
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