AMD's December 2010 CPU Update: Phenom II X6 1100T Comes Calling
AMD Trio Continued
The next release is the Athlon II X3 455. This is the “Rana” triple core, which is based on a four core design with one of the cores disabled. It is a 95 watt TDP part, and runs at a quick 3.3 GHz. This features the standard 512 KB of L2 cache per core, with no shared L3 cache between the cores. There is not much else different about this part, other than a slightly more mature process allowing a nice mix of yields and speed bins. This product will replace the earlier top end X3, and will take over that price segment. It will be offered at $87 and the rest of the family will be pushed down in price. It is interesting to see that there are about 4 speed grades in Athlon II X3 that compete in a very compressed range in terms of price.
For the X6 1100T, 3300 MHz is nothing to sneeze at. Add in the Turbo Core speed of 3700 MHz, and we are humming through the cycles. Note the lower core voltage on this particular sample.
The final member of the trio is the Phenom II X2 565. This little number is clocked at 3.4 GHz, which is the same speed as the Phenom II X4 965. This is quite shocking, considering that both processors have a model number which ends in “65”. It is a dual core processor derived from a quad core part. This means that there are two disabled cores on the processor. It has a large 6 MB L3 cache that is shared between the two cores. The Phenom II X2 parts have so far been very popular with budget enthusiasts, as well as budget gamers who get a significant performance improvement from the Phenom II line due to the shared L3 cache. The release of this product is slightly different from the other two in that it is not being introduced at the price of the previous top end Phenom II X2. Instead, we are seeing it released at a slightly higher price, and the current Phenom II X2s stay the same.
The Phenom II X2 565 is still an 80 watt TDP part, but expectations of how well it will overclock should not be raised significantly. The previous X2 560 could hit 4.1 GHz to 4.2 GHz with very little effort and this new processor certainly will not blow that record away. The Phenom II X2 565 is another Black Edition part, so it can be easily overclocked by adjusting the multiplier for the processor cores.
AMD will not have out any really new and exciting parts until GLOBALFOUNDRIES 32 nm process is completely ramped up. So until that point, we might have another speed bump or two between now and the release of Llano and Bulldozer. One thing to consider is that all of the AM3 CPUs are designed to run in AM3+ motherboards. Unfortunately for users, it appears as though the upcoming AM3+ processors will NOT work in current AM3 motherboards.
One of these guys is not like the others? Well, yeah. The Athlon II X3 455 is the odd one out of the bunch, but not by much. This is a good productivity and gaming chip wrapped into a $87 package. Plus it has some legroom for those eager to test its upper limits.
Again, there are no major changes in these processors compared to what we have seen for the past two years. The architecture powering them is essentially identical to all the other parts on 45 nm that AMD has released before.
For a change I was able to lay hands on the Intel i7 860. While that particular processor is no longer available via retail, it is very close in performance to the i7 870. That particular product sells for $279, which is $14 more expensive than the X6 1100T. I also used the Phenom II X6 1090T as a baseline comparison for the new processors on the AMD side.
I used the Asus Crosshair IV Extreme, which features the Lucid Logix Hydra chip and is a fully packed motherboard. On the Intel side I have a preproduction version of the P7P55D EVO. This is a fairly tricked out board, but not nearly on the level as the Crosshair IV Extreme. When looking at the AMD wattage numbers, keep in mind that the board is likely pulling a good 10 watts more as compared to the Intel board.
Finally the "small daddy" of them all. The Phenom II X2 565 is the fastest dual core processor has released, and it could hold extra surprises for those willing to take the chance.
Something to keep in mind as well about both the X6 1100T and the i7 860 are the turbo modes. While the i7 860 is clocked at 2.8 GHz, it spends the majority of its time at 3.1 GHz to 3.4 GHz, depending on the load. The 1100T is stock clocked at 3.3 GHz and can go up to 3.7 GHz on lightly threaded loads (taking up 3 or less cores).
The AMD processors and the Intel i7 860 both utilized DDR-3 memory running at 1333 MHz and 220.127.116.11 latencies at 1.65 volts. That is the maximum official speed of the Intel products, and it is also in reality the highest speed needed for the AMD parts. Users can select DDR-3 speeds up to 1600 MHz via a setting in the BIOS, and higher numbers still with overclocking, but without increasing the clockspeed of the northbridge/memory controller on the AMD processor, the performance boost of running at higher speeds just simply is not there.
AMD HD 5870 Video Card
Corsair TX 750W Power Supply
OCZ 2 x 2GB DDR-3 1600 Platinum Edition DIMMS
WD 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6G Hard Drive
Lite-On 4X Blu-ray Drive
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit Edition
Catalyst 10.10e Drivers