I believe no one will deny that Stars (K10.5) microarchitecture used in contemporary AMD processors has become pretty obsolete and is inferior to Nehalem microarchitecture in many aspects. However, it doesn’t mean that AMD can’t roll out up-to-date solutions. And Phenom II X6 is a living proof of that. Of course, this six-core processor is no ultimate winner, but the manufacturer managed to adjust the existing microarchitecture in such a way that it made Phenom II X6 a very interesting product that will undoubtedly win numerous users’ hearts.
Compared with the previous generation Phenom II flagship CPUs, the six-core newcomer boasts several advantages. First, Phenom II X6 has 1.5 times more cores, which makes it much faster under multi-threaded load. Second, Phenom II X6 shows pretty acceptable power consumption level due to enhanced 45 nm process and lower nominal processor core voltage. Third, more cores didn’t harm the overclocking potential of the new processors and they can easily hit 4.0 GHz barrier. Fourth, Phenom II X6 features new Turbo CORE technology that increases the processor performance in case of poorly paralleled load.
But it is the pricing that makes Phenom II X6 truly attractive and AMD has lately become very successful in this respect. The official price of the new Phenom II X6 1090T is set at $300, while the junior Phenom II X6 1055T is priced at $200. It means that six-core AMD processors belong to the mainstream price range and are the only affordable multi-core processors out there. This factor will undoubtedly guarantee the popularity of these processors.
Especially, since our tests showed that six processor cores may be very helpful during work with video content, and that becomes an increasingly popular type of activity these days. However, there are other applications as well, where six Phenom II X6 cores may come in very handy. Six-core processors raised the performance bar for Socket AM3 systems so that now they can compete successfully against platforms based on top Core i5 processors with four cores. However, unfortunately, six-core Phenom II X6 CPUs turn out even slower than quad-core Core i7 processors supporting Hyper-Threading technology.
In conclusion I would like to stress that six cores are not always better than four. There is still quite a bit of software out there that is not optimized for multi-core architectures. And it means that there are quite a few tasks that work best on dual- and quad-core CPUs. Among them are contemporary games, of course. Therefore, if you are looking to build a gaming system, Phenom II X6 will be far not the best choice despite all its indisputable advantages.