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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