AMD Phenom II X6 1075T review

Is this the six-core CPU the world has been waiting for?

AMD Phenom II X6 1075T
Is this six-core processor AMD the king of reasonably priced parallel processing?

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In technological terms, there's nothing new about the AMD Phenom II X6 1075T. It's based on precisely the same 45nm Thuban core as previous Phenom II X6 processors.

But don't go thinking that makes it altogether ancient. The Thuban core came out in April. Currently, and is as good as it gets from AMD. That means a monolithic six-core chip with 512k cache per core and a 6MB L3 shared cache pool. In 1075T trim, it clocks in at 3.0GHz as standard and with a maximum theoretical speed of 3.5GHz thanks to AMD's Turbo Core technology.

In other words, Thuban packs an impressive combination of clockspeed and core count. The only snag is that the cores themselves are based on AMD's positively pensionable Hammer architecture from around 2003. Chips based on AMD's all new Bulldozer architecture won't appear until late next year.

In the mean time, the Phenom II X6 1075T still makes a strong argument for itself when it comes to multi-threaded applications. The cores might be old. But when there's six of them the result is plenty of parallelised punch. The 1075T is typically much quicker than Intel's Core i5 760 and AMD's top quad, the Phenom II X4 970, in highly threaded applications such as media encoding and image rendering.

That said, the quad-core Core i7 860 has its measure thanks in part to Intel's clever HyperThreading. Games, of course, don't tend to scale terribly well across multiple cores. Predictably, therefore, in a CPU-intensive title such as World in Conflict, the 1075T is slower than both the Intel Core i5 760 and AMD's own Phenom II X4 970.

In the overclocking stakes, the 1075T performs well. 3.9GHz isn't far off the 4.1GHz we achieved with our unlocked 1090T chip.

We liked

Six cores and 3GHz is impressive at any price. For under £200 it makes for a very good deal indeed. In fact, the new Phenom II X6 1075T is probably the best sub-£200 chip on the market when it comes to highly threaded apps. It also overclocks well for a six-core CPU.

We disliked

AMD's Hammer architecture is getting on. There's no hiding that, no matter how many cores AMD throws at the problem. Consequently, any application that relies heavily on the performance of individual cores, including games, tends to suffer. Also worth noting that the unlocked 1090T chip is only slightly pricier.

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