Manufacturer:AMD UK price (as reviewed): TBC US price (as reviewed): $265 (MSRP)
We’ve seen a number of AMD processor revisions over the last few months, with each taking a current processor, giving it a slight speed bump and affixing a shiny new name. Invariably these have been positive moves by AMD, as they have made efforts to keep the pricing of the new processors similar to the chips they replace or supersede. This essentially means customers are getting more performance for the same amount of cash.
Unfortunately, this is only half of the story, as these AMD processor revisions are being released against a backdrop of Intel domination. AMD’s aging K10 architecture, clock for clock, simply can’t compete with Intel’s current range of Core i3, i5 and i7 CPUs. It’s with a degree of trepidation, then, that we take a look at AMD’s new flagship Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition CPU.
As our more canny readers may be able to tell, the 1100T BE is a revision of the Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition, meaning the 1100T is a 6-core chip based on AMD’s Thuban design. This design is still rooted in the K10 architecture, but has a number of improvements over AMD’s previous CPUs, most notable of which is AMD’s Turbo Core technology.
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This technology is very similar to Intel’s Turbo Boost, as it allows the processor to dynamically overclock one or more of its cores depending on the current usage of the CPU. If only one core is being used, that core should see a significant boost to its speed.
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The 1100T BE doesn’t suffer from a lack of raw speed, though, as it’s clocked at a zippy 3.3GHz. With Turbo Core enabled AMD claims the 1100T BE should hit speeds of up to 3.7GHz in single-threaded applications. We saw the CPU attain these speeds when we loaded a single core with Prime95, though it only managed to hold the speed for about 15 seconds at a time. This is presumably because other background Windows applications demanded some CPU time, meaning more than one core was being used.
Our previous overclocking experiences with AMD’s 6-core chips have been pretty variable. Our look at the AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition showed the CPU to be a competent, rather than spectacular overclocker, reaching a final clock speed of 3.87GHz. We were hopeful of being able to push the 1100T BE a little further, as AMD’s Thuban die is now more mature, which hopefully means that there should be more overclocking headroom.
Thankfully, the 1100T BE didn’t disappoint, as we were able to push our test chip all the way up to an impressive 4.2GHz. This represents a healthy 900MHz overclock, which is significantly better than the 670MHz overclock that our 1090T BE managed.
To achieve this overclock we raised the HTT to 300MHz and set the CPU multiplier to 14x, but to keep these settings stable we had pump a beefy 1.512V through the CPU. We also raised the CPU/NB voltage to 1.35V and the HT voltage to 1.35V while supplying the Northbridge with 1.3V and the Southbridge with 1.2V.