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Hexa Core CPU AMD Phenom II X6 1100TLittle did we or, frankly, AMD know how good we had it with the Phenom II X6 1100T. Only now, with the release of AMD's all-new Bulldozer architecture and the FX processors it powers can we truly put what was once known as Hammer into full context.

This chip can trace its roots directly back to the very first Athlon 64 processor of 2003, aka the Hammer. Truth be known, there's been relatively little change to its execution cores since. Okay, the usual round of x86 instruction extension bolt-ons have been added. And the Hammer core ha transitioned from beefy 130nm transistors through to the positively puny 45nm spec enjoyed by Phenom II processors. But look deep inside any Phenom II processor and you'll find the beating heart of Hammer.

What's interesting is how the arrival of the all-new Bulldozer architecture has changed the views of six-core Phenom II X6 1100T. Late in 2010 when the 1100T tipped up, it felt like the last roll of the dice for an antiquated architecture that had outstayed its welcome. Even then, we'd been waiting for the new Bulldozer chips for that felt like years. It was hard to warm to the 1100T and its fuddy duddy Phenom II architecture.

Fast forward a year and we're wondering why AMD didn't just be done with it and chuck another couple of cores onto the 1100T. In the end, the benchmarks don't lie. And they tell several things. For starters, take both multi-threading and per-core performance into account and the 1100T pretty much annihilates the six-thread (six-core) version of the new AMD FX processor, otherwise known as the FX 6100.

Even more worrisome is that even the octo-threaded FX 8150 doesn't exactly blow the 1100T away. Okay, it's a bit quicker in the multi-threaded tests such as Cinebench and video encoding. But there's no doubting Hammer crushes Bulldozer when it comes to tests of per core grunt, including games. Then you look at the comparative complexity of the 1100T and the new Bulldozer FX chips and you wonder what the hell AMD has been playing at since 2003.

The Thuban core that powers the 1100T clocks in at 904 million transistors, while the FX 8150 and 6100 chips pack a staggering two billion transistors a pop. It's not hard to imagine an eight or even 10-core Phenom II processor that would be both smaller and cheaper to make at the same time as much faster across the board than any of the new FX CPUs

It's a thoroughly rum state of affairs. The 1100T offers a better overall performance balance than the new FX chips-it's not that far off when it comes to threading. But it also ponies up a little bit more per-core performance that could make the difference between smooth frames rates and the occasional chugging. It's a bizarre thing to be asking, but please, AMD, can you have another go with Hammer.

Price $234
Cores/threads 6/6
Clockspeed 3.3GHz (3.9GHz Turbo)
Cache memory 9MB
Socket AM3
Memory Dual-channel DDR3
Process technology 45nm
Multiplier Unlocked
Integrated Graphics None

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1 comments for this post

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