Power, Overclocking, and ConclusionPower Consumption
AMD and Intel have aggressive power saving functionality with their chips, and that is very much on show here. Idle power was taken at the wall, so the entire computer (sans monitor) was measured. This takes into account the motherboard, memory, video card, and processor (plus any assorted fans in the case).
There is not a huge difference at idle, and once we figure in the difference in the motherboard they are all in the same general area. Once things get under load, then it changes pretty dramatically. Remember, the i7 860 is a 95 watt part as compared to the X6 1100T and its 125 watt TDP. So, Intel is getting a lot better performance per watt than AMD at this time. It isn’t a huge win for Intel, but it is still significant.
AMD has not done a whole lot in terms of overclocking with this release. The latest Athlon II X3 can run upwards of 3.8 GHz with some work, but that’s about it. The X2 565 can hit 4.1 GHz with very few problems with only two cores running. The X6 1100T again matches the previous 1090T by being able to get between 4 GHz and 4.1 GHz with very few problems.
Note that not all four cores cooperated with my unlocking endeavor. The X2 565 only turned into a X3 765, which still is pretty nifty. Not all unlocks and overclocks will be identical to this, some will be unable to unlock the two extra cores, while others will unlock all four.
I was able to unlock one of the extra cores on the X2 565, but I was unable to get the fourth core to work. The previous X2 560 sample I have was able to unlock all four cores. Overclocking those extra cores can be very frustrating, and I was able to get to 3.7 GHz with 1.5 volts. But that was it.
AMD will likely not improve the overclocking performance of their chips until 32 nm comes out next year, so we are stuck at the 4.0 GHz to 4.2 GHz for most Black Edition parts with good cooling for some months to come.
What all can we say? AMD released some new processors, and they are an interesting mix of decreasing prices, increasing prices, and staying the same. The cost of a high end processor from AMD has gone down pretty significantly, and users who want to play the part of a gambler can buy the X2 565 for a slightly higher price than the previous iteration. The Athlon II X3 is the only processor here that fits AMD’s previous moves in the budget and midrange level.
The X6 1100T is a really good processor for the price. The Turbo Core clock increase allows it to accelerate lightly threaded applications as compared to older dual/triple/quad cores. Having 6 full cores helps tremendously in heavily threaded applications which can leverage the power of those 6 cores. We are at the point where processor performance for even single threaded applications is not holding users back to any significant degree, so nearly any CPU will be good for desktop applications and internet browsing. Once we get into heavy gaming, transcoding, graphics work, and rendering do we see the need for high end processors.
Squint real hard and note the manufacturing dates on these puppies. What a difference 10 to 12 weeks make.
Each processor fills a niche, and keeps AMD relevant among users and OEMs. Consider that a user can get an AMD X6 1100T for $265, and a high end motherboard for between $179 and $299. This will make a tremendous gaming machine, not to mention a pretty hefty workstation that will match what was available a year ago for a fraction of the price.
We as users have become pretty spoiled by the never-ending stream of upgrades that add to our productivity and our quality of relaxation. Music, movies, games, and countless other escapes are further brought to life by improvements in the silicon world. Today has shown us an improvement. It may not be a great one, but an improvement nonetheless. AMD is keeping power users entertained with value priced products that fit within an infrastructure which includes the 890FX chipset and the recently released HD 6800 series of cards. All in time for the holiday season to boot.