Final Words & Conclusion
Final Words & conclusion
AMD always manages to impress with products that offer great value for money. The processors we've tested today each offer that within their target categories.
The Athlon II X4 645 - Generic desktop usage, HTPCs, mainstream gaming rig... these are the keywords that come to mind when I think about the Athlon II X4 645 processor. With its four CPU cores it really offers enough performance to do all the common work. It however misses a little extra bite due to the lack of L3 cache which ironically shows in game performance really well. But at this price level it's just a truckload of performance. The processor can also be an uber-cheap transcoding processor at 30 USD per core. True value right there in your pocket, but you might miss the lacking cache if you are a performance oriented end-user. We do have to admit though that this processor combined with the new 3.1 GHz clock frequency definitely surprised us in a very good way, it competes with the lower segment Phenom II X4 processors really well.
The Phenom II X6 1075T - If you are the kind of guy that that likes a spicy PC, plays the occasional game, yet has a strong focus on compute performance, content creation and multi-media transcoding etc. then nothing available in the market to date can do what the X6 processors manage for this kind of money. The Phenom II X6 processor series just loves to create, edit, render, encode/decode applications on your PC and oozes with value with the six embedded CPU cores. The downside however will always be the fact that a lot of software applications mostly have 2 to 4 way threading. For example, there's barely a game on this planet that supports six cores, much like most Windows applications. But the apps that do support it haul ass in performance as instantly your system gets into 6th gear. In the long term though, this might be a wise investment, as over time more and more apps will get broad multi-core / multi-thread support. The new 1075T processor sits right in-between the 1055T and 1090T. It is not a BE edition though, so ease of overclocking will not be its thing. But the baseline performance is just very recommendable. Tagged at an MSRP of 245 USD (and thus cheaper in stores) this processor is what it is, true value whilst offering an excellent overall PC experience. And sure, core for core, this processor will without doubt be slower than Intel's offering, but remember this, if you take the cheapest Intel six-core Core i7 970 3.2 GHz processor you pay 899 USD, with the 980X costing a full G. Even if the 1075T is a third to half slower than that processor, it's still nearly four times cheaper... and unless you continuously render, compute or transcode... the performance difference remains trivial to spot. It's simply a great deal for a lot of compute power.
The Phenom II X4 970 BE - This processor falls in the top segment of AMD's Quad Core processors. This Black Edition CPU is once again unlocked, and allows for much easier and convenient overclocking. But its baseline performance is already pretty darn nice. See, the processor is clocked at 3.5 GHz and that does make a difference compared to a year ago where 3.0 GHz was the norm for AMD's latest and greatest. If you are more of a gamer rather then a movie transcoding aficionado, I'd recommend this four core processor over the six-core version. A good thing is that despite the high clock base clock frequency the TDP remains acceptable (but not low). Core for core this processor simply offers a little more bite thanks to the higher 3.5 GHz clock frequency on all cores, especially in games that like more per-core performance over multi-core performance. Most games still are optimized for 2 to four cores, and if two out of four cores are clocked half a GHz faster then the two out of six cores of the 1075T we just tested, well you can do the math.
For the money you get a lot of compute performance alright, the Phenom II X4 970 BE is priced at 185 USD, which again is a MSRP and thus prices in stores within weeks will be lower. Of course, for 149 USD nobody will stop you picking up an X4 955 BE and simply increasing the multiplier a little to get the very same baseline performance. But that's the simplicity and scalability that AMD offers you.
Overall AMD is doing exactly what it's good at, offering value products. Slowly but steadily we feel changes are needed though. We'll be very interested to see AMD's next generation APU processors, a lot is happening right now in the processor industry for both AMD and Intel's Sandy Bridge. In the coming year and years to come CPUs will be merged with GPUs, hopefully offering you even more value for money. For the next generation we do hope to see some sort of hyper-threading for AMD's processors and an improved, preferably triple or quad channel memory controller. Think outside the box with new features, it's the only way for AMD to get ahead of Intel.
But when it comes to your hard earned money, you can't beat the processors tested today though and as such they are a pleasure to have inside any modern PC.