The Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition (I wish they would just call it “Boom” or something else short) is the fastest CPU ever released by AMD. At a non-turbo frequency of 3.3 GHz and scaling up to 3.7 GHz in single threaded loads, this is a screaming fast CPU but it also draws a bit more power than its predecessor. On a system level, adding an extra 5-10 W does not really make that much of a difference, especially since that number is hit (in direct comparison) only under full load, at which the 1100 does get the job done a bit faster than the previous versions. So, the net power delta over an average usage pattern may be almost a wash. By the end of the day, it is still a laudable move by AMD to release this new speed grade, especially since it makes its predecessors even more affordable.
On the other hand, there is a real need for AMD for a refresh. Bulldozer cannot be delayed much longer without AMD losing terrain again against Intel, the switches are already set with Sandy Bridge hitting the market within a few weeks from now. It is a tough world to be in as a CPU manufacturer. On the high end, Intel is dominating. At the low end, ARM is nibbling on everybody’s heels with the latest OMAP processors coming dangerously close to performance levels where they make sense in net-books and entry-level laptops. It is the red queen paradigm in its purest form all over: you have to run as fast as you can just to stay where you are – with respect to the market place and by extension, to keeping the company going and the X6 1100T BE is only a band aid in this scenario, as much as we like it.
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