Six Cores For Work
Games are always fun, but the deciding factor for many users will be how the 1090T holds up against Intel's 980X when play time is over. As expected, the 980X was the clear victor across the board. That being said, AMD's 1090T put up a strong fight. Our Photoshop test pits our testbeds against an array of high resolution images, challenging them to churn through a series of editing tasks. The 980X was 31.7% faster than the 1090T. Media encoding fared a bit better: the 980X was 15.3% faster at our Roxio VideoWave editing task, and only 5.52% percent faster at encoding a test film clip using Windows Media Encoder.
While AMD has historically been the power-conscious alternative, things are a bit different at the six-core level. The 1090T is a 125W TDP processor, similar to the quad-core part it succeeds. But while the 980X reports a TDP of 135W, it's been shrunk down to the 32nm process, which offers tangible power savings. When idle, our 1090T testbed drew 85.2 watts of power, as compared to the 980X's 95.3 watts. At peak levels, the roles were reversed: the 1090T drew 230 watts, as compared to the 980X's 210 watts. For comparison, Intel's quad-core 45nm Core i7-975 Extreme Edition processor drew 231 watts.
The Final Verdict
The Core i7-980X is the clear performance winner, boasting improved performance while even offering 12.1% less power consumption. But let's be honest here: $1000 for a single component shoves it well out of the realm of most, to say nothing of additional upgrade costs should your sockets fail to match. And while price generally isn't a factor in our reviews, we'd be hard pressed to skirt around the obvious: the 1090T can be had for $300. That leaves you with $700 to outfit the rest of your system, before even reaching the cost of Intel's chip.
If money is no object, or you're unwilling to scrimp on your top-tier workstation, Intel's six-core processor remains king of the hill. But as far as cost-effective performance is concerned, AMD's Phenom II X6 1090T is a tantalizing prospect, that brings multithreaded potential down to the masses..