Raster Graphics Processing
This group of tests boasts some multi-threading optimization. It helps the Intel processors result in what resembles a set of stairs, while Phenom II X6 outperforms its quad-core neighbors.
Vector Graphics Processing
The Intel CPU results are messed up a little, because benchmarks in this group of tests (and many other programs) require only two threads. Only Turbo Core can help AMD in this case, but all their processors can't even catch up with the top Pentium.
Here multiple cores are important but certainly not the only key to success. Today Phenom II X4 955 and 960T beat Intel's dual-thread dual-cores, and the hexacore 1075T outperforms the four threads of the Core i3. Two years ago you needed a Core i7 to beat the Phenom II X6 CPUs, and AMD's quad-cores were equal to the top Core i5 processors.
Most of these benchmarks are single-threaded, and it shows. You should choose the CPU wisely, bearing in mind the tasks it'll be used for. If many of the programs you use do not require multiple cores, maybe you shouldn't bother.
In this specific group of tests AMD's old-timers still perform nicely, though the triumph of the middle-range hexacore over the low-range quad-core doesn't look that impressive, as doesn't the victory of Phenom II quad-cores over Core i3 at most.
Today, with a good GPU, games can utilize four threads. Nevertheless, the fast dual-thread Intel Pentium G2120 can run on a par with the slower AMD's quad-thread CPUs (not in all gaming tests though). As for the progress in the Intel lineup, it again proves that four physical cores are better than two in games, even if the two are armed with HT.
In fact, this group of tests just emulates a multi-threading application. The low-range quad-core Phenom II are 25% faster than the dual-core Pentiums and equal to the Core i3 CPUs. The middle-range hexacore Phenom II X6 1075T outperforms the lower-end quad-core Ivy Bridge Core i5. As you see, the new Intel cores prove to be really efficient.
Overall Score and Final Thoughts
AMD Phenom II X4 955 performs similarly to Intel Pentium G2120 but consumes more power. As a result, paying $100 for it would be too much. However, after another price cut, AMD Phenom II X4 955 finds itself in the below $100 segment, turning into a really good choice, able to compete with even Core i3 in thread-hungry tasks. AMD Phenom II X4 955 and 965 are also an excellent "hundred-buck" upgrade for an AMD fan with an old Athlon II rig.
However, the price cut doesn't affect other AMD Phenom II X4 and X6 processors. But don't worry, you can reach the same performance simply by buying a Black Edition AMD processor and unlocking the cores. Even if you fail to unlock, you'll still have a CPU performing similarly to Phenom II X4 955. Just remember that you'll do unlocking at your own risk and we bear no responsibility for consequences.
Speaking of Intel processors, if your tasks require one or two threads, Pentium is your choice. In these conditions it can compete with Core i3/low-range Core i5 processors and beats the Phenom II old-timers in a romp.
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