AMD Athlon X2 BE-2350 and BE-2300 "Brisbane" Processors - HotHardware

AMD Athlon X2 BE-2350 and BE-2300 "Brisbane" Processors

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Although they're hard at work on Barcelona and plan to release a new high-end, native quad-core CPU in the coming months, AMD has turned a good part of their attention to a different segment of the market, the low power segment.  Back in August of 2006, AMD released several low power CPUs that aimed to balance performance and power consumption.  One was the 'Windsor' based Athlon 64 X2 4600+ with a TDP of 65w and the other was the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ which had a low TDP of 35w.  While the processors were impressive from an efficiency standpoint, AMD struggled to keep up with demand and also offered the models at premium price points.  In February of 2007, AMD changed their approach somewhat, introducing its "Brisbane" core.  The new 65nm Athlon 64 X2 processor came in a smaller package and dropped maximum power requirements from 89w with the "Windsor" cores to 65w with "Brisbane".  Furthermore, the more power efficient processors were released in mass quantities, with no additions to the price structure.

Today brings us to the next step of AMD's low power strategy, with the release of AMD's 65nm Athlon X2 BE-2350 and BE-2300 processors.  These 'Brisbane' based models sport a maximum power rating of 45w and weigh in below $100, making for a cost effective processor that is cheap to buy and cheap to run.  The cores of these new processors are still 'Brisbane' based, so there isn't a lot new here to go over as far as their architectural characteristics go.  However, as you can see, AMD did find it the right time to introduce a new numbering scheme in an effort to more accurately represent a processor's features and performance.  

Specifications of the 65nm AMD Athlon X2 BE-2350 and BE-2300
"Brisbane"

Processor:
AMD Athlon™ X2 dual core processor BE-2350
AMD Athlon™ X2 dual core processor BE-2300
OPN:
AH2350IAA5DD

AH2300IAA5DD

CPU Core Count:
2

Operating Frequency:
BE-2350:  2.1GHz

BE-2300:  1.9GHz

L1 Cache Size:
64K - L1 instruction + 64K - L1 data cache per-core (256KB total L1)

L2 Cache Size:
512KB L2 data cache per-core (1MB total dedicated L2 cache)

Manufactured:
Fab 30 and 36 / Dresden, Germany

Process Technology:
65-nanometer DSL SOI (silicon-on-insulator) technology

Packaging:
Socket AM2 (940-pin organic micro PGA)

HyperTransport Spec:
One 16-bit/16-bit link @ 2.0GHz (1GHz DDR) full duplex (up to 8.0 GB/sec bandwidth)

Memory Controller:
One integrated 128-bit dual-channel memory controller (up to 12.8GB/sec bandwidth)

Supported Memory Speeds:
DDR2 memory up to and including PC2 6400 (DDR2-800) unbuffered

Total Processor bandwidth:
Up to 20.8 GB/sec

Approximate Transistor count:
221 million

Approximate Die Size:
118 mm2

Nominal Voltage:
1.15- 1.20 V

Max Thermal Power:
45W

Max Ambient Case Temp:
61o Celsius to 78o Celsius

Max Processor Current:
36.5 A

Min P-State  (power management):
-1.0 GHz
-Nominal Voltage @ min P-state:  1.10 V
-Max Thermal Power @ min P-state:  27.7 W
-Max Current @ min P-state:  22.5A


Processor Number Methodology

Along with the new low power processors comes a newly revamped numbering methodology.  As technology has advanced and the market has changed over the years, AMD felt now was the time to introduce a numbering system that is more reflective of their processors' characteristics.

The new numbering methodology is still in its infancy, with AMD cutting their teeth with the new BE-2350 and BE-2300.  At this stage of the game, "BE" is the only classification, with the first letter signifying the processor class and the second identifying the TDP, which in this case is 45w.  So with this new line up, the "BE" is an indicator that the processor is a member of the sub-65 Watt processor class.  The four digit numbering thereafter represent the processor's relative position within its family.  So, in this case the "2" indicates the chip is a member of the Athlon X2 family of processors and the "350" and "300" represent performance positions relative to others in its family, with the higher number representing higher performance.  The numbers are arbitrary, but AMD hopes they'll provide a clear picture of where a processor's performance should fall relevant to other chips in its family.

It may take a while to get a handle on the new numbering scheme, but as new chips become available, it should help consumers to differentiate the characteristics more clearly as new products are produced.  One last change AMD has thrown in as well is the dropping of "64" from the naming altogether.  This makes perfect sense since all of AMD's processors are 64-bit capable, and labeling it a 64-bit chip is a bit redundant. 

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