Introduction and Specifications
AMD is using the prominence of the Computex show in Taipei to unveil a slew of new, affordable desktop processors. A few of them are based on the existing core employed within their Phenom II processor line-up, but one of them is comprised of a new piece of silicon that pays homage to the once mighty Athlon brand.
We've got four new AMD processors on tap for this article, low power quad- and triple-cores, and a pair of new dual-cores. The 3.1GHz AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition is positioned as AMD's fastest dual-core processor ever, while the Phenom II X3 705e is a low-power triple-core CPU. The Phenom II X4 905e is a low-power 65w quad-core, and the brand new Athlon II X2 250 is AMD's latest high-performance, budget-class dual-core processor.
All of these processors share some similarities, of course, but each one is positioned for a somewhat different market segment. Take a look at the specifications and features below, and then we'll move on to the juicy details...
AMD Athlon II and Phenom II Processors
All of the Phenom II processors launching today are based on the same core, which is the one used in the current generation of Phenom II processors. As such, they all share the same platform specifics and base feature set, and differ only in their clock speeds, and core and cache allotments. We've covered the details of AMD's Phenom and Phenom II processors and supporting chipsets a number of times in the past, so we won't do the same again here. We would, however, recommend taking a look at a few of our previous articles if you'd like a refresher on all of the pertinent details regarding the Phenom II. Here is a list of of recommended reading:
The Enter the Dragon: AMD Phenom II X4 940 article listed above talks about the changes brought forth by AMD's 45nm Phenom II processors. And the various 7-series chipset, Phenom processor, and Spider / Dragon platform related articles cover the remainder of the platform specifics.
The Athlon II X2 processor series is a somewhat new animal, though. It is based on a new 45nm, native dual-core design that supports faster HT link speeds than current Athlon X2s, it is compatible with DDR2 or DDR3 system memory, and socket AM2+ or socket AM3 motherboards. As you can see in the specs above, the Athlon II X2 is comprised of roughly 234M transistors and has a die size of only 117.5mm2--less than half the size of a Phenom II. It's small die should made the Athlon II very economical for AMD to produce, and incedentally, inexpensive to purchase.