Performance Summary and Final Thoughts
Performance Summary: When comparing the new Athlon X2 BE-2350 to the similar Athlon X2 64 4000+ and Athlon X2 64 3800+, virtually all of the benchmark results fall within expected ranges. Power consumption and thermal testing, however, did show a significant decrease compared to both 65w processors. In actual performance, the Athlon X2 BE-2350 and Athlon 64 X2 4000+ were very close with only WorldBench 5's Office XP SP-2 test recording any major difference. We also recorded a slight latency increase with respect to Memory, which may have influenced the results in the Office XP SP-2 test. As whole, however, the performance was on par with similarly equipped "Brisbane" processors while reducing power consumption and temperature under load nearly 20%
In AMD's quest to reduce power consumption, they seem to have hit a good balance with the Athlon X2 BE-23xx series processor line. It surely would have been more impressive if they were able to maintain the 35w TDP of the older "Windsor" Athlon 64 X2 3800+, but as whole, the "BE" models do a nice job of improving power consumption efficiency while maintaining the same performance, clock for clock, as comparable Athlon X2 models. With the Athlon X2 BE-2350 tagged with an MSRP of $91 and the BE-2300 weighing in at $86, these chips certainly offer decent bang for the buck.
At the moment, Intel doesn't appear to have a direct competitor to the BE-Series in regard to power consumption, although the new 65nm Pentium E2140 Dual-Core chip does consume much less power than higher-clock Conroe-based processors. What the future holds is unclear, but at the moment, the BE series Athlon X2s do look to be some of the most energy efficient processors available. While they are targeted at the mainstream market, we think these chips also offer the enthusiast a bit as well. With the BE-2350 having the strong potential to overclock to 2.5GHz, this brings the performance level up to an Athlon 64 X2 4800+ which sells for $38 more and may even reach 5200+ speeds, which sells for nearly $170. So while the processor does appeal to more to basic workstation and small form factor uses, enthusiasts may find themselves a low cost gem in the BE series.
As we all become more aware of power consumption and efficiency, it's good to see that a number of major manufacturers are making efforts to do their part. In actuality, AMD seemed to sign on a bit faster than others and appear to be making a concerted effort to reduce power consumption on a broad scale with their processors and core logic chipsets. We look forward to see how these processor evolve.