A new AMD processor hits the streets
AMD is releasing a pair of new 45 watt processors today aimed at the lower power, low heat and low noise markets. That could be business, HTPC or anything else you might imagine up.
AMD has been having a tough run at the processor business as of late thanks to their friends at Intel. Where once the Athlon line of CPUs was the dominant one in terms of performance leaving the Pentium 4 in the dust, with the Core 2 Duo line of processors from Intel, those positions are now reversed.
Price cut after price cut, AMD has tried to stay competitive by trying to match or beat Intel’s price/performance rates. Unfortunately this has left AMD without any higher priced processors, cutting their revenues dramatically. AMD is hoping that there is one area that they can creep into that Intel has not yet put their death grip: low power desktop and HTPC systems.
The AMD Athlon X2 BE-2350 Processor
AMD’s hope lies in a couple of new processors being announced today: the X2 BE-2350 and the X2 BE-2300. Both of these new processors fall into a new 45 watt power envelope making them a great option for low power and low noise applications. And unlike the previous low power processors that AMD might have released, they plan on having enough production power with these to make them widely available.
Also with this processor release is the first use of their new processor naming scheme. Let’s lay it out here:
- “BE” – first and second alpha characters indicate the processor class with the second character indicating the TDP (power) of the processor. In this case, “E” indicates a sub-65 watt CPU.
- “2” – the first numeric digit indicates the processor series; “2XXX” is currently contains in the Athlon X2 family of processors.
- “350” – the three remaining digits indicate the processors relative position compared to others in their processor class. So you’ll know that a BE-2500 is faster than a BE-2400, but not exactly how or why.
Model number aside, I know we really want to know the actual processor specifications and how it lines up with other Athlon X2 processors we have seen.
- 2.1 GHz
- 128KB L1 cache per core
- 512KB L2 cache per core
- 221 million transistors
- 118 mm2 die size
- Max thermal power 45 watts
- Max thermal power at min-state 27.7 watts
The other unit being announced today has the same physical characteristics but runs at 1.9 GHz. Both of these CPUs appear to be somewhat underpowered compared to other Athlons we have tested recently, such as the X2 5200+ that runs at 2.6 GHz; but the power properties of the new units are the features that stand out.
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Oh, and did I mention the prices on these CPUs? The AMD set pricing for the BE-2350 is $91 and the BE-2300 will run you five bucks less. For that kind of money you should be able to build yourself a fantastic budget HTPC.