Cheap Athlons, 740 chipset to fight Atom in desktops

— 10:54 AM on September 10, 2008

We've learned much about AMD's low-cost PC strategy these past few days. A leaked roadmap gave us a glimpse at a pair of "Ultra-Value Client" Athlon processors last week, then a couple of days later, DigiTimes reported that those CPUs would soon hit Acer, Asus, and Shuttle systems.

Now, Chile Hardware has posted a couple of new slides that shed even more light on the subject. The slides mention the same Athlon X2 3250e and Athlon 2650e chips we already heard about, and they quote the same specs: 1.5GHz and a 22W TDP for the former, 1.6GHz and 15W for the latter. To that information, they add two new tidbits: cache sizes will be 1MB and 512KB, respectively, and AMD will pair both CPUs with its low-end 740 chipset.

The 740G already exists, and it's a lot less stripped-down than the Intel 945GC that powers desktop Atom systems. AMD outfits the 740G with Radeon 2100 graphics, DVI and DisplayPort support, PCI Express, RAID capabilities, and accommodation for plenty of USB and Serial ATA devices. Couple that with a proper, out-of-order CPU, and AMD could outrun Atom platforms from both the processing and graphics standpoints.

That said, Intel offers an all-in-one Mini-ITX motherboard and Atom CPU bundle for just $70, whereas the cheapest 740G mobo on Newegg today costs around $50. To really give Intel a run for its money, AMD might need some even cheaper 740G mobos with Mini-ITX form factors, and it may have to price the Athlon 2650e in the $30-40 range. Feasible? Probably so: the cheapest single-core Athlon at Newegg costs only $24.99 right now. (Thanks to TR reader Phil for the link.)

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