AMD intros a wave of faster CPUs to face Clarkdale

— 11:01 PM on January 24, 2010

AMD wasn't just going to sit there and take it on the chin after Intel let loose all those 32-nm Core i3 and i5 processors earlier this month. The underdog has now begun its counterattack, charging at Intel's latest troops with a small platoon of new Athlon II and Phenom II processors.

These new recruits raise the maximum clock speeds of the Athlon II, Phenom II X2, and low-power Phenom II X4 families by 100MHz without pushing prices upward. See for yourself:

Processor Cores Speed L2 cache L3 cache TDP Price
Phenom II X4 910e 4 2.6 GHz 2 MB 6 MB 65 W $169
Phenom II X2 555 BE 2 3.2 GHz 1 MB 6 MB 80 W $99
Athlon II X4 635 4 2.9 GHz 2 MB - 95 W $119
Athlon II X3 440 3 3.0 GHz 1.5 MB - 95 W $84
Athlon II X2 255 2 3.1 GHz 2 MB - 65 W $74

The 2.9GHz Athlon II X4 635 supplants the 2.8GHz Athlon II X4 630 at around $120, the triple-core Athlon II X3 440 does the same to the Athlon II X3 435, and so forth in that fashion. AMD says the X4 635's arrival has also pushed the X4 630 to $99, which means users will actually enjoy a 200MHz speed boost at that price point. (AMD's previous $99 quad-core chip, the X4 620, ran at just 2.6GHz.) We'll presumably see similar ripple effects in the Athlon II X3 and Athlon II X2 lineups.

Also, even though dual-core Phenom IIs disappeared from AMD's official price list a little while ago, today's launch brings us the Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition. That processor is built out of new, C3-revision silicon that "has hardware C1E and may overclock somewhat better than previous silicon," AMD tells us. Even at the stock settings, the X2 555 looks to be AMD's fastest dual-core offering ever—you'll just have to decide whether to spend those 99 bucks on a dual-core Phenom II or a quad-core Athlon II.

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