Faster Core i3, Athlon II X4 may launch next quarter

— 6:00 AM on February 17, 2010

We've only just finished writing about the latest AMD Athlon II and Intel Core i3 processors, yet already, their successors look to be on the horizon. Fudzilla has posted details of an upcoming Core i3-550 and a faster Athlon II X4, both of which it says are primed for launches in the second quarter.

Starting on the Intel side, the Core i3-550 will reportedly run at 3.2GHz and supplant the existing, 3.06GHz Core i3-540. Once the new processor arrives, Fudzilla expects the Core i3-540 will in turn push the older Core 2 Duo E7600 out of Intel's "essential ES2" product lineup. Perhaps we'll see the i3-540 and i3-530 drop to lower pricing tiers, as well, although the report doesn't say for sure.

On the AMD front, the second quarter will allegedly bring an Athlon II X4 640 clocked at 3GHz—100MHz speedier than the existing flagship. Other attributes should remain identical, including the 2MB of L2 cache, DDR3-1333 memory support, and AM3 package. Considering the Athlon II X4 635's recent arrival pushed the X4 630 to $99, we wouldn't be surprised to see this rumored X4 640 induce another round of price cuts to bring the X4 635 below 100 bucks.

Fudzilla adds that AMD will follow up with a 3.1GHz Athlon II X4 645 in the third quarter, and that should be the fastest quad-core Athlon II we see in 2010. After that, perhaps Llano will take over as AMD's budget quad-core offering.

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