AMD intros six new Athlon IIs, but no Phenom II X4 960T


— 11:01 PM on May 10, 2010

Not long after the introduction of its Phenom II X6 six-core processors, AMD has decided to freshen up its lower-end Athlon II lineup with a series of speed increases today. This total lineup refresh is similar to incremental steps forward AMD has taken in the past. The top product of each type gets a very minor 100MHz bump in clock frequency, and that new model steps into the highest existing price point. To make room, the remaining models will then drop down a notch to a lower price.

Here's a table showing off the new Athlon II models and their prices:

Model Cores Clock speed L2 cache size
(per core)
TDP Price
Athlon II X4 640 4 3.0 GHz 512 KB 95 W $122
Athlon II X3 445 3 3.1 GHz 512 KB 95 W $87
Athlon II X2 260 2 3.2 GHz 1 MB 65 W $76
Athlon II X4 610e 4 2.4 GHz 512 KB 45 W $143
Athlon II X3 415e 3 2.5 GHz 512 KB 45 W $102
Athlon II X2 245e 2 2.9 GHz 1 MB 45 W $77

By and large, what you see above fits the plan as we've described. One deviation is the fact that the Athlon II X3 415e is actually a 200MHz clock speed increase over the current Athlon II X3 405e, although the price holds steady at $102. Another little change is an increase in supported memory speeds—to 1066MHz for DDR2 and 1333MHz for DDR3—for the Athlon II X2 260, made possible by the move to the C3 silicon stepping.

In fact, all of the new Athlon II chips introduced today are based on C3 silicon, which is a minor improvement of the familiar Propus and Regor chips. This stepping doesn't include the additional goodness introduced with the six-core Thuban parts, such as a low-k dielectric for reduced power leakage or Turbo Core dynamic clock scaling.

One product conspicuous by its absence above is the widely rumored quad-core part based on Thuban silicon, the Phenom II X4 960T. The buzz around that possible offering has grown to the point where motherboard maker ASRock even sent out a press release promising support for unlocking the two disabled cores in the processor.

Then again, it also declared, "ASRock brings magic to our fan again and makes your dreams come true!" So perhaps that's not an entirely unimpeachable source of information.

In fact, AMD has confirmed to TR that it will not be introducing a Thuban-based quad-core part today or in the near future. The purported Phenom II X4 960T chips floating around out there are real, but they are engineering samples not slated to materialize as real products any time soon. The firm tells us a Phenom II X4 product with Turbo Core technology may not ever happen, since the bulk of its efforts are now focused on next-generation products. If such a beast does ship eventually, it may be an OEM-only part intended for system builders, not for wider distribution.

On a similar note, the list of six new Athlon IIs above isn't entirely comprehensive. Several OEM-only CPU models are quietly being updated today, as well.

For those who are hankering for a massive TR-style roundup of the new processors, we haven't yet had a chance to put the new retail Athlon IIs through their paces. That will surely come in time, though.

With this refresh, the debut of the Phenom II X6, and the accompanying release of the 800-series chipsets, AMD's desktop platform update is largely complete. We now know more or less how AMD's desktop platform lineup will look for the rest of the summer, if not longer. We expect AMD will turn its attention to its revamped mobile platforms, also due very soon.

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