AMD freshens up CPU family with new Phenom IIs, Athlon IIs

— 1:21 AM on September 21, 2010

As exciting as Bulldozer, Llano, and Bobcat are, those products are all a ways off. You won't see them in stores before next year. To take care of its more immediate need for new blood, AMD has just added nine fresh CPUs to its desktop processor lineup. Here are the six regular-wattage parts everyone should care about:

Model Cores Clock speed Turbo speed L2 cache
(per core)
L3 cache TDP Price
Phenom II X6 1075T 6 3.0 GHz 3.5 GHz  512 KB 6 MB  125 W $239
Phenom II X4 970 BE 4 3.5 GHz N/A 512 KB 6 MB  125 W $179
Phenom II X2 560 BE 2 3.3 GHz N/A  512 KB 6 MB 80 W $99
Athlon II X4 645 4 3.1 GHz N/A  512 KB N/A  95 W $119
Athlon II X3 450 3 3.2 GHz N/A  512 KB N/A  95 W $84
Athlon II X2 265 2 3.3 GHz N/A  1 MB N/A  65 W $74

New recruits also include the 2.5GHz Athlon II X4 615e and the 2.6GHz Athlon II X3 420e, which both have 45W power envelopes, as well as the 3GHz Athlon II X2 250e, which has a 65W TDP according to AMD's spec sheet. I suspect the spec sheet is off about that particular point, because the regular Athlon II X2 250 has the same clock speed and TDP rating, and all of AMD's dual-core "e" chips to date have had 45W envelopes. We'll get to the bottom of this in the morning.

In the meantime, we should note a few things. First, AMD has deliberately introduced the Phenom II X6 1075T to bridge the gap between the $200 1055T and the $300 1090T. Intel doesn't really have anything competing at that price point, so AMD is, in effect, treading new ground. Practically speaking, I'd expect the 1075T's presence to turn people off the 1090T, which is only a couple hundred MHz quicker (although it does have an unlocked upper multiplier).

Down a rung in the ladder, AMD tells us the new Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition is based on the Deneb core, not Thuban, meaning it's a native quad-core chip. Folks hoping for unlockable fifth and sixth cores can start to grumble... now.

Further down, in the Athlon II family, we're told the X4 645 will push the 3GHz Athlon II X4 640 to about $100. That's already almost happened, but being able to nab an even quicker quad-core for that same tantalizing $99.99 asking price ought to sound good to bargain hunters.

By the way, all the prices you see in the table above are "retail pricing estimates," not volume prices like we're used to seeing tossed around in CPU price lists. Hopefully, you won't have any bad surprises when these parts hit stores—something that should happen "shortly," we're told.

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