AMD announces energy-efficient processors

— 9:47 AM on May 16, 2006

One week prior to the expected Socket AM2 launch, AMD has already announced upcoming energy efficient desktop processors based on the new socket. Due out later this month, there will be eleven new chips in total with either "Energy Efficient" or "Energy Efficient Small Form Factor" labels. The former denotes a 65 W thermal design power (TDP) and will apply to the "Energy Efficient" Athlon 64 X2 3800+, 4000+, 4200+, 4400+, 4600+, and 4800+ processors. Meanwhile, the "Energy Efficient Small Form Factor" label signifies a 35 W TDP and will apply to the new Athlon 64 X2 3800+, Athlon 64 3500+, as well as Sempron 3000+, 3200+, and 3400+ processors. All "Energy Efficient" and "Energy Efficient Small Form Factor" chips will coexist with regular Socket AM2 models, which are expected to have TDPs of 89-110 W for the Athlon 64 X2 line and 62 W for the Athlon 64 and Sempron lines.

Low power use will come at a price, however. Customers wishing to indulge in lower-power chips will have to cough up a $40 premium for the new chips on average, with "Energy Efficient" models costing between $26 and $52 more than the normal versions and "Energy Efficient Small Form Factor" flavors marked up as much as $61. Those premiums aren't anywhere near as high as those seen on the Opteron line, where low-power HE variants cost up to twice as much as regular Opterons, but they will nonetheless force some users to choose between speed and power utilization. The low-power Sempron 3000+ will cost more than all regular Sempron chips, for instance, and the low-power Sempron 3400+ will be more expensive than the regular Athlon 64 3200+. In the Athlon 64 X2 line, the "Energy Efficient Small Form Factor" Athlon 64 X2 3800+ will also cost more than the "Energy Efficient" X2 4000+ and nearly as much as the regular X2 4200+.

Aside from announcing low-power chips, AMD also slashed prices in the Athlon 64 line today. The Athlon 64 3500+ and 3200+ have dropped from $208 and $158, respectively, to $189 and $138. AMD also appears to have removed the Athlon 64 4000+ from its price list altogether.

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