AMD's Athlon X2 BE-2350 processor

The new coolness

AS I WRITE THESE words, I'm comfortably reclined in an overstuffed chair in my living room, laptop perched on my lap, sipping on a homemade cafe latte. Sunlight streams in through a window across the room, and every so often, I can hear the shuffle caused by my oldest child turning the page in the book he's reading. All is well, or so it would seem. But in the background, just above the sound of the air conditioning system forcing air through the vents, I can hear it: the ever-so-slight but unmistakable whir of the fans spinning in my home theater PC, piercing the silence like a faint whisper.

I'm sure you're aghast. Why, you ask, should a computing device be audible in one's living room? Good question. The short answer, in my case, is that our HTPC is based on an Athlon 64 X2 4200+ processor that requires a little more relief than passive cooling or inaudibly low fan speeds will allow.

To help others—especially the children, who will think of them?—in living rooms everywhere avoid this tragic fate, AMD has just introduced a new CPU aimed at home theater PCs, small form factor systems, and small-footprint corporate desktops. Dubbed the Athlon X2 BE-2350, this chip has a confusing new alphanumeric amalgamation attached to its name, and what could be cooler than that? Perhaps a 45W thermal/power rating for the processor. The BE-2350 sips power like a mobile CPU but carries a wallet-friendly price tag of under 100 bucks, which might make it an attractive prospect for your next system build.

Especially if you care about the kids.

If not, your cold, calloused heart may be warmed by the news that our BE-2350 sample also overclocks like a mofo. Read on to see how we used the BE-2350 as a low-power processor and then abused it as a high-power one, to the delight of all involved.

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