AMD quietly intros Athlon 64 X2 ‘Black Edition’

Here’s an interesting one for you. Following its introduction in Tokyo last week, the Athlon 64 X2 6400+ processor is making its official debut on these shores today. However, you won’t see a review here at TR, nor presumably at most other places around the web. AMD has elected not to supply samples of this product to reviewers, and, well, you can probably guess why that might be. Why trigger a wave of reviews showing the competition to be faster?


Yet AMD has seen fit to introduce the product. The Athlon 64 X2 6400+ runs at 3.2GHz, has 1MB of L2 cache per core, and lists for $239. The chip is built using AMD’s 90nm fab process and has a thermal rating of 125W.

Amusingly, the X2 6400+ is labeled the “Black Edition” and comes in a fittingly black box, presumably to help it sneak past unsuspecting reviewers who might otherwise snag one and subject it to benchmarks. The box will contain only a processor—no cooler—and will be sold only into the channel, not by PC makers.

One can imagine how the X2 6400+ might stack up against the competition from Intel, including the Core 2 Quad Q6600 for well under 300 bucks. Nevertheless, we’ll perhaps see about acquiring a Black Edition processor for review, if there’s sufficient interest.

Comments closed
    • tsoulier
    • 14 years ago

    200 mghz not worth it , all you have to do is compare it to an oced 6000 +

    • pluscard
    • 14 years ago

    With all due respect, at these performance levels, I doubt the difference in gaming performance would be noticeable, except when using benchmarks. The X2 6400 actually wins most of the synthetic benchmarks.

    What’s interesting is this is AMD’s old design built on AMD’s old process, yet it competes favorable with Intel’s latest, at the same price point.

    Phenom is the new design, built on AMD’s new process, and I think we all know how strong it’s going to be.

    If I’m not mistaken, a system built with this X2 today, can drop the Phenom in later as an upgrade.

    I’m sticking with AMD.

      • accord1999
      • 14 years ago

      But it doesn’t compare favorably. It compares negatively even with Intel CPUs released a year ago in performance and power consumption. Plus it even costs more than the faster E6750.

      And people can buy an Intel quad-core now, and skip the step of buying a dual-core first and upgrading to a quad-core later.

      • evermore
      • 14 years ago

      You’re confusing the relevance of the points of performance and price. You seem to think AMD set a price and then magically discovered that it had similar performance to Intel chips at the same price.

      AMD figures out the performance, then prices it accordingly so that it’s in the same range as a similarly-performing Intel CPU. So sure, it’s going to compare reasonably with an Intel CPU at the same price. If it didn’t compare somewhat with the E6600 or E6750, they’d have priced it more like whatever other Intel chip to which it did compare well.

        • green
        • 14 years ago

        it will be overpriced initially (as any company would on a ‘brand new’ product)
        the price will drop in a month or two where it’ll settle at a price more comparable to the competition’s offering

          • evermore
          • 14 years ago

          And in the meantime Intel can also lower their prices. AMD sets the price based on what will get it sold NOW, not what they think it’ll be worth later. They’re not going to just lower the price significantly if comparably-performing Intel parts don’t go down as well.

    • Ruiner
    • 14 years ago

    I guess it’s a given that .65 is broken, for high speeds anyway, and probably leaks badly.

      • pluscard
      • 14 years ago

      I don’t think one can conclude AMD’s 65nm process is broken.
      The 65nm parts readily overclock, and are extremely low power, as is evidenced by both the 65nm Turions and the be-2350’s.
      AMD is using the 65nm process for it’s volume shipments to Dell and Toshiba, while the highly tuned 90nm process is still used at fab30 for the Opterons and high end X2’s.

      Also note that Intel today can’t produce a part that clocks as fast as the old 3.6ghz Northwood did on 130nm process back in 2003, despite the 90 and 65nm shrinks it’s made.

        • evermore
        • 14 years ago

        y[

          • pluscard
          • 14 years ago

          I agree that the P4 was designed for higher clocks. But the P4 itself never clocked higher on the last 3 process shrinks. The cedarmill on 65nm doesn’t clock any higher than the northwood did on 130nm.

          Moreover, it looks like the Penryn won’t clock much higher than the C2D on 65nm.

          I read an article recently by an IBM process guy that says clock boosts solely as a result of process are over, and have been over for sometime. Based on the P4’s last 3 shrinks, he appears to be correct.

          So, if AMD doesn’t get higher clocks out of 65nm than they did out of 90nm, it would be par for the course, at least when compared to IBM and Intel.

          Plus

            • SPOOFE
            • 14 years ago

            Yeah, so Intel had a crappy process with that architecture, too. How does that indicate that AMD doesn’t?

            • Thorburn
            • 14 years ago

            The Cedar Mill 65nm chips actually could probably have been clocked far higher than the Prescott-2M equivilants.

            Netburst was already on the way out however so clearly Intel didn’t want to burn engineering resources in that area. I believe overclockers have even had Cedar Mill chips up past 8GHz with LN2 cooling.

            Even Prescott could clock past 4GHz with relative ease, but doing so would have pushed it outside acceptable TDP boundaries.

            The issues with Netburst came down to inefficiency both in terms of performance and power usage. Electrically they could scale a lot higher so long as you could keep them cool, and 65nm did improve on this, it was just not an avenue that Intel deemed worth exploring with the Core Microarchitecture 2 quarters away.

        • Fighterpilot
        • 14 years ago

        There never was a 3.6GHz Northwood.
        The highest clocked NW was 3.4GHz.

          • pluscard
          • 14 years ago

          Ok, I’ll buy that. Still my argument stands – from the 130 to the 90 to the 65nm process shrinks, Intel managed to increase from 3.4ghz to 3.6ghz.

          Plus

            • SPOOFE
            • 14 years ago

            Tu quoque (sort of) fallacy: Just because another entity had the same problem, that doesn’t mean AMD’s problem doesn’t exist.

            • coldpower27
            • 14 years ago

            Your not really comparing directly…

            Pentium 4 Northwood 3.4GHZ 130nm…
            Pentium 4 Prescott 3.8GHZ 90nm.

            Pentium XE 840 3.2GHZ 90nm. (Dual Core)
            Pentium XE 965 3.73GHZ 65nm.. (Dual Core)

            Currently we have…

            Core 2 Extreme QX6850 3.0GHZ 65nm (Quad Core)
            Clockspeed is not everything obviously..

            Intel never bothered to increase clocks on the 65nm Single Core P4’s because by then the market had shifted to Dual Core instead.

            • Thorburn
            • 14 years ago

            Actually they went up to 3.8GHz, both on 90nm and 65nm.

            • pluscard
            • 14 years ago

            I’m certain both AMD and INTC will continue to get small improvements thru process. But they’re on the order of 10%, not the 50% we’ve seen in the past.

            Regarding the 8ghz parts – when we talk about a process providing benefit – we’re talking about increasing the speed while holding the thermals constant.

            If you can’t do that, then you didn’t get performance out of the shrink. Most C2D’s can be OC’d up to near 4ghz, but you sure don’t see them shipping above 3ghz – same for the X2’s on 90nm.

            Process isn’t a big driver anymore for either AMD or Intel.

      • SVB
      • 14 years ago

      According to the Inquirer: §[<http://www.chipzilla.com/?article=41788,<]§ your post is not correct. The statements about the 65nm process being broke seems to be Intel FUD started by an Intellabee over on Investorhub. The Inquirer explanation seems to be more plausible, especially that one of the Intel vice-presidents commented that AMD was doing too much in one step with Barcelona over on DailyTech a few weeks ago.

        • pluscard
        • 14 years ago

        Makes perfect sense.

        Now, the next question – why does Intel work so hard on it’s FUD campaigns when Intel clearly has the upper hand, at least for the moment?

          • SVB
          • 14 years ago

          I dunno, but Intel has always worked hard on it’s FUD campaigns. Almost very PC board I have ever seen seems to have a bunch of Intel groupies whose main function seems to bash AMD. This is especially true of AMD boards or blogs about AMD products.
          Years ago, one of the posters on the AMD board on SiliconInvestor used the pm emails to determine the IP’s of all of the Intelabees that were bashing AMD on the AMD board. Every one of the Intelabees posted from Intel headquarters in Santa Clara. I don’t know if it was corporately encouraged or the postings were just personal exuberance.
          Sometimes the wars between the AMDroids and the Intelabees (there’s a much more insulting term, Intelatubies) are fun and informative but too often they degrade into repeated claims of mine is faster than yours.

            • evermore
            • 14 years ago

            That sort of thing has been found quite often, the posting by people working at a company posing as average users who happen to be fans of the product. The companies respond in one of two ways: claim it wasn’t encouraged by the company and was not an approved activity, or call it legitimate viral marketing.

          • coldpower27
          • 14 years ago

          Those aren’t done by Intel, and rather are the words of rabid fanboys, AMD’s 65nm SOI process is still fairly new, so there are still a few kinks to work out. The majority of the effort is assumed to be used towards 65nm K10 based processors so we really don’t have enough data right now to say for certain the process sucks or not.

          I guess 65nm effort, just isn’t spent on K8 because they know that this line will be used for value processors later on so they don’t need the higher clocked ones anyway when K10 will take their place.

          Though from what we have been shown far, and all we have to go on, 65nm K8 based processors, we aren’t terribly impressed by the 65nm process.

    • maroon1
    • 14 years ago

    Here are some reviews
    §[<http://xtreview.com/addcomment-id-3115-view-Athlon-64-X2-6400+-review-and-benchmark.html<]§ §[<http://www.hkepc.com/bbs/hwdb.php?tid=842214&tp=AMD-A64X2-6400&rid=842214<]§ E6750 is cheaper, and it beats 6400+ in gaming and in most of the real world applications. Not to mention that E6750 overclocks much better and consume less power

    • Damage
    • 14 years ago

    The original title of this article referred to a “stealth launch” of the X2 6400+ Black Edition. That wasn’t quite fair, since our info about the product came directly from people at AMD, who directly gave us notice about the product launch late last week, well before it happened. In fairness, I’ve changed the headline to better reflect the reality.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 14 years ago

    Yeah, don’t bother with reviewing this processor. Boring I believe is the word I’d use for this launch. We already know that Core 2 will beat it, and for the same price, you can grab a quad core and overclock the snot out of it.

      • sigher
      • 14 years ago

      oh you can plug a conroe in an AM2 slot now? or do you mean the same price plus the price of a new mobo?

        • Nitrodist
        • 14 years ago

        I guess everyone owns a AMD mobo that they just have lying around.

    • eitje
    • 14 years ago

    i seriously don’t want you wasting time & energy on this, Scott.

    We can guess what the final conclusion would be, so unless you need it to play GW or SupCom, just leave it on the shelf, please. 🙂

      • Nitrodist
      • 14 years ago

      If you get the CPU donate it to charity or a small child.

    • Vrock
    • 14 years ago

    Agree with others: we don’t need a review. A 200mhz clock speed bump and some more relatively useless cache shouldn’t translate to much.

    AMD is seems to be targeting the fanbois with this release, as they aren’t including a cooler (which they know those leet AMDroids don’t need). Hey, whatever…if it sells chips, then more power to them.

      • Stefan
      • 14 years ago

      I’m not so sure. whilde this will by all means be a hot chip literally speaking, and will not offer that much extra performance, it’s a nice testbed for evaluating the impact of extra cache when downclocked and compared to its 512kB-L2 bretheren.

    • Xenolith
    • 14 years ago

    I can’t wait until AMD goes under and Intel and Nvidia have their monopolies.

      • Vrock
      • 14 years ago

      Why would you say that? Do you want to pay hundreds more for hardware?

        • jdevers
        • 14 years ago

        I THINK it was sarcasm, not 100% sure but I think so…

        • eitje
        • 14 years ago

        maybe he owns stock in intel & nvidia.

    • Samlind
    • 14 years ago

    I finally decided it was time to upgrade, and went over to Newegg to fit out a Core2 rig.

    After looking at processor, motherboard, and memory, I ordered an AMD system. The motherboard was a little cheaper, but the memory difference was huge. DDR2 800 is cheap, and I saved well over $100 with rebates.

    So the processor price isn’t the whole story, total platform cost is.

      • accord1999
      • 14 years ago

      The C2Ds don’t need anything higher than DDR2-800. Even with the recent Intel chipsets that support memory ratios no lower than 1:1, the new 1333MHz C2Ds only need a minimum of DDR2-667. DDR2-800 gives you 20% overclocking headroom before you even need to run the memory out of spec.

      • evermore
      • 14 years ago

      So…what stopped you from using DDR2-800 with the Core2? Dual-channel 667MHz memory is the same bandwidth as a 1333MHz frontside bus, and has a sort of matched clock, 2:1 instead of something weird like 1.67:1, so the cycles at least line up every other clock instead of every 3rd or 17th or whatever that you might get with overclocking to odd numbers.

      Clock it up to a 1600MHz bus and 800MHz memory is perfect.

      Of course nobody tests like that. They test with matched frequency memory which costs a right testicle.

      Of course if you looked at DDR3 memory then you’re guaranteed to be paying more, but there’s not a lot of point to getting it.

      • flip-mode
      • 14 years ago

      You made a boo-boo.

      • Wajo
      • 14 years ago

      I feel sorry for you mate…

      • csl
      • 14 years ago

      Dont feel bad because it was ignorance not stupidity.

      Its a blessing in disguise anyway, because you will have a choice of Phenoms available and it will be a painless upgrade.

    • flip-mode
    • 14 years ago

    No cooler? WTF? There should be an Ultra 120 Extreme packaged with the thing.

    FWIW, I have no interest in seeing the thing reviewed, it’s obviously going to get molested by C2D, C2Q. Then again, maybe it should be reviewed so AMD doesn’t get to play the stealth game.

    • credo
    • 14 years ago
      • totoro
      • 14 years ago

      Thanks!
      Their (somewhat babelfished) conclusion is that it is an excellent buy once the price drops below 200 and that it is competitive with the e6850.

        • accord1999
        • 14 years ago

        It’s barely competitive with the E6750. And if the 6000+’s power consumption is any indication, probably uses more power than the QX6850.

    • Archer
    • 14 years ago

    The only way AMD would be able to generate interest now is to ship their products in Core 2 Duo boxes.

    😀

    • idiotrepublican
    • 14 years ago

    Amd does not inspire any confidence in myself. This is not the AMD of yesteryear that had the superior product and did everything they could to get the news out there. Now its using stealth launches to hide an inferior product/price.

    The only downside is that if this company goes bankrupt or is split up, we will all be screwed. Intel will once again become the monopoly it was before AMD was around. So get ready for upsurd pricing and extremely slow product launches. The whole thing is exasperated with the fact that ATi is now owned by AMD. Graphics cards are already at insane pricing levels. Could you imagine what would happen if Nvidia was the only high-end graphics card maker. Can you say $1200.00 Nvidia cards for 25% increase in performance?

      • shank15217
      • 14 years ago

      then your memory is very short term

    • dragmor
    • 14 years ago

    mAJORD seems to be getting some good overclocks out of it.

    §[<http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?p=2375726#post2375726<]§

      • PenGun
      • 14 years ago

      4 Ghz is nice alright. How do the core duos clock? My 1.8G Opty 165 has been at 2.4 for a long time. It’ll do 2.8 but we need a little head room ;).

      Wonder how the Barcelonas will clock.

        • Peldor
        • 14 years ago

        Bah, he’s using a peltier to get it down to 0C. And it’s not stable there.

        Given enough thrust, pigs will fly too.

    • Krogoth
    • 14 years ago

    Nah, I suspect there aren’t even many Windsor cores that can handle 3.2Ghz at 125W TDP. 😉

    Methinks, the X2 6400+ = new Thoroughbred-B 2800+.

    • indeego
    • 14 years ago

    Maybe AMD is using black because it ran out of red ink for it’s financial statementsg{

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 14 years ago

    Not to be overly defensive, but comparing a dual-core AMD cpu @$240 to a quad-core Intel cpu@$280-*[<$600 +<]* isn't fair and kindof biased. If you HAVE to make a comparison at least compare it to a high-end Intel c2d with two cores at a similar price. Just a lil' irresponsible, is all.

      • indeego
      • 14 years ago

      How about all of them? The reader can make their own judgment on what price point is the best value for them. At what point would you draw the line at, only processors with two cores that cost exactly $240?g{

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 14 years ago

        No. It’s just that the Q6600 is in a class seperate of the X2 6400+. I’m not being picky, either. Look, according to TR’s pricegrabber you can get an Intel e6750 anywhere from $218-$240 which is probably a better buy since it has more L2 cache and a 1333Mhz FSB. There, easy.

        You can’t assume that ALL TR reader’s are well informed enough to see past a strange, reach-at-best unfair comparison.

          • SPOOFE
          • 14 years ago

          Yeah, the Q6600 is in a different class. It’s called “worthwhile”. Wa-a-a-ah, so unfair, wa-a-a-a-ah…

            • ssidbroadcast
            • 14 years ago

            I’m not crying. It’s just been rainin’ … on my face…

            • SPOOFE
            • 14 years ago

            Didn’t wish to imply any emotional distress on your part. If I recall, I was agreeing with you.

            • credo
            • 14 years ago

            At these prices, I dont think anyone can say that ANY of the chips “aren’t worthwhile.” Just because Intel has more money saved up and is willing to make less money/chip….

            Lets see what happens when everyone jumps on the Intel “good deal” side and ends up screwing themselves in the long run.

            • SPOOFE
            • 14 years ago

            I dunno, I see a very stark delineation of worth ‘twixt these chips when I compare temperatures. If one wants AMD, they should stick with the lower-end.

            I have no concerns about an Intel purchase turning into a screwjob. Nobody reasonable does.

            • evermore
            • 14 years ago

            Except all those people who bought Pentium 4’s early on.

            • flip-mode
            • 14 years ago

            If they’d have read reviews they’d have known better. The C2D clearly isn’t a repeat of the Pentium 4.

            • SPOOFE
            • 14 years ago

            Oh my God! You mean all that stuff about the Core 2 was just a dream and we’re still saddled with Netburst?

            Oh, wait, no. It wasn’t a dream. You must have been responding to a comment I didn’t make.

            • evermore
            • 14 years ago

            y[

            • sigher
            • 14 years ago

            Well what the core line has up on AMD is that its math is 30% to 50% faster, but now that we’ve seen the errata from intel saying that for reliable operation of the FP math you must insert NOP’s you sort of start to realize they will end up on more equal footing.

          • evermore
          • 14 years ago

          When the price difference is so small, it’s NOT a separate class. A separate class would be a quad-core Core 2 Extreme that costs 5 times as much.

          The point was that AMD’s very fastest, brandy-newest, hot-as-hellest, hardest to get CPU, with a $70, 41% premium over the next lower speed, with only a 6.67% faster clock, with no heatsink included, can’t compete in performance to the lower-clock, slowest of Intel’s quad-core chips costing not much more, which can also overclock to embarassingly high speeds, whereas the 6400+ is already essentially factory overclocked to the max. Much higher is only barely possible with air cooling.

          If you must use comparable prices, then the E6600 is cheaper but with overclocking would provide much better performance. And you get a heatsink. Since the E6700 won out in almost all tests over the 6000+, at stock speeds the 6400+ might just about equal or slightly beat the E6600.

          If you want to really compare based on value, the E6750, which has a faster clock and faster bus than the E6600 is even cheaper at 212 dollars. Given that the clock speed is equal to the E6700, it’s unlikely the 6400+ is really going to give that more than a token run for its money.

          In the first reply you mentioned the Q6600 being $280 to $600. Why would you compare prices based on the highest price any dealer is charging for one processor but not the other? Comparing the list price of the 6400+ to the highest price you’d pay if you didn’t mind getting ripped off for a Q6600.

          For that matter, who the hell pays prices like those?

      • Ricardo Dawkins
      • 14 years ago

      jaja…I remember when they compared the 350.00 80GB i_Pod against a 250.00 30GB Zune…

    • insulin_junkie72
    • 14 years ago

    Given that the Intel Extreme x6800 ships in a black box (at least according to the pic on NewEgg – it’s a touch out of my price range), the packaging sounds like a ‘me, too’ sort of thing.

      • credo
      • 14 years ago

      —removed—

        • Flying Fox
        • 14 years ago

        Gawd not you too!

          • credo
          • 14 years ago

          wrong button..

    • albundy
    • 14 years ago

    “AMD has elected not to supply samples of this product to reviewers, and, well, you can probably guess why that might be.”

    Same reason why some Hollywood studios wont allow critics to release reviews on their movies before they come out, for the fear of it being cr@p. Is it just the art of milking a dead cow? Who knows. But thats just me speculating.

      • stix
      • 14 years ago

      They learned milking of the cow from there friendly neighbor 😛

        • albundy
        • 14 years ago

        so true. I’d never thought the p4 would last so long.

          • SPOOFE
          • 14 years ago

          And Intel thought the P4 would last longer than it did…

      • melvz90
      • 14 years ago

      “AMD has elected not to supply samples of this product to reviewers, and, well, you can probably guess why that might be. Why trigger a wave of reviews showing the competition to be faster?”

      That is a jackpot! It saves them from several bashing from its shameful performance

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