More cache for more speed: AMD launches Athlon 64 X2 5200+

Sunnyvale (CA) - AMD has begun offering a new processor in its mainstream dual-core lineup. The 5200+ joins the Athlon 64 X2 series as new flagship. There no clock speed increase, but AMD has integrated twice the cache of the 5000+ and re-enters the $400+ segment of CPUs.

The update of the desktop X2 series came without much fanfare this morning. A quick look at the technical data of the 5200+ may provide a justification for the rather quiet introduction as the chips simply brings up the clock speed of 4800+ processor to the 5000+ level.

Both the 5000+ and 5200+ are based on the recently launched AM2 socket and run with 2.6 GHz. However, the 5000+ uses 2 x 512 kB L2 cache, while the 5200+ comes with 2 x 1 MB, which is also used in the models 4000+ (2 GHz), 4400+ (2.2 GHz) and 4800+ (2.4 GHz). The larger cache bumps the transistor count of the 5200+ to 153.8 million and the power envelope form 65 to 89 watts.

AMD did not provide information on the performance advantage over the 5000+ model, which, however, could be very subtle. One could argue that the 5200+ is much more a strategic processor with the purpose to improve AMD's average selling price (ASP) in the market. Following Intel's radical price cuts and introduction of Core 2 Duo processors, AMD virtually dropped out of the high-end and upper-mainstream price segment between $400 and $700.

The 5200+ chip is tray-priced at $403, which stabilizes AMD's pricing position. However, the chip is substantially cheaper than AMD's previous flagship chips: The 5000+ was launched in May for $696; the 4800+ carried a record $1001 price tag at the time of its introduction.

According to data provided by PriceGrabber, 5000+ processor currently retail for an average of about $330 and 4800+ CPUs for about $357.

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