When it rains, it pours, right? Computex is now in full swing, and every company with something substantial to announce is going to do it in Taipei, in front of as many people as possible. AMD just so happens to have a lot to talk about this year.
The company is launching four different desktop processors (in addition to its server news). They’re all fairly well focused on areas where AMD has excelled lately: value-based performance and low-power.
Two CPUs are 65 W versions of hardware AMD is already shipping. The Phenom II X3 705e and Phenom II X4 905e both run at 2.5 GHz and offer substantial power savings versus the other 95 W X3s and 125 W X4s currently available. We dropped these into our Maui-based HTPC for a little high-performance home theater action.
The third new CPU is an inevitable adaptation of AMD’s quad-core Deneb design, which has already lost one execution core to become Heka, and now loses a second core to become Callisto. Fittingly, the resulting product is referred to as Phenom II X2.
Fourth on the menu is a new architecture that begins its life as a native dual-core processor. Dubbed Athlon II X2 (internally named Regor), this one boasts a larger L2 (1 MB per core), but gives up the L3 entirely. We’ll look at how this affects performance in our benchmarks, of course.
Looking Into The Crystal Ball
As if AMD’s portfolio weren’t already looking like a shotgun blast of Athlons, Phenoms, Xs, Roman numerals, and model numbers, we’ve seen roadmaps that indicate AMD will launch two more core designs next month: Rana and Propus. Rana will become the Athlon II X3 400-series (triple-core, 1.5 MB total L2 cache, up to 2.9 GHz), while Propus is expected to emerge as the Athlon II X4 600-series (quad-core 2 MB total L2 cache, up to 2.8 GHz).
That’s next month, though. Today our focus is on AMD’s four latest processors and how they compare to Intel’s latest value chip, the Pentium E6300—the only Pentium dual-core to run on a 1,066 MT/s front side bus—and its Core 2 Quad Q8400. At $175, the Q8400 is priced in between the two low-power Phenom IIs, though it uses quite a bit more power. Consider the performance numbers comparable to Intel's $245 Core 2 Quad Q8400S, though.
The low to mid-price segments are the best selling hardware categories.
Believe it or not, the $100 bang-for-the-buck graphics cards by far outsell the $500 space heater graphics cards. As with graphics cards, $50-100 CPUs by far outsell the $300-1300 CPUs.
The market that seems like most of the market - the enthusiasts and gamers - is actually not that much of the market share. Businesses building for performance-per-dollar, low-mid performance factory built home PCs, and people building web or media machines... these together outweigh the enthusiast/gamer market.
AMD has some new interesting CPU's.
"Hi, my name's IronRyan, and I like Intel. Go team Intel, yay!!!!!"
If they can run 4 cores at 2.5ghz and 8mb cache on 65w they should be able to run 2 cores at 2.5 ghz and 2mb cache at less than 32.5w.
Onto the article, it seems as if the Phenom II x2 550 BE would a great chip in a value gaming rig. If you could unclock the extra cores and get it stable, you'd be one lucky man. Can't wait till see these on the Egg...
Anyone else reminded of GeForce 2 MX when they see how Intel is positioning its mainstream chips these days? I'm all for differentiating with performance to drive down price (even cutting performance-oriented features, like Hyper-Threading), but don't start shedding the actual capabilities of an architecture to handicap it.
These programs benefit more from a higher clockrate than more cores.
Keeping this in mind, and the fact that an OS doesn't (spectacularly) boot faster with more cores, I think the X2 is a great buy.
I'm a bit dissapointed at the powerdraw. For a HDTV box you don't necessarily need to buy a Radeon 4850. Perhaps a lower powerdraw (and price) in the 4770 or 4670 will be better.
To playback full HD (1080p) I suppose a Radeon HD 2900XT would be enough.
Add office tasks, internetting, some photoshop, and casual gaming on a 22"monitor (1680x1050 pix), and a Radeon 4670 would be enough in most cases.
If you have a 24" monitor (1920x1200 pix) a Radeon 4770 would do.
Only when latest gaming is concerned should you go for a Radeon 4870 or a 4890.