Representing a complete transition to 45nm for all of AMD’s desktop CPUs, today’s announcement of the II X2 550 Black Edition and Athlon II X2 250 has brought new entry-level players to AMD’s Dragon platform. The 3GHz Athlon II X2 250 will retail for $87 as the first 45nm Athlon II X2 and the Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition, clocked at 3.1GHz will retail for $102 as an overclocker-friendly entry-level chip.
With only 100mhz separating the two, we aim to see how they stack up to our past contenders. It’s a dual core duel!
Detail and Specifications
The AM3 Phenom II X2 processors share many similarities with the early Phenom II models released back in January. Readers interested in learning more about their common architecture should read our Phenom II launch review.
Now let’s take a closer look at today’s contestants and see how they stack up:
† Note: The memory controller can configured for dual 64-bit channels for simultaneous read/writes.
‡ Note: AM3 motherboards will support one DIMM per channel at 1333MHz.
The Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition clocks in at 3.1GHz. With only two cores to heat things up, its max TDP is 80W. In our testing, we found our full load temps, even with mild overclocks, scarcely broke the 40°C mark. Its cool running temperatures should significantly aid in its overclocking capabilities.
Meanwhile, the Regor core featured in the Athlon II X2 is an all-new architecture designed specifically for mainstream computing. On paper, we can see that the Athlon II X2 has more L2 cache than the Phenom II X2, but no L3 cache. We can also see that the Athlon II X2′s 54% smaller die and 69% fewer transistors makes it considerably less complex than the Phenom II X2.
The Athlon II X2′s small clock deficit and locked multiplier also won’t help it surpass the Phenom II when it comes to benchmarking. However, one other feature the Athlon II X2 has over its relative is the implementation of an on-chip C1E power state. AMD says that by moving the low-power option from the BIOS to the CPU allows for more reliable power management.