AMD Phenom II X2 550 BE & Athlon II X2 250

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AMD Phenom II & Athlon II

June 5, 2009 by Lawrence Lee

Product AMD Phenom II
X2 550

AM3 Processor
AMD Athlon II
X2 250

AM3 Processor
Manufacturer AMD AMD
MSRP US$107 US$87

Today we will be looking at two of AMD's newest processors, the Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition, and the Athlon II X2 250. Priced at a suggested retail price of $102 and $87 respectively, they are aimed squarely at the bread and butter value segment of the desktop processor market. Not only are they the first dual core parts for the AM3 socket, they are also the first dual core AMD chips manufactured using the same 45nm fabrication process as the Phenom II X4's.


Our Phenom II X2 and Athlon II X2 samples.

The Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition runs at 3.1 GHz, has an unlocked multiplier and a thermal envelope of 80W. The Phenom II X2 series (code name Callisto) are simply Phenom II X4 900's with two cores disabled, and as such they have a healthy 6MB of L3 cache. Manufacturing defects will often produce CPUs with one or two faulty cores, so recycling them as dual and triple core CPUs is a very economical strategy. This also opens up the possibility of processors with four good cores being repackaged as dual cores to satisfy demand, though this may be rare due to the popularity of the Phenom II X4 series.


CPU-Z screenshot: Phenom II X2 550 BE.

"Regor" is AMD's code name for their Athlon II X2 processors. These parts have only two cores on the die and no L3 cache, though they have twice as much L2 cache. The X2 250 is easier and cheaper to manufacture, resulting in a reduced price tag and lower 65W thermal design power. It seems appropriate that the Athlon name is reused for these processors. Like Callisto, Regor is an AM3 part so it can be used on both of AMD's current desktop sockets. The Athlon II X2 250 is clocked at 3.0 GHz.


CPU-Z screenshot:Athlon II X2 250.

Compared to Intel's current lineup of 45nm dual core CPUs, both of AMD's new dual core chips land in unoccupied territory: the $90-$100 price point. They are sandwiched on one side by the more expensive Intel Core 2 Duo E7000 series with 3MB of L2 cache and a 1066 MHz front side bus, while on the opposite side reside the Pentium E5000 series with 2MB of L2 cache and a 800 MHz front side bus. All of these competitors are 65W parts.

Comparison Table: Dual Core 45nm Processors (June 2009)
Model
Clock Speed
L2 Cache (total)
L3 Cache
FSB/HT
TDP
Mfg.
Price
E7400
2.80 GHz
3MB
N/A
1066 MHz
65W
$113
E7300
2.66 GHz
3MB
N/A
1066 MHz
65W
$113
E7200
2.53 GHz
3MB
N/A
1066 MHz
65W
N/A
X2 550 BE
3.1 GHz
1MB
6MB
2.0 GHz
80W
$102
X2 250
3.0 GHz
2MB
N/A
2.0 GHz
65W
$87
E6300
2.80 GHz
2MB
N/A
1066 MHz
65W
$84
E5400
2.70 GHz
2MB
N/A
800 MHz
65W
$84
E5300
2.66 GHz
2MB
N/A
800 MHz
65W
$74



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