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AMD Releases 6 New Desktop Processors: Phenom II X6 1075T and X4 970 Highlight the Launch

Author: Josh Walrath
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

The New Usual Suspects

As mentioned before, there are nine new processors from AMD.  Six of which will be available to end users at retail.  These cover pretty much the entire range of AMD processors, and all are speed bumps with the exception of one product.

The top end product for this launch is the Phenom II X6 1075T.  This is a 3.0 GHz base clocked X6 processor based on the Thuban chip.  It is a 125 watt TDP part, and has a turbo mode which takes the CPU to 3.5 GHz when three cores or less are being used.  This is a locked part, so no easy overclocking here.  This part straddles the two previously released X6 parts, the 1090T and the 1055T.  It sits at a comfortable $245 US (or so it is expected when it hits retail).

The next, and perhaps most interesting product, is the new Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition.  This 3.5 GHz processor has no turbo mode, and is not a recovered 6 core die.  It is a true Deneb based processor, but it has been further tweaked to enable fast performance without raising TDPs.  It is a 125 watt TDP part, so it does not get an increase over the previous Phenom II X4 965 in terms of power consumption and heat production.  This CPU is unlocked, and AMD is quite excited about the potential overclocks that users are going to get with minimal effort.

1.4 volts seems a bit toasty, but the processor really does not get all that warm.

The Phenom II X2 560 is the next in line to get the treatment.  This is a dual core part that is made from a quad core die.  So it features 2 x cores with a full 6 MB of L3 cache shared between them.  Since it is made from a true quad core die, there is the possibility that it can be unlocked to a three core or four core part.  It has a base clock of 3.3 GHz, and a TDP of 80 watts.  Unlocking cores will of course increase its power consumption.

I was able to unlock the Phenom II X2 560 into a true, working quad core part.  Mileage will vary.

The next three parts are all of the Athlon II family.  These are budget based CPUs which come in a variety of core counts.  The top end is the Athlon II X4 645 clocked at 3.1 GHz and a TDP of 95 watts.  The next is the Athlon II X3 450 clocked at 3.2 GHz and a TDP of 95 watts.  The final part is the Athlon II X2 265.  This is probably the most interesting part of this trio, as it features a full 1 MB of L2 cache per core.  The one thing these parts have in common is that they are based on the Phenom II CPU core, but the L3 cache is left out.  The X4 and X3 both have 512 KB of L2 cache per core, while the X2 has the full 1 MB.

Perhaps the reason why the X2 is so interesting is that it probably will mirror the per core performance of the upcoming Llano APU, which is expected in the first half of 2010.  Llano is based on the Phenom II architecture with no L3 cache and 1 MB of L2 cache per core.  AMD has tweaked the design (apparently) so it should outperform the current Regor based X2 cores.  This is not a given though, and at most I would expect perhaps a 5% increase in performance per core.  Llano is a native quad core part that will be produced on the 32 nm HKMG/SOI process from GF.


These are the figures that AMD provided to us.

3.5GHz (3.0GHz base) Phenom II  X6 1075T                          $245

3.5GHz                          Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition         $185

3.3GHz                          Phenom II X2 560 Black Edition         $105

3.1GHz                          Athlon II X4 645                                  $122

3.2GHz                          Athlon II X3 450                                  $87

3.3GHz                          Athlon II X2 265                                  $76

These are estimated retail prices, and not bulk prices from AMD.  AMD now has three 6 core products in their lineup for under $295 US.  The X4 970 is specifically produced to give enhanced overclocking performance.  The X2 560 is thrown out there to give budget enthusiasts a chance of getting a fully functional X4 at 3.3 GHz, or to overclock the dual core configuration to high levels.  The Athlon II parts are all simple clockspeed increases, though they are all made on the same process line as the more expensive Phenom II parts.