Those hoping for nail biting, teeth clenching battles should apply elsewhere - the CPU war these days is a one horse race. If reports out of Taiwan are to be believed, initial performance results from AMD's Barcelona fail to impress and we've got at least a quarter before the race can even potentially get competitive. But as we've seen lately, you don't need chart topping performance to bring excitement to the game.

By aggressively cutting prices, AMD actually made most of its product lineup below $300 competitive with equivalently priced Intel offerings. Granted that AMD won't be making a tremendous amount of money by doing this, but the end user stands to benefit, especially those with Socket-AM2 motherboards looking for faster CPUs.

Today AMD follows with yet another affordable CPU introduction; priced at $91 and $86 respectively, the Athlon X2 BE-2350 and 2300 aren't designed to take the performance crown from Intel, but rather they are decent dual core performers with a mere 45W TDP.

These two 65nm processors run at 2.1GHz and 1.9GHz, and are architecturally no different than the Athlon 64 X2s we've been reviewing for a while now. Carefully selected as chips that can run at lower operating voltages and thus lower TDPs, these two processors are designed to be a more available version of the Energy Efficient Small Form Factor X2s that were introduced last year. While they have a higher TDP than the 35W Athlon 64 X2 3800+, AMD insists that availability of these 45W parts won't be a problem. At the time of publication we couldn't confirm AMD's claims, so we'll just have to wait and see. Prior to today's introduction, the lowest TDP widely available from an X2 was 65W, so the release of 45W parts is designed to fill a gap in AMD's product lineup.

At the price points AMD is targeting with the BE-2350 and 2300, Intel doesn't really have a good competitor. While you can get older Pentium 4s for less than $100, you wouldn't really want to from a power and performance standpoint. The closest Intel has to offer is the Core 2 Duo E4300, which we've been able to find online for $113.50, thus making it the best competition we can find. Note that both of these chips are more expensive than the X2 3800+, currently priced at $83 and running at 2.0GHz. The slight premium comes from the lower yield on these chips, and resultant lower TDP.

Keep in mind that Intel's closest competition is more expensive throughout the course of this review, because after AMD's latest price cuts you can truly get some powerful CPUs for less than $100.

Eeech, Model Numbers
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  • bob4432 - Tuesday, June 5, 2007 - link

    maybe i missed it, so are those power readings w/ the 8800gtx?
  • Justin Case - Tuesday, June 5, 2007 - link

    Article says "are architecturally no different <b>than</b> the Athlon 64 X2s" when it should say "are architecturally no different <b>from</b> the Athlon 64 X2s".
  • joex444 - Tuesday, June 5, 2007 - link

    As far as our language is concerned, the two are interchangable. Compare with "before surgery" and "pre-surgery".
  • Justin Case - Wednesday, June 6, 2007 - link

    No, they're not. They mean different things. "Different than" means "different from that which" (and is generaly deprecated in writing). In other words, you can use "different than" in situations like "He was a very different John than I used to know".


    In the sentence in this article, it would make no sense to say "are architecturally no different from that which the Athlon 64". It's clearly a distinction between two things themselves, therefore the only correct form is "different from". Things are different _from_ each other, they are not different "than" each other.

    Your comparison with "before" makes absolutely no sense; you're comparing an adverb to a preposition. A lot of people also use "then" when they mean "than" or "it's" when they mean "its", but that does not make them "interchangeable". Not if you're literate, anyway.
  • TA152H - Tuesday, June 5, 2007 - link

    I read this article, and I'm wondering why AMD is releasing this product. It's a mediocre product by any measure. The power isn't that great, it's good, but 45 watts is still a lot, and the performance is poor to mediocre. It's inferior to the existing 3800, by and large, and it costs more. I'm just not understanding them at all.

    Why not go single core with this product, and go really low power? How many people really need dual core? If they do, don't they generally want better performance than this? It's amazing how well we did without dual processors for so long, but now they even release "energy saving" processors with dual cores. If they had half a brain, they'd halve the brains of these chips, offer them at 22 watts or whatever, and they'd have a killer CPU for the masses, and they could sell it even more cheaply. The vast majority of people don't need dual processors, or 2.8 GHz, and would love to save 22 watts, and $30 to $40 on the processor and not have it. If you're going to do something, do it right, instead of mediocre at everything. Hector has to go, he's a moron.
  • Kim Leo - Wednesday, June 6, 2007 - link

    That comment tells us quite a bit about you, first of all 45W is not a lot, and the way that AMD makes Dual core processors you probably won't magically go 22W down in consumption, more like 10W. People usually buy what is cheapest, but they are not entirely stupid, some people will understand when the salesmen tells them that 2 processors=better performance that you can feel while using the machine, that it is a better bargain.

    for anyone not playing oblivion, cell factor, or anything as requiring as those games, or editing videos proffesionally, these are top performers, hell, i'm using a A64 3400+ @ 2.4 and i have no problem playing oblivion, a little with cell factor, but i think that is because of my Geforce 7600Gt, but still. You don't need Core 2 Duo's to do anything that a Athlon(or BE 2XXX)Can't do too.

    you made a comment before this wich once again, tells us who we are dealing with..

    on the technology side you claim that P7(or the Pentium 4 design) is ahead of the K8 design, it's different, much different.. but i wouldn't say superioer in any way, the only smart thing P7 delivered was QDR bus, and even that is pretty absolete compared to HTT in the K8 design, Hyperthreading might be advanced, but it dosn't work well in any way, so if anything it is a broken advance technology(i use HT dayily in my laptop). i think that most people with some insight will know that the K8 is a wonder when it comes to technology with HTT, and IMC, and K10 will be even more wonderous looking at the power management of each core, and Memory controller, seperatly other than that it looks a lot like what intel did to the Core design, making it "bigger" with more cache and some arch changes that essentially is just making the old "bigger".

    AMD did release a 9 W singel core sempron by the way..
  • TA152H - Wednesday, June 6, 2007 - link

    OK, a few things, that say something about you. You have really poor reading comprehension, and I don't like being misrepresented.

    I never said 45 watts is a lot, I said it isn't that little. There's a big difference. When the point of a product, the only selling point really, is it's low wattage, and it isn't particularly low, it's not that great. 45 watts is just not very low. With regards to halving it, if you halve the transistors, you halve the power draw. Now, one thing is, you don't have two memory controllers, but considering everythning else, you'd come pretty close to losing half the transistors, but not completely half. So, let's say you'd lose 40% power instead of 50%. Now, you could probably run the processors at lower voltage, since you don't need BOTH processors to run at that lower voltage/speed, so, you'd still come pretty close to 50%. It would be way more than 22% or so. It's transistors that use power, and the power doesn't magically disappear into the air. If you halve them, you halve the power use if it's a carbon copy you're eliminating. Of course, as I said, it's not completely half, but it's pretty close.

    Two processors are better performance you can feel? Does one processor control a hand that massages you or something? Very, very few applications require more CPU power than one processor can deliver, and the bottlenecks in performance are more I/O like hard disks, internet access, etc... A second processor doesn't help this, but it sure uses up some power. When it speeds up surfing, text messaging, and printing then I'd say the world needs it. It doesn't.

    You completely missed my point on games. I"m not a simpleton that plays games all day, so it's not important to me, and I mentioned in a previous message that AMD processors are fine for most people, and their so cheap they are worth it. But, this particular model is confusing. It's worse than the 3800, and not very different. What's the point? They should have made something a little more interesting, instead of making a processor that's not particularly good at anything.

    Again, your reading comprehension fails you. I said the P7 was more ADVANCED than the Athlon, not superior. And, of course, it is superior is some ways, you only need to look at clock speeds for that. But, overall, it's a perfect example of a very advanced design that just didn't work well. So, again, don't put words in my mouth.

    Point to point technology is nothing new, integrated memory controllers are very old and if you don't know this you probably should read more and post less. Even in the x86 world the NX586 that was out in the mid 1990s had an integrated memory controller, so there is nothing at all advanced in the Athlon. It looked fine when Intel had the crappy and bizarre P7, and all the idiots of the world swore how wonderful the IMC was and thought Intel couldn't do it, without realizing it had severe tradeoffs too. Now the Core 2 has destroyed the Athlon and AMD, and people magically see the IMC wasn't the panacea everyone thought, at least not on the current lithographies. Intel could have done it any time they wanted to, it's nothing new or novel, but they decided it wasn't the best way to go yet. In a few years, they'll do it, finally, when it makes more sense because of smaller lithographies.

    You clearly are confused about the Core 2. It was wider, and I guess that's what you mean by bigger, but it also had memory disambiguation which is very helpful for increase scheduling. The instruction fusing and the enhanced SSE is nice too, and neither would fall under bigger. AMD is doing some interesting things with Barcelona, and the incredibly primitive load scheduling of the K7 is being upgraded to something similar to the P6 (of 1995) so that should help some, although they still trail Intel. I wouldn't call that bigger at all, actually, very little of the Barcelona is just more of the same. It's wider in terms of getting data in and out, but the processing cores are quite similar. It's more tweaked and optimized than bigger, and I'm not saying that as a negative. The primitive scheduling of the K7 is a huge handicap that even allowed the much better designed/smaller P6 to compete with it clock normalized, despite having serious disadvantages in many areas. It's still behind the Core 2, but it's narrowed the gap a lot, and should be the most important change.
  • strikeback03 - Friday, June 8, 2007 - link

    Here on my desk at work is a system with a A64 3500+, which is 2.2GHz, 512L2, and 1.5GB RAM. Down the hall in another of our labs is a system with an A64X2 4200+, which is 2.2GHz, 512L2 X2, with 4GB RAM installed though XP cannot address all of it. The dual core system is noticeably quicker in application loading and web browsing. So not something vital, but nice to have.

    Also, a number of laptop processors would seem to meet the criteria you have set (single core, TDP ~25W) though they are not cheap.
  • TA152H - Saturday, June 9, 2007 - link

    That's probably got more to do with other things than dual core. Don't forget the extra memory is used as a disk cache, and anyone that tells you surfing is CPU based is a buffoon.

    I have several of each, mainly dual processors rather than dual cores, and the differences in every day stuff isn't there. Consequently, my main machine is a single core processor because dual wouldn't make any difference for the simple stuff I do on it. Naturally, my development machine is not a single processor, but what percentage of people are programmers?

    The problem with Intel's laptop processors is that they don't use the same motherboards, so it's not that helpful. I think Aopen makes some desktop parts that will use them though, but you're stuck with an obsolete chipset if you do that. So, it's an option, but there are some tradeoffs with it beyond just the lower clock speed and cost of the processor.
  • SiliconJon - Tuesday, June 5, 2007 - link

    This is the first big disappointment I've come across here at Anandtech in the way of an article. Generally I find the articles to be very precise and technical, but I feel the comparisons are quite useless in this test setup just looking at the power consumption graphs. I really think this should have been more thorough, or at least much more precise and accurate in comparing technologica counterparts. Though it was interesting to see how far behind AMD's performance bar has fell. Where the heck are they going?

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