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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  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, June 5, 2007 - link

    Intel won't send us any of the lower end E series chips, but from my search it doesn't look like the E2160 is actually much of a value, it's barely cheaper than the cheapest E4300 and far more difficult to find at this point. All of this should hopefully change as availability increases, but for now the E4300 is the better buy.

    Take care,
  • Omega215D - Tuesday, June 5, 2007 - link

    Newegg has them in stock along with the lower 2140. IMO I don't see any reason to buy them since they are only $20 - 30 less but have only 1MB cache while the E4300 has 2MB. I'm also pretty sure that when you overclock both of them the E4300 will definitely come out ahead.

    While I'm here, I currently have a Socket 939 PCIe mobo with a A64 3000 in there. I was thinking of upgrading to an Athlon 64 X2 3800 ($83) along with another 1GB of HyperX RAM ($91). With the upcoming processors from both teams coming out and DDR3 should do the upgrade listed above, upgrade to a Core 2 Duo for now or just wait for the next gen stuff?
  • Calin - Wednesday, June 6, 2007 - link

    DDR3 won't come down fast in price - but for now, DDR2 is cheaper and faster than DDR.
    Depends on how much money you want to pay - for $200, a new processor and extra RAM would be the solution. If you want to pay more, and can get some money from the old configuration, maybe a cheap Core2Duo, overclocked, would be the better solution.
    I don't know what price drops are in the future, but maybe a slow, 4MB cache Core2Duo (E6320) would be the best solution - depends on available supply
  • SilthDraeth - Tuesday, June 5, 2007 - link

    You show the new BE processor using more power than the x2 5000+ at idle.

    Should it be the other way around?
  • defter - Tuesday, June 5, 2007 - link

    Yes, but because of lower voltage and not because of lower nominal clockspeed.

    Many people forget that when Cool&quiet is enabled, K8 CPUs will decrease their clockspeed to 1GHz. Thus, it doesn't matter much wherever the original speed was 3GHz or 2GHz, in both cases CPUs will be running at 1GHz while idling.
  • SilthDraeth - Tuesday, June 5, 2007 - link

    I understand that, but it was my understanding that the BE is running at a lower voltage than the 5000+. The older EE 35W is the lowest for AMD out of the three reviewed.

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