AMD Athlon X2 BE-2350: Mainstream X2s with 45W TDPby Anand Lal Shimpi on June 5, 2007 4:09 PM EST
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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.