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Socket AM2 Processors

The table below contains the complete list of Socket AM2 processors that should be available in retail on June 1, 2006:

Note that the relation between the frequency, L2 cache memory size and performance rating of the Socket AM2 processors is the same as that of the Socket 939 processors. On the one hand, it will help the users to better find their way among the new processor characteristics, but on the other it is an indirect indication that AMD doesn’t expect any dramatic performance increase from the transition to the new core revision.

I would like to draw your attention to the fact that only dual-core processors are claimed to support the today’s fastest DDR2-800 SDRAM. As for the single-core CPUs, the official spec claims that they should only work with DDR2-667 memory. This is quite logical, since dual-core processors are in much higher need for memory bandwidth at least because system RAM deals with cache coherency issues for both cores.

Socket AM2 processor family got significantly larger thanks to the introduction of Energy Efficient processors with 65W and 35W thermal envelopes. These CPUs do not support the same high frequencies as their “fully-fledged” counterparts and cost a little bit more. However they promise to be extremely attractive in a number of applications such as small quiet systems, for instance. In other words, we do not expect Energy Efficient processors to get very widely spread just yet.

Nevertheless, you should remember that you can fairly easily identify new processors with lower thermal envelope. The third latter in the processor marking of the regular CPUs is “A”. The 65W solutions will have an “O” in the third position, while the most economical ones – the 35W ones – will be marked with a “D”.

Unfortunately, the transition to Socket AM2 form-factor is unlikely to make dual-core AMD processors more popular. Even though the transition helps enlarge the product range in the dual-core segment, it will not lead to any price drop there. All Athlon 64 X2 CPUs will continue shipping for over $300 a piece, which will hardly help them win more market. Especially, since Intel has thrown quite a bit of inexpensive dual-core processors into the market getting ready for the new Core micro-architecture based solutions. For example, the youngest dual-core processor from Intel has already dropped below the $150 bar. So, from this prospective looks like Intel is the primary force for further dual-core processors promotion.

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