If you are a regular on our site you may have noticed that there were very few articles about dual-core processors launched within past year – you can count them with the fingers of your one hand. However, it doesn’t mean that we favor the multi-core concept more. On the contrary, every time we can we keep mentioning that the performance of CPUs with two computational cores is more than sufficient for the current stage of software market development. Not so much interest to the “dual-core” market segment may be explained by the fact that it has almost completely ceased developing, since the leading x86 CPU makers focus most their efforts on development and promotion of quad-core solutions in the first place. All activity on the dual-core front has long been limited either to slight increase in the clock frequencies of the existing processor families, or to lowering of their prices.
However, small changes like that have finally produced a good result, which we have discussed in our article called “Inexpensive Dual-Core: AMD Athlon X2 vs. Intel Pentium”. As we learned, dual-core AMD solutions were no longer serious rivals to Intel Core 2 Duo processors and were only competing against inexpensive Intel Celeron processor models. Our tests showed that even relatively new Athlon X2 7000 series processors couldn’t be considered a competitive alternative even to Pentium CPUs on Wolfdale-2M core, not to mention more serious Intel solutions.
Nevertheless, AMD’s current “renaissance” inspired by the introduction and distribution of the new 45nm cores does make a few adjustments to this situation. For example, triple-core Phenom II X3 700 processors proved quite competitive and with a few allowances they can be regarded as an alternative to Intel Core 2 Duo. However, it is obvious that AMD needs several good dual-core offerings performing at a competitive level to secure their position in the mainstream market segment. AMD specialists also understand that very well that is why it was one of the company’s top priorities to launch refreshed processor models on the newest 45nm cores.
So, finally, AMD is filling in the gap in their own product range by launching so long-awaited dual-core CPUs priced between $70 and $120 – one of the hottest and most demanded price-ranges. Moreover, AMD prepared a very pleasant and unexpected surprise for their fans by launching two new generation dual-core processor families at a time: Phenom II X2 and Athlon II X2. The CPUs in the first family are cut-down derivatives of Phenom II processors with more cores, while Athlon II X2 is actually more of an independent product, which is still a little similar to Phenom II in microarchitecture and some other parameters. We are going to introduce to you CPUs from both these families in our today’s review and see if these dual-core solutions can help AMD turn things around.