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AMD Phenom II X2

The entire diverse lineup of Phenom II processors is an excellent example of unification. Phenom II X2 500 family we are going to talk about today is the fourth CPU modification based on the same Deneb semiconductor die that was first employed in Phenom II X4 900 CPUs. Moreover, Phenom II X2 seems to be the most irrational use for the initial quad-core die, because in this case two cores are disabled. However, on the other hand, the remaining dual-core CPU with an L3 cache is also a remarkable example of efficient resource utilization: thanks to Phenom II X2, AMD can find good use for dies with multiple defective cores.

This CPU “piece” is called Callisto. It is on one of the edges of the Phenom II genealogical tree: there are no more cut-off modifications of the new 45nm die anywhere on AMD’s roadmap.

As you may easily guess, the new Phenom II X2 500 inherit all the major features from their elder brothers due to the fact that they are based on the same semiconductor die. The primary ones are compatibility with Socket AM3 mainboards and support of fast DDR3 SDRAM. Of course, the new dual-core processors can also be installed into the Socket AM2/AM2+ mainboards, just like all other Phenom II CPUs. In other words, new dual-core Phenom II X2 can be used in the new systems and as an upgrade for the existing ones.

At the same time although Phenom II X2 is a sort of a side product for AMD, the company took the specifications of this solution very seriously. Besides a 6MB L3 cache (the same size cache as that of Phenom II X4 900 processors), these solutions have pretty high clock speeds. The top Phenom II X2 550 processor works at 3.1GHz frequency, which is only 100MHz lower than that of the flagship Phenom II solution – Phenom II X4 955. Moreover, the calculated heat dissipation of the Phenom II X2 500 series processors is lower than that of all triple- and quad-core Phenom II CPUs due to fewer active cores (the only exception are the energy-efficient models). It equals only 80W.

The following table with specifications should give you a better idea of the position the new dual-core newcomers take in AMD’s current Phenom II processor lineup.

We received the top Phenom II X2 550 model for our tests. You can see its specifications in the CPU-Z screenshot below:

As we can see, the utility shows that the codename of our sample is Deneb, which is actually not wrong. But at the same time it is important to keep in mind that AMD has its own unique name for this quad-core die with two disabled computational cores used for Phenom II X2 550 processors. They call it Callisto.

You can also see from the screenshot that Phenom II X2 550 processor belongs to the Black Edition series, i.e. has an unlocked multiplier and hence can be easily overclocked. Considering the price of these processors that will be set at around $102 (according to official information), Phenom II X2 550 may become a good choice for budget overclocker platforms. Especially since new AMD processors based on a 45nm core have pretty good frequency potential.

AMD Phenom II X2 550 is not the only solution in the Phenom II X2 500 family launched today. At the same time AMD is announcing a 3GHz Phenom II X2 545, which will compete against Intel Core 2 Duo E7000 processors just like its twin-brother. However, before we get to comparative benchmarking, let’s take a closer look at another new solution AMD prepared for us today.

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