Articles: CPU

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Testing Participants

It seems that both, AMD and Intel, do not currently have much to offer in the price range we picked.

AMD Processors

AMD solutions for low-end platforms usually belong to the Sempron family. The Sempron lineup has become considerably less numerous by now and the official price-list only has one solution in it: Sempron 140. This CPU is really cheap and is priced at only $36. Low price is not the only peculiarity of Sempron 140 CPU. It seems to be a combination of several contradicting features: it is Socket AM3 compatible, supports DDR3 SDRAM and has only one processor core. Moreover, this pretty “old school” CPU uses 45 nm Sargas core that is similar in microarchitecture to Deneb, Propus and Regor.

Never-ending competition against Intel forces AMD to constantly reduce their prices in the mainstream segment. That is why it is quite logical that even with a very limited budget you can count on a CPU from a way higher category than Sempron. For example, Athlon II X2 240, which is officially priced at $60. It is a common dual-core CPU on Regor core that has no L3 cache, but have 1 MB of L2 cache memory per each core.

The third value AMD processor participating in our today’s test session is Athlon II X2 215, which is not in the official price list, but nevertheless exists. The thing is that this mysterious processor is only available through OEM channels, which, however, doesn’t prevent users from buying it in retail as well. In terms of pricing, Athlon II X2 215 is somewhere in-between Athlon II X2 240 and Sempron 140: this CPU is available for about $50. At the same time, like other Athlon II X2 solutions, this CPU is Socket AM3 compatible, has two computational cores and works at a relatively high clock frequency. Only its L2 cache has been cut down to 512 KB per core.

We have also included the previous generation Athlon X2 processors on 65 nm semiconductor die into our today’s roundup of low-cost CPUs. Although these processors are pretty outdated already, they are still widely available in computer stores. For example, on a budget in question you can easily purchase Athlon X2 5600+, which formal specifications do not look that bad at all: its clock frequency is even higher than that of Athlon II X2 240, and L2 cache is 512 KB per core. So, this processor may in fact turn out a good choice, which we are going to check out during the actual tests.

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