AMD Athlon II X2 255, X3 440, X4 635, Phenom II X2 555, and X4 910e Reviewajmatson -
Price: $74 - $169
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With the new year started and the conclusion of CES 2010 a few weeks ago, AMD has released several new processors aimed at the mid-market and energy conscious computer enthusiasts to give our hardware sweet tooth a computer fix, while kicking off the new decade. AMD has always payed attention to the budget-minded computer enthusiast, releasing products that offer a great bang for the buck when it comes to components. Their processor lines, including the Athlon II and Phenom II, are for the most part very low in cost, however, they provide the power that us gamers and overclocking junkies need and crave. This time is no different. The processors that we will be taking a look at are updates to both of the CPU lines, and vary in clock speeds as well as core count. For the Athlon II line, AMD has the new dual core Athlon II X2 255, a triple core Athlon II X3 440, and a quad core Athlon II X4 635. For the Phenom II line, there is the new Phenom II X2 555 and the energy efficient quad core Phenom II X4 910e. The price ranges for these new processors one in the market are expected to be between $74 for the Athlon II dual core, up to $169 for the energy efficient Phenom II X4 910e.
Since these are all socket AM3 processors, they still keep the same characteristics of the AM3 design which included backwards compatibility with AM2+ boards using DDR2 memory, as well as with AM3 boards using DDR3 memory. All of the processors also run with HyperTransport 3.0, for increased processor-to-system bandwidth and the quickest transfer speeds possible. For the Phenom II line below, there is the Phenom II X4 910e which is an energy efficient quad core offering a clock speed of 2.6GHz, an L2 cache of 2MB which breaks down to 512KB per core, and a shared L3 cache of 6MB. The other Phenom II is the Phenom II X2 555, which is a dual core processor featuring a clock speed of 3.2GHz, an L2 cache of 1MB which is 512KB per core, and a shared L3 of 6MB as well. To kick off the Athlon II side, there is the dual core Athlon II X2 255 which is clocked at 3.1GHz with an L2 cache of 2MB, translating to 1MB per core. Then there is the triple core version the Athlon II X3 440, which is clocked at 3.0GHz and has a total L2 cache of 1.5MB, also 512KB per core. Finally, rounding out the new processors is the quad core Athlon II X4 635 which is clocked just a bit lower then the other two at 2.9GHz, It has a total L2 cache of 2MB, which is 512KB per core. Together, all of them offer DDR3 and DDR2 support, as well as being backwards compatable with AM2+ motherboards, which makes upgrading your hardware less stressful since you can choose what and when to upgrade your components without having to drop down a lot of cash when keeping up with the latest processor releases, unlike Intel's plentiful CPU sockets.
Now that we have them all out and the basics discussed, let's plug these babies in and see where the performance is.