AMD Expands Phenom II, Athlon II Processor Lineup

AMD launched five new processors today, expanding it's Phenom II and Athlon II lines with chips geared towards the budget-conscious Windows 7 user.

The chips hover comfortably close to the $100 price bracket, but only offer a minor speed-bump over their predecessors. This might be good news for folks looking to upgrade, but with Intel's recent Clarkdale and Arrandale releases hogging the spotlight, AMD has a bit of catching up to do.

Of primary interest is the 3.2 GHz Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition, dubbed AMD's fastest dual-core desktop processor. Priced at a a budget-friendly $99 (suggested price tag for bulk orders), the part replaces a 3.1 GHz chip. If you're looking for a quad-core performance, the 2.9 GHz Athlon II X4 635 is being offered at a palatable $119. It also offers a meager 0.1 GHz performance bump over its predecessor.

AMD isn't necessarily looking to blow its competition out of the water with this announcement. What they lack in raw performance, the chips stand to make up in competitive pricing -- four cores in the vicinity of $120 is nothing to scoff at, particularly for fans of multithreaded applications. And things aren't exactly dormant -- two of AMD's new x86 architectures -- codenamed Bulldozer and Bobcat -- are set to arrive in 2011, as is Llano, their answer to integrated GPU and CPU solutions.

Nevertheless, the company faces an uphill battle: competitor Intel posted a 10% jump in profit for the fourth quarter, and being first out the gate with impressive new processors is sure to make an impact on those of us who've been hit by the upgrading bug.

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