AMD quietly launches first K10 dual-core CPUs

Started by dhilipkumar, Dec 16, 2008, 08:48 PM

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Sunnyvale (CA) - Two new CPUs showed up in AMD's processor price lists this morning - the Athlon X2 7750 in the public version as well as the 7550 model for OEMs. The new chips went largely unnoticed and even AMD did not make a big deal out of them. But we at TG Daily believe that these two processors deserve a note since they are the first dual-core chips based on AMD's 65 nm K10 or "Stars" architecture, which is the foundation for its Phenom X4 and X3 CPUs as well.

A generic "dual-core" CPU does not generate big headlines these days anymore. And if it is based on a "last generation" manufacturing process, there may be even less interest in it. Perhaps this is the reason that AMD decided against a formal announcement of its new CPUs and simply added them to its product portfolio this morning.

The new CPUs are part of the Athlon X2 product family, but carry a new 7000-series number sequence. The 7750 and 7550 (available to OEMs only) depart from the old 65 nm (K8) Brisbane core and use the "Kuma" core, which is based on the K10 or Stars architecture (the K10 name does not officially exist, according to AMD.) Built in 65 nm, the chips are released more than half a year after their initially planned release and offer clock speeds of 2.5 and 2.7 GHz. Like the preceding Brisbane core, Kuma comes with 128 KB L1 data cache, 128 KB L1 instruction cache and 1 MB L2 cache. However, Kuma adds 2 MB L3 cache - Brisbane CPUs do not integrate L3 cache.

Other changes include the support of DDR2-1066 memory as well as SSE4A instructions. Benchmarks on hardware websites such as X-bit Labs indicate that the Kuma core may have, depending on the application, a 5-25% performance advantage over a Brisbane processor running at the same clock speed. However, this performance gain comes at a price: While Brisbane chips are rated at a thermal design power of 65 and 89 watts, the new Kuma chips come with a 95 watts spec. That rating translates into real world power increases, according to X-bit labs: The site's Athlon X2 6000 system ran at 125 watts when idle and at 188 watts under load. The 7750 version consumed 153 watts when idle and 218 watts under load. 

The Athlon X2 7750 is currently listed with a tray-price of $79, just above the $76 the company charges for its Athlon X2 6000. With a quick look over to Intel, the same $79 would not be enough to buy you a Core 2 Duo-class processor. Intel currently sells the Pentium Dual-Core E2220 (2.4 GHz, 65 nm) for $74 and the E5200 (2.5 GHz, 45 nm) for $84. The cheapest Core 2 Duo, the E7200, lists for $113.

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