AMD has been having a difficult time with the Intel Core 2 juggernaut, and until the company can get the native multi-core Phenom out the door, different strategies are needed. No more can AMD simply upgrade core speed and reach a new benchmark high, as not only is the Intel architecture superior, but the Core 2 Quad makes it difficult on the multi-threading end as well.
To counter this, AMD has been lowering prices while expanding their presence in markets like entry-level OEM computers, HTPC and small form-factor systems - areas that Intel has more trouble competing in. The latest AMD processor release mirrors this business strategy, and introduces the Athlon X2 BE-2350, a low-cost 45W desktop processor designed to leave a smaller power and thermal footprint.
AMD is introducing two new processors today, the Athlon X2 BE-2300 and BE-2350. Both are 65nm low-wattage models that support a max 45W power rating, and include the same basic architecture of a mainstream Athlon 64 X2. The internal dual core Brisbane architecture features 2x128K of L1 and 2x512K L2 cache, an integrated memory controller, and 32/64-bit support. The Athlon X2 BE-2300 runs at 1.9 GHz while the BE-2350 ups this to 2.1 GHz. The clock speeds may seem a bit sedate compared to higher-end Athlon 64 X2 models, but these low-wattage processors are both targeted at a variety of potential markets, including energy-efficient/low noise designs, HTPC/DTX platforms, and even penny-pinching businesses seeking to lower operating costs.
The processor name is another notable change, and these new processors have the "64" removed from the "Athlon X2" product name. AMD has stated that since 64-bit processing is now ubiquitous, the "64" notation is simply not necessary. AMD is also introducing a brand new naming hierarchy. In the case of the Athlon X2 BE-2350, the first two alpha characters (BE) represent the processor class and TDP (Thermal Design Power). The first numeric digit (2) indicates the processor series and the last three digits (350) indicate the relative position of the CPU within its class - the higher the number, the higher the performance and/or features. This may initially seem both confusing and arbitrary, but as additional processor models are released, a better overall picture should emerge.
AMD also plans to ramp up production to allow for immediate availability of these new part, and not relive the allocation issues of the prior 35W processor release. Demand was higher than anticipated, and AMD seems to have learned their lesson and will be primed and ready for this low-wattage Athlon X2 BE -2300 and BE-2350 release.