AMD Unveils Budget Processors

Three of the chips are priced below $100 and targeted for low-cost Windows 7 desktops.
Advanced Micro Devices on Monday introduced three sub-$100 processors for budget Windows 7 desktops.

Two of the chips are Athlon II processors and the third is a Phenom II chip. AMD also unveiled two quad-core desktop CPUs that cost more than $100.

The Athlon II X2 255 has thermal design power of 65 watts and a clock speed of 3.1 GHz. Computer makers buying in batches of 1,000 units pay $74.

The other two budget chips include the triple-core Athlon II X3 440, which has a TDP of 95 watts and a clock speed of 3.0 GHz, and the dual-core AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition with a TDP of 80 watts and clock speed of 3.2 GHz. The chips cost $84 and $99, respectively, in batches of 1,000.

The new quad-core products include the Athlon II X4 635 and the Phenom II X4 910e, which cost $119 and $169, respectively. The former runs at 2.9 GHz and requires 95 watts of TDP, while the latter requires 65 watts and runs at 2.6 GHz.

AMD says the new products are aimed at consumer desktops used for entertainment, casual gaming, digital file editing, and social media networking. AMD recommends pairing the chips with its ATI Radeon 5800 Series graphics cards and AMD 7-series chipsets.

Earlier this month, AMD introduced a $99 graphics card that supports DirectX 11, Microsoft's latest collection of Windows technology for handling multimedia tasks, such as games and video.

The ATI Radeon HD 5670 gives many owners of lower-priced mainstream desktops the option of boosting graphics performance without spending a lot of money. DirectX 11 ships with Windows 7, but can also be installed in Vista.

Sales of low-priced Windows PCs kept the consumer market afloat last year in the face of the economic recession. Systems, laptops, and desktops ranging from $300 to less than $800 were a major driver of the 2.3% growth in shipments last year from 2008, according to IDC. Rival Gartner reported a 5.2% growth rate.

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