AMD has released its first dual-core processors based on a design that is similar to that of the Phenom quad-core processors. The Athlon X2 7000 series is designed for budget desktops.
Until now, the dual-core Athlon processors were based on an older K8 design, while the triple-core Phenom X3 and quad-core Phenom X4 use a newer design often referred to as K10, though AMD calls it 10h. The Athlon X2 7000 series are the first dual-core processors that use the 10h design, which means that like Phenoms, they have three levels of cache and support HyperTransport 3.0. Although there had been many news reports speculating on a dual-core chip code-named Kuma, the X2 7000 series did not appear on the client processor roadmap that AMD presented at its analyst day last month.
There are two Athlon X2 7000 series processors: the 2.5GHz Athlon X2 7550, which is only available to computer manufacturers, and a 2.7GHz Athlon X2 7750 Black Edition, which is priced at $79. As you might guess from the price, these chips will show up in low-end desktops based on Cartwheel consumer platform, which also includes the AMD 780G chipset and ATI Radeon 3200 integrated graphics. In the press materials, AMD states that the new processors have "strong OEM support" and "well-known manufacturers are expected to offer new desktop PCs featuring AMD Athlon X2 7000 series processors," though it gave no details.
Like the current Phenom processors, the Athlon X2 7000 series is manufactured at 65nm. Last month, AMD shipped its first 45nm chips, quad-Core Opteron processors for servers. And at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, AMD will announce its first 45nm desktop chips, Phenom IIs, at speeds up to 3.0GHz. These will be part of a new high-end desktop platform code-named Dragon.