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AMD Socket AM3: X2 550 Black

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July 6th, 2009

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AMD Socket AM3: X2 550 Black Edition Review

While the Club may sometimes be late to the party, be assured that we never miss the boat.  Such is the case with the launch of AMD's launch of the Phenom II X2 550 and Athlon X2 250, thanks to a few scheduling conflicts and hardware disasters.  Today, we remedy that problem with our take on the Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition.

Like all Black Edition parts, the X2 550 is an unlocked CPU directly aimed at the overclocker market, and like the X3 720 and the X4 810, the X2 550 is built from the same die as the full fledged X4 quad cores.  What this means is that the X2 550 will carry all of the same strengths that Deneb carries as an architecture.  However, the potential side benefit of the disabled cores of the X2 could be improved overclocking headroom on the two remaining cores.  We can hope that with the reduced heat load, and the two weak cores disabled, that the remaining two cores will have plenty of breathing room to run.  Of course, we can also hope that the disabled cores can be unlocked, making for a potentially dirt cheap quad core. 

  AMD X2 550 Black Edition

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MSRP $110
Model Number X2 550 BE
Processor Frequency 3.1GHz
L3 Cache Size 6MB L3
Nominal Voltage 0.850-1.425V
Common AM3 Specs
L1 Cache Sizes: 64K of L1 instruction and 64K of L1 data cache per core
L2 Cache Sizes: 512KB of L2 data cache per core
L3 Cache Size: 6MB (shared)
Memory Controller Type: Integrated 128-bit wide memory controller *
Memory Controller Speed: Up to 2.0GHz with Dual Dynamic Power Management (all current AM3 processors)
Types of Memory Supported: Support for unregistered DIMMs up to PC2 8500 (DDR2-1066MHz) -AND- PC3 (DDR3-1333MHz)**
HyperTransport 3.0 Link: One 16-bit/16-bit link @ up to 4.0GHz full duplex (2.0GHz x2)
Total Processor Bandwidth: Up to 37.3 GB/s total bandwidth
Packaging: Socket AM3 938-pin organic micro pin grid array (micro-PGA)
Fab location: Global Foundaries Fab 1 Module 1
Process Technology: 45-nanometer DSL SOI (silicon-on-insulator) technology
Approximate Transistor count: ~ 758 million (45nm)
Approximate Die Size: 258 mm2 (45nm)
Max Ambient Case Temp / X4 CPUs: 70o Celsius
Nominal Voltage: 0.850-1.425V
Max TDP: 80 Watts 

*Note:  MC configurable for dual 64-bit channels for simultaneous read/writes
**Note:  for DDR3-1333, AM3 boards will support 1-DIMM-per-channel @ 1333MHz

Obviously, the specs of the X2 BE are very similar to the rest of the Deneb based architectures, though in the case of the X3s, they are known as Heka core, and in the X2s, AMD has chosen the code name of Callisto.  At less than half the price of the X4 955, the Callisto core should also fit in quite well in the price-to-performance aspect as well. 

So what do you say we dive straight into the overclocking?


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