|AMD Athlon-II X2-260 Regor Processor|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Monday, 07 June 2010|
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AMD Athlon-II X2 Final Thoughts
The launch of the Athlon-II brand marked a complete 45nm refresh of AMD's mainstream and enthusiast processors. On the high end, we have the Phenom-II X4's and X3's. Below that comes the recently launched Phenom-II X2 series, although some of these may actually be faster than the low end X3's in single-threaded applications. That leaves the Athlon-II's one notch lower, sitting directly in the mainstream market segment. These budget processors bring quad-core processing to under $100. The latest releases, just 100MHz speed bumps on the older versions of the same processors, will help fill in the gaps in the AMD processor line, providing a perfect fit for nearly any user.
Our tests have been focused on looking at the Athlon-II X2-260 as a potential purchase over the Athlon-II X2-255 at about $10 less and as an option over the X3-445 that sit at just $11 more expensive. The dual-core processor market has an established consumer base, and they are used by most gamers according to the most recent Steam Hardware Survey. The dual-core fan base is the highest on the hardware survey. Throughout our testing, we have proved very consistently that the Athlon-II X2-260 performs exactly where it should, at 3% higher than the X2-255. We have also discovered that it really can't compete with the value of the X3-445 when it comes to multi-core applications. While this doesn't come as a huge surprise, it is incumbent upon every user to weigh closely the advantages of those extra cores when considering which processors to purchase. If the majority of your programs are single or dual-core only, the X2-260 performs just as well as, or better than, the X3-445 for $11 less.
Of course, for users of entry-level processors, there isn't as large a need for multi-core usage as there is amongst enthusiast and high-end gamers who are going to opt for a quad-core processor anyway. Only the latest, most resource intensive games even utilize more than one core at this point. This is rapidly changing, and most new games coming out take advantage of extra cores, but it is still a new trend. As the trend continues, I think we will see more entry-level users opting for triple-core processors over low-end dual-coreprocessors with the price difference being so low.
With the Athlon-II X2-260 priced at only $76 dollars, it offers a great option for upgraders or individuals on a budget looking to get a new computer for basic home uses. AMD suggests using the newly released Athlon-II processors with the 890GX chipset. The new chipset really isn't all that different from the 790G chipset, in use now for quite a while. The main difference is the addition of built-in compatibility with SATA 6Gb/s. Given the extremely limited amount of hardware available that takes advantage of the new SATA standard, the compelling reasons to move to the 890GX chipset at this point are few. Look out for our upcoming reviews of new 890GX motherboards for more information on this.
That being said, after testing the Athlon-II X2-260 in both an 890GX motherboard and a 785G motherboard, I had more luck overclocking and better overall test results with the 785G. While this may be limited to only the two motherboards I used, and other 890GX motherboards might perform better, I think I can safely conclude that the benefits of upgrading to the 890GX chipset right now are not necessary. I highly recommend using the Athlon-II X2-260 in the 785G chipset. It works particularly well in the ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO motherboard. I would definitely look for a motherboard that offers the 128MB of DDR3 sideport memory if you are planning on using the onboard GPU. The Athlon-II X2-260 processor offers an excellent entry point for any budget minded user.