|AMD Athlon-II X2-260 Regor Processor|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Monday, 07 June 2010|
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Closer Look: Athlon-II X2-260
The Athlon-II X2-260 is based on the Regor die. Regor is a native dual core die that is 117.5 mm2 and it has a transistor count of around 234 million transistors. The die is quite a bit smaller than the Phenom-II die, Deneb. This smaller size is primarily due to the lack of L3 cache altogether. The die is built using a 45 nm process technology with AMD's Immersion Lithography, which they say allows them to put more transistors in a smaller area. The Athlon-II X2-260 also has a 65 Watt TDP (Thermal Design Power/Point). The TDP is the max amount of power dissipated by the processor under normal circumstances. It isn't the max amount of power that the processor can consume, as overclocking and other circumstances might cause the CPU to draw more power that its TDP. The 65 Watt TDP for the Athlon-II X2-255 is the same for almost all the Athlon-II X2 processors, but it is quite a bit lower than X3, X4 or Phenom lines. This means you should have less heat and power consumption to worry about under normal operating settings.
The Athlon-II X2-260 has 2MB of total L2 cache, 1MB per core. This is somewhat advantages for the dual-core Athlon-II processors, since the quad-core Athlon-II processors only have 512KB of cache per core, for the same total of 2MB. At the same time, that also means that the Athlon-II X3 triple-core processors only have 512KB of cache per core for a total L2 cache of 1.5MB. This may not seem like a lot, but you never know what that extra 512KB of cache per core can come in handy, speeding up processors that are used often.
There are some differences between the Athlon-II X2-255 and its new counterpart, the Athlon-II X2-260. The first, and most obvious, is the 100Mhz bump in speed. As noted in CPUZ, the clock speed of the Athlon-II X2-260 is 3.2GHz. Another difference here is the RAM support. The Athlon-II X2-255 has supposedly raised the compatibility with DDR2 to 1066Mhz and DDR3 to 1333Mhz, according to AMD's website. However, AMD has now announced that, due to the use of C3 silicon in the Athlon-II X2-260, the compatibility is now really at 1066MHz for DDR2 RAM and 1333MHz for DDR3 RAM.
Other than that, the X2-260 is pretty identical to the X2-255, keeping the same 200Mhz bus speed and 2000Mhz HT Link. The HT Link was bumped up by 200Mhz for the Althon-II X2 line from the Athlon X2 line. The Athlon-II X2-260 is a Socket AM3 processor, but it can be used in a Socket AM2+ motherboard as well.
The memory controller for the Athlon-II X2-260 matches the HT Link at 2000Mhz and can be configured as either one 128 bit channel or two 64 bit channels. As I mentioned before, the supported memory is listed as DDR3-1333, but just as its predecessor, the X2-255, I'm sure it will easily support the DDR3-1600 memory in our test system. Also like its predecessor, the Athlon-II X2-260 comes with full virtualization support through AMD-V technology. This will be important if you plan on using XP mode in Windows 7.
Just as in previously released upgraded versions of prior CPUs, the Athlon-II X2-260 and its predecessor are almost exactly the same. The core multiplier on the X2-260 is set at 16 rather 15.5 and since the X2-260 is not a black edition processor, the multiplier is locked. That is not to say that the two processors are equal in their capabilities, however. With the higher multiplier, the Athlon-II X2-260 may have better overclocking capabilities. Also, as is normal in the technology industry, having made these processors for quite a while now, AMD will have become more efficient in producing better yields. The current processors will be more stable than their predecessors, especially when pushing them to the limit. Simply by increasing the bus speed to 246MHz, I was able to achieve a stable overclock of the Athlon-II X2-260 to 3.9GHz, while I had to push the bus speed to 250MHz to overclock the Athlon-II X2-255 to 3.8GHz. I was able to overclock the Athlon-II X2-260 even higher using a different motherboard. I will discuss this in further detail in the Overclocking section of this review.