AMD, Nvidia Unveil New Processors

AMD and Nvidia on Wednesday each launched new processors that resemble current offerings, with some slight performance enhancements.

AMD released three new processors in its Phenom II and Athlon II product families. The two Phenom II Black Edition processors are the X2 565 and the 1100T. Both include an unlocked multiplier that simplifies overclocking.

The high-end Phenom II X6 1100T CPU is designed to run heavily-threaded applications such as video editing. The Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition runs at 3.3 GHz on six cores. It will replace AMD's first six-core processor, the Phenom II X6 1090T. The 1100T boasts a slight improvement in clock speed from 3.2 GHz to 3.3 GHz, and can go up to 3.7 GHZ with AMD's Turbo Boost technology.

The 1100T offers the same amount of L2 and L3 cache as the 1090. Both include 125 watts of thermal design power and both were manufactured based on the same 45nm production process.

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The Phenom II X6 1100t comes with AMD's unified socket design allowing the CPU to operate on any currently available AMD motherboard, both the AM3 and AM2+ sockets, which makes it suitable for those seeking an upgrade.

AMD in September launched six-core versions of both Phenom and Athlon product families as a more affordable alternative to Intel's desktop CPUs. In keeping with AMD's recent emphasis on power-efficiency and cost-efficiency over performance, the high-end 1100T offers a greater advantage in pricing than it does in terms of processing speed. The 1100T is available starting at $265, while its predecessor, the 1090T, is available at a reduced price of $235.

AMD is also offering a dual-core Black Edition processor, the Phenom II X2 565 Black Edition. Each of the X2 565's two cores runs at 3.4 GHz and includes 6 MB of L3 cache. It will replace the Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition, which runs at 3.2 GHz.

Available at a starting price of $112, the Phenom II X2 565 is a more affordable alternative for users who seek the performance boost of overclocking that the unlocked multiplier makes possible, but have no need for more than two processing cores.

The third of AMD's new processor is the Athlon II X3 455, which includes three cores running at 3.3 GHz. The 455 will replace the Athlon II X3 450, which ran at 3.2 GHz. It's available for a starting price of $87.

Next: Nvidia's New GPU

Meanwhile, rival Nvidia has launched a new graphics processor, the GeForce GTX 570, which Nvidia says offers 25 percent faster performance than the GTX 480 card that it will replace.

The GTX 570's clocks at graphics processor speeds of up to 732 MHz, compared to 700 MHz for the GTX 480. Its processor clock speed is 1,464 MHz, compared to 1,401 MHz for the GTX 480, and its memory clock is 3,800 MHz, compared to 1,848 MHz or the GTX 480.

Despite having the same shader count as the GTX 480, the 570 resembles the GTX 470 graphics card more in certain ways. Like the GTX 470, the GTX 570 is aimed at graphics-intensive gaming. The GTX 570 includes four GPU Clusters and 15 streaming multiprocessors. For gamers seeking to learn more about the specifications of their GeForce chip and how to optimize its capabilities, Nvidia recently launched a GeForce support site, with information on each of the GTX graphics cards. The GTX 570 is a follow-up to the successful high-end GTX 580 GPU which Nvidia launched last month . It is based on the same GF 110 Fermi core for parallel processing, also known as CUDA, and includes 480 CUDA cores, 60 texture units, and 40 ROP units. It includes a 320-bit memory bus and 20 percent higher texture fill and pixel rates compared to the GTX 470.

Nvidia said in a statement that aside from performance, the GTX 570 offers quieter operation thanks to a new thermal solution that debuted in the GTX 580, with a custom vapor chamber, reduced fan vibration, and a blower-style fan that releases hot air from the back of the system chassis.

The GeForce GTX 570 is expected to compete with AMD's upcoming Radeon HD 6900 series, code-named Cayman in the high-end graphics space. The GTX 570 is available from Nvidia's distributors for a list price of $349.