AMD releases new low- and mid-range chips, socket type

The company continues to aggressively pursue the affordable and entry level market.

In recent days, AMD introduced new entry level Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) as well as a new socket design, its first in some time, for the low-end market. While Intel continues to push up, into the performance market, AMD continues its pursuit of the more affordable PC space.

The AM1 socket is targeted at entry-level and low-power desktop PCs. The platform, previously known as socket FS1b, works with dual- and quad-core "Kabini" APUs. These APUs will be sold under the Athlon and Sempron brand names.

The AM1 socket will support chips that use the "Jaguar" CPU microarchitecture and Graphics Core Next GPU architecture. This is the same technology used in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles. The chips can support up to 16GB of memory, USB 3.0 and SATA 6 GB/s I/O interfaces.

Earlier in the month, there were reports AMD planned to issue 4 different SKUs in the AM1 line, running at up to 2.05 GHz with a TDP power draw of just 25 watts. This would make them ideal not just for entry level PCs but also very small or thin PCs, desktop and laptop. The Semprons were reported to be $35 to $39, in lots of 1,000, while the Athlons would be $45 and $54, in lots of 1,000.

OEM partners supporting the AM1 socket include ASRock, ASUS, BIOSTAR, ECS, Gigabyte and MSI. Platform components and desktop PCs with socket AM1 will be available at the beginning of April in some regions, and on April 9 worldwide.

AMD also introduced three more chips in the "Kaveri" family of APUs, which use the newer "Steamroller" microarchitecture and Radeon R7 graphics core. Kaveri are a completely different animal from the AM1 line and Kabini and aimed at a more mid-range performance market.

The earlier processors in the Kaveri line, three in total, were quad-core CPUs, while these three new chips are dual core, but run at very high clock rates and have a turbo boost speed when one core is shut off. After that they are pretty much identical in terms of specs: 1MB of L2 cache, support for DDR3-1333 memory and a 65 watt TDP.

The A4-4020 runs at 3.2GHz or 3.4GHz in turbo mode, while the A4-6320 runs at 3.8GHz/4.0Ghz. The A6-6420K is part of AMD's "Black Edition" line, meaning it's meant for the crazy overclockers who like to crank their system up by a few gigahertz. Out of the box, it does 4.0Ghz/4.2Ghz.

Pricing for the new chips range from $49.99 for the A4-4020 to $74.99 for the A6-6420K. All are in stores now.

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