The Progression of the Athlon II
The Phenom die structure allowed for L3 cache to be integrated into the CPU die for quicker data processing performance. This gave a performance boost over the Athlon chips but came with the higher cost of producing the larger chip die to accommodate the L3 cache. The Athlon die was updated to the newer AM3 socket, with the same architecture as the Phenom IIs, to allow growth within the new Athlon II series, as well. This update came at an important time in the progression to DDR3 memory, as the prices on RAM are coming down.
Now that the Athlon II has been born, with the introduction of the 250, the family is seeing a first for the AMD line of processors. The Athlon II family has held the economical standing for AMD by featuring low costs in die production by not including the L3 cache, giving the edge in the lower mainstream and budget markets to the powerful yet economical AMD Athlon family.
We are now seeing the next launch of the Athlon II line of processors. With this next line of processors, AMD is increasing the speed. This will drive down the existing model's prices and create a new line of affordable processors. The processors will remain AM3/AM2+ compatible and make a perfect match for all of the recently released 800-series chipsets. These new Athlons are also made with revision "C3" silicon.
The AMD 800-Series Chipset
The new 8- Series of AMD Motherboard chipsets introduce both USB and SATA 3.0. USB 3.0 draws its power from the NEC host controller; this is a Dual Simplex link that is bi-directional and, unlike USB 2.0 which is Half Duplex (one –way), it transfers data more efficiently.
Unlike SATA 3, which was first seen on Intel motherboards (Marvell chipset/3rd party), the AMD 800 Series motherboards run native SATA 3 via the 850 Southbridge chipset, which is a direct link to 6 SATA ports, alleviating the middle man. (Marvell)
The 890GX chipset contains an ATI HD 4290 integrated video, which is DirectX 10.1, has a 700MHz core, 40 unified shaders and, with added SidePort memory, is the most powerful integrated video card produced by AMD, to date. The HD 4290 is also capable of Picture in Picture Blu-Ray Playback and upscaling to 720p.
Other features include Hyper-Transport 3.0 (5.2 GT/s), HDMI, VGA and DVI video outputs, two PCI-e 2.0 (1 x 16/1x8) for discrete video, support for DDR3 1333 MHz memory and onboard HD audio.