CPU Buying Guide

AMD Phenom

Taking over from the Athlon will be the AMD Phenom, which, at the time of writing, was still not available on the market. The Phenom will be manufactured using a 65-nanometre process, so it will be much smaller and should run cooler than the Athlon CPUs and it will be available in various configurations. For example, there will be dual-core, tri-core and quad-core versions of the Phenom, which should suit a wide range of budgets and needs. For enthusiasts, the Phenom Quad-FX platform will allow two quad-core Phenom CPUs to be plugged in to one motherboard, which will provide eight-core (or octa-core) computing.

What is Cool 'n' Quiet?

Cool and Quiet

Cool 'n' Quiet is AMD's proprietary CPU throttling technology that dynamically changes the CPU multiplier and voltage depending on the workload you're placing on it. This means that if you're merely pottering around the web, it'll scale back the processor speed and power consumption, but if you then launch into some heavy duty video encoding, it'll ramp back up. AMD claims that it's capable of reducing power consumption by up to 40 watts. From an end-user standpoint, it's very similar to Intel's mobile Speedstep technology, although AMD's chosen to implement it on desktop processors. AMD's mobile equivalent for Cool 'n' Quiet, which more closely mirrors Intel's Speedstep, is called AMD PowerNow!.

What is Enhanced Virus Protection?

Enhanced Virus Protection is a security technology implemented in AMD's Athlon 64/FX lines, and some of its Sempron lines. It works in concert with Windows XP Service Pack 2 to stop certain applications from running into a situation where by overflowing memory buffers, system security is compromised.

What is HyperTransport?

HyperTransport is a technology originally known as Lightning Data Transport (LDT), jointly developed by AMD and other partner companies. It's an extremely high-speed system bus that's currently used by AMD and other HyperTransport Consortium members, such as Apple. Within AMD's architectures, hypertransport provides a link running at up to 2600MHz, capable of shuffling up to 20GB/sec between the processor and the main system.

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