AMD 's new Athlon II processors aim to go easy on the power, your wallet

AMD has just outed a selection of new Athlon II procs, which do little to help it reclaim the performance crown, but will be of interest to anyone who likes to keep things minimal -- whether we're talking about prices or temperatures. Starting at $69 per chip (when bought in bulk) with the 2.7GHz dual-core X2 235e and topping out at $143 for the 2.3GHz quad-core X4 605e, AMD's new e-tagged processors operate within a 45W thermal envelope, as opposed to the relatively standard 65W TDP. The Sunnyvale outfit makes some ill-advised claims of "up to 75 percent" better performance versus comparable Intel CPUs -- the small print tells us that number is derived from 3DMark Vantage while testing with different GPUs -- but we suppose until the Thuban six-core shows up, AMD will have to take performance gains from wherever it can get 'em, including its own imagination.