AMD has formally announced its new range of AMD Athlon II processors, dropping power consumption for its more affordable range, without cutting down on performance.

The AMD II range now includes two more quad cores – the AMD Athlon X4, 605e and X4 600e - four triple cores - X3 435, X3 425, X3 405e and X400e - and a pair of dual cores - X2 240e and X2 235e.

Both of the quad cores have a thermal design power (TDP) of 45w, with the more expensive 605e a 2.3GHz compared to the 600e's 2.2 GHz.

Attractive price points

"AMD today announced several new AMD Athlon II processors that offer outstanding performance and low power consumption, while enabling sleek desktop PC designs and attractive price points," said AMD.

"In addition to the standard power processors, the full AMD Athlon II processor family now delivers high-performance, low-power dual-, triple- and quad-core processors to meet a range of computing needs.

"This variety and value enables OEMs and system builders to develop compelling PC solutions that address the market shift to power efficient, innovative PC designs optimized for Windows 7."

Athlon or Phenom?

So what's the difference between the popular Phenom processors and their Athlon brethren?

Well, Athlons are built for the less power hungry 'mainstream' consumer, those who are not looking to push their computer to the max.

In AMD's own words: "AMD Athlon II processors bring together value and multi-core processing power to deliver excellent mainstream performance.

"Mainstream users will find the performance of AMD Athlon II processors is more than sufficient for everyday PC use and maps well to the average consumer's computing needs."