Difference Between AMD Athlon and AMD Phenom

The proliferated use and evolvement of technology in the last few decades along with the development of human minds has helped the tech world achieve innumerable heights.


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One of these heights has been the development of processors of desktops.

The AMD Athlon and Phenom are two of those processors that have been in rapid use.

AMD Athlon vs AMD Phenom

The difference between the AMD Athlon and Phenom is that the AMD Athlon processors do not possess an L3 cache, whereas the Phenom processors have an L3 cache, which enhances the performance of the processors due to the restricted trips to the main memory.

AMD Athlon vs AMD Phenom

The AMD Athlon is AMD’s current flagship for desktops. It ranges from the earlier single-core processors to the newest multi-core processors, which provide greater performance and higher speed.

These processors are known for their tri-core design and support for all types of motherboards.

While the AMD Phenom is the newer version of processors developed by the company. These processors come with a multi-core cache that allows these processors to work at a faster rate.

Also, there is a separate clock that works at a constant rate to keep the memory working at full speed even when the processor has throttled down.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAMD AthlonAMD Phenom
Model It is the established flagship model of the company. These are the newer models of processors manufactured by the company.
Price RangeIt is relatively cheaper than the AMD Phenom. It is costlier than the AMD Athlon processors, as they are multi-core processors.
Support for Motherboards The AMD Athlon supports all types of motherboards.The AMD Phenom does not support all types of motherboards.
Power ConsumptionIt consumes lesser power. Due to the presence of a separate clock and DDPM, the AMD Phenom consumes more power.
Module Support AMD Athlon supports only up to DDR2-800 modules. AMD Phenom supports DDR2-1066 modules.

What is AMD Athlon?

The AMD Athlon is a microprocessor for desktops manufactured and designed by Advanced Micro Devices. The CPU cache on the Athlon is divided into two standard levels.

The Athlon is considered as the first x86 processor which uses a 128 KB 1 cache of split level, which was split into 264 KB for data and instructions.

The name Athlon is a Greek word that means ‘prize of a contest’. The first model of the AMD Athlon processor was produced and launched on June 23, 1999.

It was manufactured as the first seventh-generation with x86 processor and to be the first desktop processor to run at a speed of one gigahertz. In 2019, AMD released the contemporary Zen-based Athlon which had a Radeon Graphics processor.

It is considered as the highest-performance entry-level processor of the company.

After the development of 2x64KB, the company integrated with L2 cache models, thus abolishing the need for external chips.

The company gained its significance in the market when it launched the Athlon Thunderbird, which consisted of a 256KB chip, thus providing considerable speed as compared to the first model.

The latest version of the AMD Athlon processor is the Zen-based Athlon processor. It was launched in 2018 and is one of the most used processors in desktops due to its high speed.

It consists of an L2 cache of 1MB and the L1 cache is 192KB. It comes with a maximum of 64GB Dual-Channel DDR4-2666 memory.

The CPU clock rate works at a reputed speed of 3.2 to 3.5 GHz, which allows the processor to compete against the Intel Pentium.

What is AMD Phenom?

The AMD Phenom is a desktop processor of 64-bit which is developed based on the K10 micro-architecture. The presence of the L3 cache gives an edge over L2 and L1 cache memories.

The L3 cache memory provides significant speed due to the lessened trips on the main memory.

Because such processors contain a monolithic multi-core architecture (which means that all cores on the same silicon die), AMD believes them to be of real quad-core design of the first type, and unlike Core 2 Quad series of the Intel company, which had a design of multi-chip module (MCM).

The CPUs are Socket AM2+ are built with compatibility. The presence of HyperTransport 3.0 in the Phenom processors provides great bandwidth, which improves the overall performance.

The Phenom processor line’s model numbers were altered as it uses the PR system in the predecessor of the family of AMD Athlon 64 processor.

The Phenom model numbering scheme has an exclusive four-digit model number. The first digit caters as the family indicator for later released Athlon X2 processors.

The suffix “e” indicates that the product is energy efficient (for example, “Phenom 9350e”). The prefix LE is used by several Sempron processors (for example, “Sempron LE-1200”).

Since these processors provide great speed and are more powerful, this results in a substantial increase in power consumption.

This makes Phenom less suitable for mobile applications that require a lot of power. Increased power usage also means more heat dissipation, which might damage the processor.

Larger heat-sinks and stronger fans, as well as liquid cooling, are common solutions for heating issues.

Main Differences Between AWD Athlon and AWD Phenom

  1. The AMD Athlon has L1 and L2 cache, while AMD Phenom has L1, L2, and L3 cache.
  2. AMD Athlon has HyperTransport 2.0, while AMD Phenom has HyperTransport 3.0.
  3. The AMD Athlon has tri-core designs, while AMD Phenom has quad-core designs.
  4. AMD Athlon does not have any separate clock to increase the performance, while Phenom has a separate clock which enhances the speed and performance of the processors.
  5. AMD Athlon does not have any external voltage sources, while the Phenom utilizes Dual Dynamic Power Management, providing the processor more power.


  1. http://www.cs.put.poznan.pl/rwalkowiak/pliki/pr/Basic_Performance_Measurements.pdf
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