jensedman

News for nerds

With the Ryzen 7000 series already on the horizon, AMD has released the naming scheme that it will use for the chips it releases next year (and in the years to follow, presumably). The system will apply to chips across AMD’s portfolio, from Athlons all the way up to Ryzen 9.

The new names will be fairly similar to the current names. They will continue to consist of four digits and a letter-constructed suffix, with numbers indicating processor generation and suffixes indicating power. But new numbers will make it easier to understand how powerful a given chip is directly from its name.

Here’s what each digit will mean:

The first number refers to the portfolio year, with 2023 beginning as 7. (The first Ryzen processors were announced in 2017.)
The second number refers to what AMD calls “market segment.” A 1 will denote the lowest tier (Athlon Silver), while the most powerful Ryzen 9 chips will bear a 9.
The third number refers to a chip’s architecture. A 1 is Zen 1, a 2 is Zen 2, etc. This is important because AMD has been known to mix chips of different architectures into its series, so a processor’s generation alone doesn’t necessarily indicate how modern it is.
The fourth number, labeled as “feature isolation,” is meant to ensure that customers can distinguish between chips with different versions of the same architecture. Faster chips within a market segment receive a 5, and slower ones receive a 0.
Finally, the suffix will continue to indicate TDP, with 55W getting HX, 35W getting HS, 15-28W getting U (or C in the case of Chromebooks), and 9W getting a lowercase e.
The change seems, interestingly, to be the opposite of Qualcomm’s direction — the company previously branded its chips with three-digit names that indicated power, generation, and minor updates within a generation, but announced late last year that it would shift to a “single-digit series and generation number.” Intel’s most recent major naming shakeup, folding the “Core m” series under the umbrella of the “Core i” in 2016, also made it harder for customers to distinguish faster and slower processors. Apple has, so far, managed to stay out of this mess, but rebrands like AMD’s are a reminder of how quickly chip companies can outgrow their original naming schemes as they scale and expand.

While the chip names will likely continue to be gibberish to the vast majority of people shopping around for parts at Best Buy, the new scheme is a good sign for folks who do want to know more information about potential purchases upfront. (It also, conveniently for AMD, gives people less cause to whine when the company puts old cores in new chips.)