With the Ryzen 7000 series already on the horizon, AMD has released the naming scheme it will use for the chips it will release next year (and presumably in the years to come). The system applies to chips across the entire AMD portfolio, from Athlons through Ryzen 9.
The new names will be quite similar to the current names. They will continue to consist of four numbers and a suffix made up of letters, with numbers denoting the processor’s generation and suffixes denoting its power. But new numbers will make it easier to understand how powerful a particular chip is, straight from its name.
Here’s what each number means:
- The first number refers to the portfolio year, with 2023 starting as 7. (The first Ryzen processors were announced in 2017.)
- The second number refers to what AMD calls “market segment.” A 1 indicates the lowest level (Athlon Silver), while the most powerful Ryzen 9 chips get a 9.
- The third digit refers to the architecture of a chip. A 1 is Zen 1, a 2 is Zen 2, etc. This is important because AMD is known to combine chips of different architectures in its series, so the generation of a processor alone does not necessarily indicate how modern it is.
- The fourth number, referred to as ‘feature isolation’, is intended to enable customers to differentiate between chips with different versions of the same architecture. Faster chips within a market segment get a 5 and slower chips a 0.
- Finally, the suffix continues 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, interestingly, appears to be the opposite of Qualcomm’s direction — the company previously branded its chips with three-digit names indicating power, generation, and minor updates within a generation, but announced late last year that it would shift to a “single digit serial and generation number.” Intel’s most recent major name change, folding the “Core m” series under the “Core i” umbrella in 2016, also made it harder for customers to distinguish between faster and slower processors. 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 remain gibberish for the vast majority of people shopping for parts at Best Buy, the new schedule is a good sign for those looking to learn more about potential purchases in advance. (It also, handy for AMD, gives people less reason to whine when the company puts old cores in new chips.)