AMD's Product Lines Shed Some Names

The chipmaker agrees some monikers are too long and plans to shorten them, for everyone's sake.

Do you find "AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+" a pain to say out loud? So does AMD. The company is giving its lengthy CPU brand names a makeover, with the goal of improving clarity for its buyers.

The move had been erroneously reported in some quarters as the end of the line for the X2 product line. Rather, it's just the name that's going away: Instead of "Athlon 64 X2 6400+", it will simply be "Athlon 6400."

Expect similar changes throughout the company's lineup, it said.

Spokespeople said the move is because the names had become too confusing and unnecessary.

"Those descriptors are not needed any more," Brent Barry, desktop brand manager for AMD, told "We're looking beyond the '64' and 'X2' labels because this stuff is becoming ubiquitous. Saying '64' is redundant. The industry has gone 64-bit. The same with 'X2' -- everything has gone dual-core." "So why put another number in there for people to trip over?" he said.

In some instances, it helps to have a descriptor, like the new Quad-Core Opteron processor, since that is the first release of the product as a quad-core design. But Barry said the company plans to adopt a more Opteron-like numbering scheme for Athlon and Phenom, the successor to Athlon that offers dual-, triple- and quad-core designs.

The Opteron uses three numbering schemes -- the 1000, 2000 and 8000 lines, for single-socket, dual-socket and four-/eight-socket motherboard designs, respectively. The first two Phenoms, the 9500 and 9600, don't quite sync with the core or clock speed for the chips. AMD said it's working on it.

"We all know how confusing it's been to follow model numbers," Barry said. "It was the same rat hole Intel had fallen into when you have so many parts in your stack. We're going to look to make the model numbers be more of a situation where performance details can be found."

It's about time, said semiconductor analyst Nathan Brookwood of Insight64.

"When you look at the official product names of some of these things, both from AMD and Intel, they go on forever and certainly the rest of us never use that stuff," he said.

Brookwood added that companies like Intel and AMD need what they call "the trademark police" to examine every external document to make sure they conform precisely with trademark-naming conventions. As a result, shortening the name will be a relief for them and buyers alike.

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