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AMD: New Naming Scheme for 2023 Processors

AMD has released the naming strategy it will operate for next year’s chips, with the Ryzen 7000 series already on the horizon. In addition, the system will involve chips across AMD’s portfolio, from Athlons to Ryzen 9.

The new names will be pretty similar to the current terms. They will persist in consisting of four digits and a letter-constructed suffix, with numbers displaying processor generation and suffixes indicating power.

But new numbers will make it more comfortable to understand a given chip’s power directly from its name. In addition, there are now several exhibiting architectures.

Here’s what every digit will mean:

  • The first number directs to the portfolio year, with 2023 beginning as 7. The first Ryzen processors were reported in 2017.
  • The second number refers to what AMD calls the “market segment.” A 1 will represent the lowest tier (Athlon Silver), while the most potent Ryzen 9 chips will bear a 9.
  • The third number directs to a chip’s architecture. A 1 is Zen 1, and a 2 is Zen 2, etc. It is necessary because AMD has been known to mix chips of different architectures into its series, so a processor’s generation alone doesn’t necessarily suggest how modern it is.
  • The fourth number, marked as “feature isolation,” ensures that customers can distinguish between chips with different versions of the exact architecture. Faster chips within a market segment obtain a 5, and slower ones receive a 0.
  • Finally, the suffix will resume indicating TDP, with 55W getting HX, 35W getting HS, 15-28W getting U (or C in the case of Chromebooks), and 9W obtaining 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. It was 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 between 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 most people shopping around for parts at Best Buy, the new scheme is a good sign for folks who want more information about potential purchases upfront. 

Ryzen is a brand of multi-core x86-64 microprocessors conceived and marketed by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) for server, desktop, mobile, and embedded platforms based on the Zen microarchitecture. It contains central processing units (CPUs) marketed for mainstream, enthusiast, server, and workstation segments and accelerated processing units (APUs) sold for mainstream and entry-level features and embedded systems applications.

AMD revealed a new series of processors on December 13, 2016, designated “Ryzen,” and delivered them in Q1 2017, the first of many generations. The 1000 series featured up to eight cores and 16 threads, with an expansion of 52% in instructions per cycle (IPC) over their previous CPU products.

The second generation of Ryzen processors, the Ryzen 2000 series, released in April 2018, featured the Zen+ microarchitecture, a 12 nm process ( GlobalFoundries); the total performance raised by 10% (of which roughly 3% was IPC, 6% was frequency); most notably, Zen+ settled the cache and memory latencies that had been significant weak points (for latency-sensitive workloads, IPC boosts of almost ?10%).

The third generation of Ryzen processors, established on July 7, 2019, and based on AMD’s Zen 2 architecture, features more significant design improvements with a 15% average IPC boost. It has a doubling of floating point capability to a 256-bit wide execution datapath, similar to Intel’s Haswell microarchitecture released in 2014.

A shift to an MCM style “chiplet” based package design and a further shrink to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s (TSMC) 7 nm fabrication process. On June 16, 2020, AMD announced new Ryzen 3000 series XT processors with 100 MHz higher boost clocks versus non-XT processors.