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AMD names scheme for Opteron naming

Goodbye, 3800+; hello, 840

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So farewell then, AMD's performance rating naming scheme - for upcoming 64-bit Opteron processors at least.

AMD will use a three-digit model number in place of the now familiar but once criticised megahertz rating.

So instead of, say, Opteron 3800+, we'll see the Opteron 440.

How does the new name work? The first digit is for the number or processors a system based on the chip can contain, ie. 1 for uni-processor boxes and 8 for eight-way systems. There will be Opteron 1xx, 2xx and 8xx parts.

The last two digits are a performance indicator that factors in clock speed and "other factors", according to an AMD's European marketing chief, Richard Baker, such as "the impact of the on-die memory controller running at the same frequency as the core, cache size, number and bandwidth of HyperTransport links, core features". Actual numbers start at 40. Why? To ensure no one mistakes the three-digit number for a clock frequency, Baker said.

The Opteron family is believed to ship with clock speeds of around 2GHz and are expected to show a double-digit performance increase over comparably clocked 32-bit Athlons. That wouldn't of itself prevent AMD from using its old performance rating scheme, which it introduced in 2001.

However, said Baker, with a new architecture, it makes sense to consider a new naming scheme. "Its not like Opteron-based systems will be running Word or Acrobat, so you need something different," he added. That's doubly the case given the high performance computing markets AMD is likely to target the chip at in its early days.

Opteron will officially launch on 22 April. ®

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