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AMD's neo naming scheme - details emerge

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Computex AMD has begun detailing how it plans to replace its current processor numbering scheme, this time with an Intel-esque system based on chip class, power consumption and relative performance.

The new AMD numbering scheme categorises processors first by type: L for single-core chips and some low-end dual-cores. Dual-core X2 chips actually span all three classes: B in the middle and G at the high end. Does AMD have Gaming, Business and Low-cost as the three classes? Maybe, but whatever they stand for, they cover the performance, mainstream and value segments.

After the class reference comes the power rating: P for TDPs greater than 65W, S for 65W and E for under 65W. The 65W TDP is Intel's main desktop power consumption, but it's a target AMD appears to be aiming for too.

After these two codes comes a single-digit value to express how one processor in a given band differs from its fellow band members - it "indicates major benefit steps", as AMD says in its presentation slides that accompany its numbering scheme briefings.

In practice, that means '1' for Semprons, '2' for dual-core Athlon X2s and - we'd guess - '6' for Phenom X2s and '7' for Phenom X4s, though the slides don't confirm this.

Finally, a three-digit model number indicates relative performance.

So, a Phenom X4 might be labelled a 'GP-7xxx' while a more lowly Athlon X2 could be labelled 'LS-2xxx'.

What's interesting in all this is that there's no direct reference to the number of cores a CPU contains, leaving that to the X2 or X4 suffix on the brand name. And all of the above applies, so far, only to desktop CPUs - the gamer-centric Phenom FX line looks set to have its own scheme, though with a little tweaking AMD's new model could easily take in these chips and its server and notebook processors too.

News that AMD might revamp its processor numbering scheme was first suggested in December 2006.

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