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Even though we and some other mass-media sources reported earlier this year that AMD had no plans to introduce any performance ratings for its Opteron processors, it now appears that either we were wrong or AMD has changed its original intentions. Apparently, Sunnyvale, California-based chipmaker is going to introduce a new 3-digit model numbering strategy for its x86-64 server processors.

The new 3-digit processor model number will represent the maximum number of microprocessors supported by the platform the particular CPU is designed for as well as relative performance of the CPU within the series of the chips for the same platform. Although it does not sound easily, the whole idea is pretty natural and logical.

The first digit in the model number tells us how many processors are supported by the platform the particular chip is intended for:

  • AMD Opteron processor 100 Series (Example: Model 1XX) validated for 1-way server;
  • AMD Opteron processor 200 Series (Model 2XX) is designed for 2-way servers;
  • AMD Opteron processor 800 Series (Model 8XX) intended for up to 8-way servers.

The second and third digits communicate relative performance within each product line. For example, 444 is slower than 446, but you should not compare it to 248, as it is another platform.

AMD started numbering the last two digits at 40, as the company wants to avoid all possible misunderstandings of the model number and mixing it up with core-clock in any possible way, according to the statement. I can hardly believe that any IT-professional who is familiar with AMD’s model-number nomenclature may muddle core-clocks with model numbers, but maybe AMD simply has its own reason for using this and not another numbering strategy, but the company does not want to unveil it and now tells us what it tells.

AMD also announced it had found that most enterprise users of server technology had understood the design of the 3-digit model number strategy and responded favourably to its clarity. They could also distinguish that the AMD Opteron processor model numbers do not directly refer to frequency which has less relevance to performance in advanced server applications.

AMD Opteron processors will be launched officially on the 22nd of April, 2003.

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