AMD has revealed a new naming scheme for its laptop processors starting in 2023, as next year is the arrival of a new set of families for Team Red’s mobile chips.
The new system is explained in blog post (opens in new tab), where the cited example chip is the Ryzen 5 7640U. All five characters of the ‘7640U’ mean something here, starting with the first, which denotes the model year, the Ryzen 7 family arriving in 2023 (alongside the Ryzen 7000 desktop chips). AMD notes that Ryzen 8 will arrive in 2024 and Ryzen 9 in 2025.
The second digit is essentially a rating from 1 to 9 for the market segment, so in this case the 6 means it’s a Ryzen 5 model. Confused? Well, we’ll come back to that, but both the 5 and 6 are used for Ryzen 5 chips, with the 6 being a slightly more powerful model (upper mid-range).
The third character represents the architecture, which in this case is Zen 4, and that final 0 indicates ‘resource isolation’ – essentially if it’s a more refined architecture. OR shows that it is a lower powered mobile CPU, as is the case now, with the HX and HS being the fastest and most power-hungry models.
Let’s break this down with a few more examples – so a 7530U for example is from the 2023 family and is a Ryzen 5 model in terms of performance, built on Zen 3, with the 0 indicating it’s the original Zen 3 architecture. were it a 7535U, it would be the same, except the final 5 denotes that it is Zen 3+ (the refined version of the Zen 3 architecture).
Mobile CPU families arriving next year include Mendocino, the most basic 7020 series for everyday computing – with the 2 referring to it still being based on the older Zen 2 architecture. Then there’s the Barcelo-R, which is for conventional thin and light notebooks, the 7030 line (based on Zen 3) and the Rembrandt-R for premium thin and light notebooks, which is the 7035 series (Zen 3+).
At the top end you’ll find Phoenix, the 7040 series (Zen 4), and Dragon Range, which is the 7045 series. The latter is expected to focus on more cores and processor, while Phoenix will have fewer CPU cores but graphics. more robust integrated ones (like the kind of high-end gaming laptops the Dragon Range will be deployed on will likely have their own discrete GPU, so there’s no need for an integrated solution).
Analysis: What’s in a Name? Different things for different people
Okay, let’s face it. Many people don’t care about names, they are just a string of numbers with one or two letters inserted. As long as you can see at a glance the vague power of any mobile CPU, it doesn’t matter to most people whether or not a processor is built in Zen 3, Zen 3+ or Zen 4; they couldn’t care less, no doubt.
Enthusiasts, however, go care, and it is for them that this naming system, with its additional nuances, was introduced. And it will no doubt come in handy for those folks when it comes to situations like a new mobile CPU using an old architecture, a trick that AMD likes – and especially starting next year when so many different variations of laptop processors are being introduced, as we saw above.
What worries us a bit is the second digit of the model name, as we noted above – Ryzen 5 processors are marked as 5 or 6 and Ryzen 3 as 3 or 4. And that might sound a little weird, but every average consumer have to think about is that the higher the second number, the better the processor. So, in other words, a Ryzen 3 74xx is slightly more powerful than a Ryzen 3 73xx. Simple enough. (By the way, the 71xx and 72xx mobile CPUs refer to Athlon Silver and Gold respectively).
It should all come out in the wash once people start getting used to the new naming scheme, and it seems sensible enough as well as definitely a good thing to help the more technical types out there be able to tell not just the generation and level performance, but the architecture (and its refinement).
It’s worth noting that, as we’ve already seen, the high-end desktop processors – arriving later this month – won’t change in terms of naming, keeping the conventional Ryzen 9 7950X, 7900X and so on, as we saw when AMD revealed recently the initial batch of models.