AMD has been rebranding itself left and right over the past couple of years, and even its microprocessor lineup isn’t safe from the marketing department’s red pen. It’s recently come to light that AMD is considering removing the Athlon, Sempron and Phenom brand names from its chips, focusing instead upon its successful Vision strategy.
While it seems like a substantial move away from pre-existing and pre-known brand names, the effect would likely do AMD some good.
Many consumers don’t know the names of the chips running inside of their computers except, sometimes, for whether they’re Intel or AMD. Individual model names don’t really ring clear.
Intel has changed its chip names several times over the last few years, moving away from the Pentium juggernaut to Core, Core 2 and now Core iX designations.
In addition to strengthening the brand value of both AMD’s coporate identity and their Vision mark, the move would save the company money. Instead of spending out ad dollars to buy Athlon or Phenom ads and marketing designs, reusable Vision campaigns can take their place.
The new processors will likely be classified under what were previously subdivisions of AMD’s chip lines. Lower-power and energy efficient chips were once designated as ‘e’ variants, while the highest-end CPUs were branded with the ‘FX’ moniker.
Similarly, the Zacate-powered low-end of AMD’s new chip lineup will fall under the AMD Vision E-series title. These chips will offer single- and dual-core versions, and add low-end AMD Radeon HD 6000 graphics to the mix. A-series chips, as part of the mainstream Llano platform, will provide end users with two and four core CPUs that mix in more powerful AMD Radeon HD 6000 graphics engines.
Finally, bringing back a favorite flavor from years past, the FX-series lineup will bring the most powerful chips to bear, as the Bulldozer-based Zambezi platform adds quad-, hex- and octocore CPUs to the market.
Assuming that the second-place chipmaker goes through with its plans, there will undoubtedly be confusion on the part of manufacturers and consumers until the transition is realized. On AMD’s side, however, is the fact that the new lineups are easy to understand – low-power machines have an E chip, mainstream machines have an A chip, and performance-oriented boxes have an FX chip.
The move comes only months after AMD killed off ATI branding for graphics cards, four years after acquiring the GPU maker.