The Inquirer-Home

Intel never stopped numbering its CPUs

From 80486 to Harpertown, the inside leg measurements exposed
Fri Nov 16 2007, 19:23

REMEMBER the good old days, when processors were known by their - usually five digit - numbers? So, you could compare Intel 80486 against Motorola 68040, against National 32532, against Alpha 21164 (this last one would win, of course).

Then, when it realised it was unable to trademark numbers, Intel switched to the Pentium medicinal-sounding moniker, and from there we had Itaniums, Celerons, joined by Athlons and Opterons. Then came Centrino, Turion, Core2, Phenom and all other cryptical what-nots. Hard to fathom?

Well, not really! Instead of asking an Intel guy for a Core 2 Extreme QX 9650 3 GHz FSB1333 CPU, simply ask for 80569XJ080. He should know exactly what you want, with far fewer bytes or words.

Basically, Intel continued using the numbers for its CPUs, engraved on the die heat spreaders for years, till now. These are still 5-digit wonders, all smaller than the last 'official' one, the 80586.

For instance, the old favourite, 3.46GHz Presler Extreme dual core, Intel's first CPU to run at 4.27GHz stable without any voltage bump, was just an 80553 CPU. It had an added PH099 statement for desktop 3.46GHz clock version - if the number was 108, it would mean a 3.73GHz version. At the end, there is also a cache size stated as 4M or 8M, but we will ignore it here as it is removed from the 45nm generation engraved inscriptions.

The quad-core 65nm Kentsfields and Clovertowns also have this simplified naming. The X3230 Xeon 2.66GHz FSB1066 will just be an 80562 CPU, with KH067 add-on which translates to "XeonUP 2.66G".

All the desktop Kentsfields also bear the 80562 moniker. The dual-CPU enabled Clovertown flavour is called 80563, though, adding a bit of "value" for the dual socket capability. So, a 3GHz FSB1333 Clovertown from those expensive Apple Mac Pro workstations will be known simply as 80563KJ080.

Finally, the most recent darlings of the press, the lovely Yorkfield and Harpertown 45nm CPUs. All desktop Yorkfields and their uni-CPU server siblings are known as 80569. So, it is 80569XJ080 for the QX9650 Extreme Desktop, or 80569KJ073 for the X3660 XeonUP. The Harpertown dual-socket Xeon is now 80574KL080 - without cache markings this time.

The nostalgic souls among our readers can enjoy it: all the numbers are still there. And, for simple minds, 80563 will always be clearly better than 80562, not to mention 80574 outshining them all.

Also, knowing Intel's real numbering system means the unscrupulous chip trader next door won't be able to sell you a Clovertown claiming to be the same-clocked Harpertown before you plug it into the system when it may be too late.

Convincing a layman that "Harpertown" is better than "Clovertown", or " Yorkfield" than "Kentsfield" or "Smithfield" could get the populace of the named places into fistfights.

Who knows, by the time Nehalems come in six months or so, we might see one of them coded 80586 again. Ahem. Just a Back To The Future joke. µ


Share this:

blog comments powered by Disqus
Subscribe to INQ newsletters

Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ

INQ Poll

Heartbleed bug discovered in OpenSSL

Have you reacted to Heartbleed?