TR Forum Tidings: Is AMD's 'PR rating' dead?

— 5:10 PM on December 19, 2006

In our weekly look through the TR forums, we've noticed a thread from old-time gerbil Prime1 entitled, "Is the AMD '+' rating dead?" Prime1 is referring to AMD's PR rating, the four-digit value that differentiates Athlon and Sempron chips from each other based on their performance. The PR rating was introduced by AMD all the way back in 2001, when Intel's Pentium 4 was hitting sky-high clock speeds and still getting a thorough pounding from AMD chips clocked a whole half-gigahertz lower. With its numbering system, AMD hoped to ward off consumer misconception that more MHz meant higher performance.

Times have changed, though, and Intel has now ditched gigahertz as a means to measure performance and switched to an abstract model numbering scheme. Meanwhile, AMD is still clinging on to its PR ratings, and some like Prime1 think they're making less and less sense. An Athlon 64 X2 4600+ isn't any faster than an Athlon 64 3800+ in single-threaded tasks, for example, and model numbers for the Sempron line are just plain out of whack. Should AMD retire PR ratings and switch Athlons and Semprons to a model numbering scheme like the Opteron and Turion lines, or are the ratings doing their job well enough? Whatever your opinion is, feel free to register a forum account and hop into Prime1's thread to speak your mind!

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