Intel to intro CPU numbering system

— 5:01 PM on March 12, 2004

Is the MHz designation finally seeing its end? Hard to believe, but perhaps so. is reporting that Intel will launch a new numbering system to describe its processors by performance, rather than simply relying on clock speeds.

The chip giant is expected to begin the practice with the launch of its latest Pentium M processor, dubbed Dothan, which is due in the second quarter. Pentium 4 and Celeron chips will also get model numbers, as Intel aims to get the system in place by summer, the source said.

Under the model number system, processors will be given numbers to describe their performance, in addition to being described as running at 2GHz or another speed.

Stunning. I suppose this move makes sense, given Intel's struggles selling the excellent Pentium M/Centrino product, despite pouring gazillions into marketing it. A model number scheme might also help Intel talk a little more honestly about what to expect out of varying processor designs, like Northwood vs. Prescott Pentium 4s, as the report notes.

Still, this is a major about-face for Intel, and one wonders whether this shouldn't be interepreted as lending credence to recent rumors and speculation about the Pentium M team and design approach winning some favor inside Intel at the expense of the Pentium 4.

One also wonders about the timing of this report, coming relatively late in the day at the end of a week as it has. The damage mitigation strategists in Intel PR seem to favor such accidents of timing, as the mid-Superbowl launch of the P4 Prescott reviews recently demonstrated.

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