Total Recall

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XBit Labs says that ECS mentioned on its website that a socket 939, Athlon 64 with 1Mb cache is supposed to show up, and sure enough, it does.

The most probable reason for this is that there’s a pricing hole in the socket 939 lineup between the $643 3800+ and the $346 3500+. A 3600+ out to come in at about $425.

That being said, this chip is simply a socket 939 FX-51, and if sane people named AMD chips, that’s what it would have been called.

But nooooooo.

This is The FX That Dares Not Speak Its Name. It dares not speak its name because some fool acting out Highlander decided some time back that when it came to FXs, There Can Only Be One.

So what we have here is a CPU that died and has been brought back to life with a new name and its previous identity wiped.

I think somebody’s been watching too many science fiction/fantasy movies.

It’s a good thing CPUs aren’t sentient, because if the FX-51 were, it would be having a major identity crisis.

You see, it’s already been through this before.

Initially, the FX-51 was an Opteron. Then it got told, “No, you’re not an Opteron. You’re an FX.” It walked around a while, then suddenly, prematurely, got its head cut off.

Now it wakes up with its head back on, but one of its initial 940 tentacles missing, and now it gets told that not only is it not an Opteron anymore, it’s not an FX either. Instead, it’s an Athlon 64.

If this ex-ex-Opteron could look around, it probably would get really nervous looking at any Sempron and wondering, “Am I going to be that next?”


All joking aside, AMD’s product lines look like the work of somebody on LSD. Nothing is organized systemically; every type of CPU blends into another category.

The Opteron line blends into FXs. There’s two high-end sockets, and there, the FXs will now blend into Athlon 64s. The Athlon 64s already blend into two different sockets. The Sempron line blends across two, but it’s ambitious. Eventually, it will blend across three sockets.

If you deliberately tried to make matters as confusing as possible, you couldn’t possibly do better than this.

Has it ever, ever, dawned on anybody at AMD that customers might get confused by all this, and that when you confuse people, they are less likely to buy from you?

This probably isn’t much of a factor for the average individual (most probably don’t look far enough to get entangled), but imagine you’re a corporate type trying to explain all this to a boss that has ADD when it comes to computer equipment and is a neat freak to boot.

It just doesn’t leave a good impression in the minds of many minds. If the mind is leery of the idea of buying AMD to begin with, it’s very easy for such a mind to conclude that if the product line is a complete mess, the product might be, too.

Shallow? Sure. But you don’t find clams in the deep ocean.



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