Goodbye sweet Athlon, we knew thee well...
Come Q3 AMD will begin to kill off the much loved brand (introduced with the 'Classic' in 1999 - below) as it launches the 'Phenom' (inspired by the word 'phenomenal' and no, I don't like it either).
The move is designed to signal a clean break as the company moves to introduce its 'Agena' and 'Kuma' CPUs which are based on HyperTransport 3 technology and fabbed at 65nm. AMD will stick with the X2 postfix to signal dual core parts while X4 will represent quad core.
Gamers will (as always) be the first to receive the new parts with the hardcore FX range transposed to the Phenom name. Three processors will initially be released clocked from 2.2GHz to 2.6GHz and containing 512KB of L2 cache and 2MB of shared L3 cache. Phenom X4s will follow soon afterwards with four 512KB L2 caches before the X2 Kuma based desktop chips spread the name into the broad consumer space in Q4.
From my understanding the Athlon name itself won't be phased out overnight but instead become a new mid-range offering until the Phenom eventually stretches into this space. Speaking of which, there are currently no plans to get rid of the Sempron budget brand which is a shame since I've always thought it sounds far too close to 'simpering'.
Intriguingly, expect the little known and recently disbanded Bangalore prog rock band Phenom and its breakaway hit 'Linux Can!" (I kid you not) to enjoy a rush of publicity... you gave up too soon guys!