Today AMD is launching five new Chromebook CPUs and their C-series line of SoCs, but ‘new’ is a bit of a stretch. That said SemiAccurate thinks this new line of old chips is an interesting twist of marketing genius. Or evil. It kind of depends.
There are three new Ryzen CPUs today, the Ryzen 7 3700C, Ryzen 5 3500C, and the Ryzen 3 3250C. The first two are 12nm CPUs, the last is a 14nm part. There are also two new Athlons, both 14nm, the Gold 3150C and the Silver 3050C. If this seems familiar it may be because if you take the C, for Chromebook in case it isn’t blindingly obvious, and replace it with a U, you have last year’s Ryzen APU line. With the new letter C, the lineup looks like this.
C U – See what we did there? Ha!
So if these are all new CPUs, what really changed? The letter U becomes the letter C in the name, that’s it. We could make up something funny like the transistor count jumping from 4,582,109 to 4,582,112 or whatnot that but that would actually be a change, the ‘new’ C-Series is not that big a deal technically speaking.
So if the change is just a marketing rebrand, why are we not ripping AMD like we usually do when they do a shameless rebrand? What is different this time? Two things starting off with AMD coming out and saying that it is a rebrand up front, not trying to pretend it is something radically different and awesome which it obviously is not.
More important is the second item, they have a good reason to change the name. When people search for a system by CPU, they get a host of tangentially relevant devices in a sea of scams and malware links. AMD’s idea that you can decide for yourself if it is evil or genius, was to make the CPU names only for Chromebooks. If you want to find a Chromebook with an AMD CPU and you search for 3700U, you will get hundreds of Windows machines. If you search for 3700C, the same silicon mind you, you get only Chromebooks. See, there was an actually sane reason to do the name change and it is good for users, especially the low end ones that would think about buying a Chromebook.
So the name change for the C-Series did have a point and SemiAccurate thinks it is a good one. Nothing is happening to the U-Series parts, they will still be available for as long as OEMs think there is a market for the devices that bear them. Other than that pesky letter they are still the same as the old U-Series devices, not a single transistor changed. Genius? You decide.S|A