Thursday, February 23rd 2017

Of New Horizons and Zen: The Story of the Name "Ryzen" for AMD's New Processors

AMD's Ryzen CPU has been a hot topic as of late, and certainly looks set to shake up the CPU world as we know it; however, it wasn't that long ago that we weren't calling it "Ryzen" at all, but merely referring to it by its codename, "Zen." What happened to that?

The "Zen" name was quite popular, and AMD claims to have made the name choice to emphasize the balance it struck between various design principles. It resonated with many enthusiasts to be sure. It was a far cry more popular than the line of "construction equipment" themed code-names that preceded it (though whether that had to do with actual performance of those products or their naming scheme itself is certainly up for debate).

Regardless, there is no denying the "Zen" name was well entrenched and already had its own level of pride built up around itself, so why dump it?

According to John Taylor, corporate vice president of marketing for AMD, they did so because they had no choice. See, AMD wanted to trademark the "Zen" name like any good company would. However, in one of their largest markets (the United States) trademarking the term "Zen" would be impossible due to the plethora of already Zen-themed products on the market and the requirement that the brand must be "strong and unique." Knowing Zen would never be trademarkable under US-law, AMD turned to its inner space geek and looked to the reports in the news at the time of the "New Horizons" mission to Pluto. They couldn't deny that the "Zen" sound appeared in the word "Horizon," and so the initial name they came up with to replace "Zen" was "Rizen," a mere product of chopping the start off the word "Horizon" and replacing the "o" with an "e" to "Zenify" it. They later would tweak this to its final product of "Ryzen", fearing people would pronounce it "risen" rather than "Ryzen," true to its "New Horizon" origins.

Continuing in that theme, AMD first made this choice apparent at its December 2016 Zen Architecture announcement event, aptly titled "New Horizon," another homage to the little probe that could. In keeping with the Japanese Zen theme, the Zen boxes of today's product announcement are adorned with a Japanese Calligraphy symbol known as an Enso: Essentially a brushed circle. That aspect is a homage to the original name: more than the Ryzen name, which is probably appropriate given the desirability of the original name: However, I can't help but feel it would be equally cool if they decided to pay homage to the origins of the name Ryzen, with a picture of New Horizons or a space probe on the box. That would be pretty darn cool too.
Source: PCWorld
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25 Comments on Of New Horizons and Zen: The Story of the Name "Ryzen" for AMD's New Processors

#1
dorsetknob
"YOUR RMA REQUEST IS CON-REFUSED"
"Bugger"
Thought you were branching out into Scientific News " Nasa and Space Related Stuff"
Posted on Reply
#2
alucasa
All hail the Frog.

To me, "Ryzen" is rise from death which is literally, sadly, truth.
Posted on Reply
#3
MrGenius
So that's the "reason" for the "Ryzen". Interesting. I was kinda wondering what happened to "Zen".
Posted on Reply
#4
R-T-B
dorsetknob, post: 3607075, member: 8331"
"Bugger"
Thought you were branching out into Scientific News " Nasa and Space Related Stuff"
Sadly, not my job. ;)
Posted on Reply
#5
G33k2Fr34k
Nobody cares about how they came up with that stupid name. I'm more concerned about their ridiculous pricing. The R7 1700 is a slightly under-cocked R7 1800x yet it costs a lot less than the 1800x. Also, where are the quad cores? Nobody wants to pay $300+ for a CPU? I'd be more than happy with a 4-core 8-threads CPU with a decent frequency. AMD is nuts!
Posted on Reply
#6
R-T-B
Nobody cares about how they came up with that stupid name.
*Shrugs*

I do. But then again, I like outer space. :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#7
VSG
Editor, Reviews & News
G33k2Fr34k, post: 3607083, member: 161823"
Nobody cares about how they came up with that stupid name. I'm more concerned about their ridiculous pricing. The R7 1700, is a slightly under-cocked R7 1800x yet it costs a lot less than the 1800x. Also, where are the quad cores? Nobody wants to pay $300+ for a CPU? I'd be more than happy with a 4-core 8-threads CPU with a decent frequency. AMD is nuts!
Computex time, along with the SFF chipset and ITX motherboards I imagine.
Posted on Reply
#8
Joss
I'd call it
FX-400 (430, 450...)
FX-600 (630, 650...)
FX-800 (830, 850...)

and I would proudly name it so.
Posted on Reply
#9
CAPSLOCKSTUCK
Spaced Out Lunar Tick
Its bollocks i reckon, AMD are trying to look cool by adding the tenuous New Horizons link.

Rizon........:clap:
Posted on Reply
#10
R-T-B
CAPSLOCKSTUCK, post: 3607108, member: 129407"
Its bollocks i reckon, AMD are trying to look cool by adding the tenuous New Horizons link.

Rizon........:clap:
I actually was thinking as I wrote this "sounds kinda like a stretch..." but the sources are solid, lol.

The thing that makes it convincing to me is that they did not put the probe on the box, which would be essential if doing a "space nut" appeal. If they ever do this, I had the idea first, pay me royalties AMD. :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#11
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
I was wondering where that name came from. Makes sense about the trademarking, especially.

Great article @R-T-B :)
Posted on Reply
#12
JATownes
I found this pretty interesting. Nice to get a little backstory on some of the workings of why they chose Ryzen as the name. I also liked that the font was created in-house by their own design team (mentioned in the source).
Posted on Reply
#13
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
G33k2Fr34k, post: 3607083, member: 161823"
Nobody cares about how they came up with that stupid name. I'm more concerned about their ridiculous pricing. The R7 1700 is a slightly under-cocked R7 1800x yet it costs a lot less than the 1800x. Also, where are the quad cores? Nobody wants to pay $300+ for a CPU? I'd be more than happy with a 4-core 8-threads CPU with a decent frequency. AMD is nuts!
I have no issues paying $300+ for an 8 core 16 thread chip. Not my fault you have an issue, these chips aren't for you and you will have to wait for the release of the lower end models.
Posted on Reply
#14
Kanan
alucasa, post: 3607079, member: 68481"
All hail the Frog.

To me, "Ryzen" is rise from death which is literally, sadly, truth.
Same here. All three is true, it's "Ryzen from the death" as well as "new Horizons" (new architecture) and Zen ("Balance". Architecture works fine and balanced, which was a big part of their reasoning codenaming it "Zen" in the first place). Probably the most special CPU name ever.
Posted on Reply
#15
jigar2speed
G33k2Fr34k, post: 3607083, member: 161823"
Nobody cares about how they came up with that stupid name.
You are not speaking on my behalf dude, for me this was an interesting article.
Posted on Reply
#16
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
jigar2speed, post: 3607191, member: 103592"
You are not speaking on my behalf dude, for me this was an interesting article.
Same here I actually enjoy knowing what these names mean.
Posted on Reply
#17
lZKoce
alucasa, post: 3607079, member: 68481"
To me, "Ryzen" is rise from death which is literally, sadly, truth.
Me too. It would appeal to me much more if it was something like that. Now that I know the true origins of their slogan and new logo for this product, I am actually disappointed quite a lot.

Article was a blast. One of the few I read top to bottom recently.

It's so exciting to see the thought process and what's "behind the curtains". It's like having the voice auditions on the disk with the anime....so awesome :D
Posted on Reply
#18
kn00tcn
alucasa, post: 3607079, member: 68481"
To me, "Ryzen" is rise from death which is literally, sadly, truth.
what? a Y is not pronounced like risen

G33k2Fr34k, post: 3607083, member: 161823"
Nobody cares about how they came up with that stupid name. I'm more concerned about their ridiculous pricing. The R7 1700 is a slightly under-cocked R7 1800x yet it costs a lot less than the 1800x. Also, where are the quad cores? Nobody wants to pay $300+ for a CPU? I'd be more than happy with a 4-core 8-threads CPU with a decent frequency. AMD is nuts!
maybe if you stop crying hysterically you would realize that ONLY the high end R7 is coming first, we also dont know what the X stands for since some people are saying XFR is available on all chips, not just X ones

https://videocardz.com/66324/where-is-ryzen-5-and-ryzen-3 the smaller cheaper ones will continue to come out later, OBVIOUSLY
Posted on Reply
#19
R-T-B
kn00tcn, post: 3607197, member: 65960"
what? a Y is not pronounced like risen
True. AMD actually discussed this, and wanted to avoid that thought, which is why we aren't using the name "Rizen." ;)
Posted on Reply
#21
Brusfantomet
So Ryzen has the name for the same reasons Intel named their chip Pentium then.

Story time:
After the 486 Intel wanted to trademark the cpu name, partly to stop the likes of AMD to make copies. Remember this was the time when there were several x86 chip producers. But they were not allowed to trademark 586, so in stead they named it Pentium, from penta meaning five.
Posted on Reply
#22
suraswami
cdawall, post: 3607180, member: 28601"
I have no issues paying $300+ for an 8 core 16 thread chip. Not my fault you have an issue, these chips aren't for you and you will have to wait for the release of the lower end models.
Mr.Wall, go back to your Bat cave and start your LN tower, you have massive OC project!! Waiting for some smokey hot performance numbers!! MC already listed these chips on sale but no mobos listed:banghead:
Posted on Reply
#23
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
suraswami, post: 3607484, member: 9580"
Mr.Wall, go back to your Bat cave and start your LN tower, you have massive OC project!! Waiting for some smokey hot performance numbers!! MC already listed these chips on sale but no mobos listed:banghead:
Lol don't worry I will have some numbers for you guys
Posted on Reply
#24
john_
What will probably never be explained in public by AMD, is the numbers. 7, 5 and 3.

"Oh, yes we wanted to copy Intel naming hopping that people with no clue in computer hardware will not understand the difference between a Core i7 and a Ryzen 7".

Anyway, in the end the name is as good as the benchmarks.
Posted on Reply
#25
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
john_, post: 3607534, member: 137560"
What will probably never be explained in public by AMD, is the numbers. 7, 5 and 3.

"Oh, yes we wanted to copy Intel naming hopping that people with no clue in computer hardware will not understand the difference between a Core i7 and a Ryzen 7".

Anyway, in the end the name is as good as the benchmarks.
They should have gone with 9, 7 and 3 then, nothing better than comparing yourself at another level up from intel :roll:
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