The new and improved, slim and svelte version of Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) is getting some respect from the bankers.

After spending the last three years in the basement of Moody's (NYSE: MCO) credit-ratings system, AMD has climbed back to a more respectable Ba3 rating. For the uninitiated, that translates to an operation with "substantial credit risk" and "speculative elements." If that sounds bad, the old B2 rating pointed out AMD as a downright speculative outfit with "high credit risk." Moreover, AMD's short-term liquidity rating shot up to SGL-1, a very positive outlook for payments over the next 12 months. The company's still not quite investment grade, but it's made a huge jump toward that attractive side of the rating pool.

You say tomato, I say sugo all'amatriciana with real guanciale -- since AMD spun off its expensive manufacturing operation, won a huge legal battle against Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), and gave its balance sheet a tremendous makeover, the company deserves some love from the credit firms. Standard and Poor's still rates AMD B- -- well into Speculative City -- but I expect a rating upgrade from that firm, too. These guys tend to stick together, after all.

A higher credit rating can work in AMD's favor if the company needs to borrow money or restructure old credit arrangements. When General Electric lost its coveted AAA rating from both Moody's and S&P last year, it was huge news. However, GE's Aa2 score still outranks Intel, which muddles along with a mere A1 rating from Moody's. And somehow, Intel still survives (cue the ironic violins.).

So AMD is far from the next GE pseudo-bank here, and unless the company is heading into an unexpected buyout spree, I don't see any reason why AMD would tap into its newly strengthened credit ratings. Still, it's always a little bit nerve-wracking to see companies you own tagged with expletives like "speculative" and "high credit risk," so this sort of upgrade should help some of us AMD owners sleep at night. And Moody's still has a "positive watch" on AMD, if that Ba3 grade still makes you nervous. Hey, some chip designers never pull out of the credit morass -- AMD got either lucky or good.

In my opinion, CEO Dirk Meyer gets much of the credit for pulling AMD out of the nosedive of 2007 and 2008. Grabbing the wheel from a severely overmatched Hector Ruiz, Meyer reinvented the way AMD does business, and the stock has followed suit. In fact, it's the top performer on my All-star-rated CAPS scorecard. Maybe it's time for you to rate AMD "outperform" and build your own score, too.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in AMD, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. Intel and Moody's are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Moody's is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Fool has created a covered strangle position on Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.