Intel explains future Core i7, i5, i3 branding

June 17, 2009 // 6:09 p.m.

Tags: #core-i3 #cpu #i5 #i7 #intel #naming #processor #rebrand

Intel has spilled the beans on its future CPU naming, claiming to have acted in an effort to simplify things, but in effect, quite the opposite has happened for us home builders.

The Core 2 Duo and Quad brands will vanish and will be replaced modified progressively after Lynnfield arrives with Core i3, i5 and i7 monikers. That's not to say Lynnfield equals Core i5 though.

Instead, Lynnfield will span Core i5 and Core i7 brands and the choice of brand will vary between features (like HyperThreading) and processor performance.

Intel spins its Core marketing modifier as:

"For example, upcoming processors such as Lynnfield (desktop) will carry the Intel Core brand, but will be available as either Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7 depending upon the feature set and capability. Clarksfield (mobile) will have the Intel Core i7 name."

That's great for the mass market of users who simply buy whole PC and never open the case: seeing the i3, i5, i7 split should make the performance jumps more transparent as these consumers don't care what socket or memory architecture goes inside. However, for us home builders knowing that you're buying a "Core i7" on LGA1156 or LGA1366 is a big deal, since they are obviously not socket compatible.

"So the key here is there will be a range of features and capabilities within the Intel Core family - our flagship brand representing the highest performance and the latest technology - but simplified into entry-level (Intel Core i3), mid-level (Intel Core i5), and high-level (Intel Core i7)."

What isn't specified are the "features": does this mean HyperThreading, memory channels (two or three) or other components like graphics-on-CPU or even fundamentals like Virtualization?

Intel will continue to use the Atom, Celeron and Pentium brands at the low end in addition to the new three, although with LGA775 Celeron and Pentium CPUs will be phased out within six to 12 months. With regards to notebooks, the Core modifier will also permeate here too and after many years of success, the Centrino branding is finally being retired to cover its WiFi and WIMAX products only.

So, there we are, Lynnfield will fit under the Core i5 brand... and also i7. And although not expressly stated, we expect the Core 2 product line to be remodified to be Core i3, with the refreshed G45 G41 and P43 chipsets. Wonderful.

Is Intel taking a leaf out of Nvidia's marketing exercise books? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.
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