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Intel Details CPU Naming Plans


Intel Details CPU Naming Plans

Intel may want to convince us it's simplified things with its new naming structure, but I'm not so sure. Sure, consumers buying a PC in a shop may not have issues, but anyone building a system themselves is going to need to be that bit more vigilant when picking components.

In short, Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad will be phased out in favour of Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 both for desktop and mobile once Lynnfield arrives on the desktop. However, despite what we had thought, Lynnfield won't be synonymous with Core i5, but will in fact span the two brands, with the identifiers representing "feature set and capability."

Ostensibly that's fine, Core i3 represents low-end, Core i5 mid-range and Core i7 high-end CPUs. However, buying a CPU it will be possible to fond Core i7 chips on both LGA1366 (such as the current i7 965) and LGA1156. You're going to want to look carefully at the box, therefore, to ensure the CPU you're buying is pin compatible with the motherboard you're planning to plug it into.

More annoyingly Intel isn't - currently - saying what features will differentiate Core i5 and Core i7 Lynnfield CPUs. For all we know it could be dropping technologies such as HyperThreading and Virtualisation, or differentiating between CPUs with integrated graphics and those without. We'll just have to wait and see.

Luckily in the mobile space there's less confusion, with only Core i7 CPUs to worry about. Lower down the spectrum Intel Atom will remain as it is, for netbooks, nettops and similar systems. Pentium will denote CPUs for "basic computing" and Celeron will represent "entry-level" products. Intel suggests thinking of Celeron, Pentium, Core ix as a good, better, best structure which seems fair enough.

Centrino's role will change from next year and will denote Wi-Fi and WiMAX products, which is good, in that Centrino as a brand carries a lot of weight and bad, in that it could cause some confusion for anyone stuck in the mindset that Centrino represents a platform of a CPU, motherboard and wireless. Intel vPro will see a minor change, with CPUs coming under the guise of either Core i5 vPro or Core i7 vPro.

Exciting stuff, no?



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Tony Walker

June 18, 2009, 4:19 am



June 18, 2009, 5:11 am



June 18, 2009, 6:15 am

It went 386, 486, Pentium and then I just got lost. For the last however many years I've just bought PCs and crossed my fingers. For instance I go to dabs.com and I get this for Intel desktops (I'm not even going to look at AMD, cos that's just another can of worms):


Core 2 Duo (52), Atom (14), Pentium Dual Core (13), Core 2 Quad (12), Pentium (7), Quad-Core Xeon (6), Xeon (4), Celeron Dual Core (2), Celeron (2), Dual-Core Xeon (1)

Wild guessing a reasonable choice I click Core 2 Duo, but who knows really. It sounds good, it's the first on the list. All I know is Atom is for netbooks and Pentium & Celeron sound old. Xeon sounds sexy, but therefore expensive and for gamers so I ignore it. I choose Dual Core from the next list, cos Multi Core sounds like more than I need. So I get the next choice.

Dual Core:

E8400 (17), E8500 (5), E7200 (3), T5750 (1), E4400 (1), T6400 (1), E4500 (1)

E or T, flip a coin time now. And what do all the numbers mean?

I know whatever I get doesn't matter much, I don't play games so I try not to let it worry me, whatever I get I'm sure will be ample for my needs. Hell I was happy with a Pentium I had 8 years or whatever ago so any new PC will be fine. But it just seems despite them going "let's simplify the branding" they really don't. I'd like to make the right choice though, get the fastest machine for my money, but I've really no idea how and nothing I've read has ever explained it.


June 18, 2009, 2:38 pm

I totally agree with what HK said!

I looked at Intel's website recently to try to make sense of one of the TR reviews, and I just gave up after a while. This really doesn't help.


June 18, 2009, 11:38 pm

I buy from ebay nowadays. Get everything I could afford then leave the rest to dust...

it works

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