As first hinted at by Intel back in late April, Intel is embarking on a journey to redefine its consumer processor branding, the largest such shift within the earlier 15 years of the corporate. Having already made waves by altering its retail packaging on premium desktop chips such because the Core i9-11900K and Core i9-12900K, the tech big goals to introduce a brand new naming scheme throughout its consumer processors, signaling a transformative part in its consumer roadmap.

This shift is because of start within the second half of the 12 months, when Intel will launch their extremely anticipated Meteor Lake CPUs. Meteor Lake represents a big leap ahead for the corporate with reference to manufacturing, structure, and design – and, it could appear, is prompting the necessity for a contemporary product naming conference.

Crucial modifications embody dropping the ‘i’ from the naming scheme and choosing a extra simple Core 3, 5, and seven branding construction for Intel’s mainstream processors. The opposite notable inclusion, which is now formally confirmed, is that Intel will bifurcate the Core model a bit and place its premium consumer merchandise in their very own class, utilizing the brand new Extremely moniker. Extremely chips will signify the next efficiency tier and goal marketplace for the elements, and would be the solely place Intel makes use of their top-end Core 9 (beforehand i9) branding.

Intel: A Transient Historical past of the Core i Sequence

The Core i sequence debuted in 2008, round 15 years in the past, marking the top of the primary Core/Core 2 period and signaling a brand new daybreak for Intel’s consumer product traces. This alteration occurred alongside the discharge of its 45 nm manufacturing course of by way of the Nehalem structure and lined merchandise akin to Celeron, Pentium Core, and the Xeon manufacturers. Extra lately, in 2020, Intel initiated a extra complete overhaul of its company identification to modernize the messaging from a 50 12 months previous firm, the results of that are nonetheless winding by way of the corporate right now.

This revamp of Intel’s  branding has concerned the introduction of latest emblems and logos characterised by cleaner typography and simplistic geometric backgrounds with a lighter blue shade scheme. As a part of this course of, Intel has previously bid farewell to its long-established finances CPU manufacturers, Pentium and Celeron. These branding modifications have been undoubtedly supposed to convey a willingness to vary, transcend, and solidify their place in an rising market.

Going from the older Core Duo branding to the Core i3 sequence marked the daybreak of Intel’s trendy low-end processor branding, with the quantitative markup of their different lineups into the Core i5 (mid-range) and the Core i7 sequence – which on the time, was reserved for Intel’s flagship processors.

Going Ahead: Deemphasizing Generational Branding

The newest branding change, as beforehand talked about, is the largest within the final 15 years of Intel. Whereas some naming schemes might be complicated and cluttered (ahem, Xeons), Intel is aiming for one thing that is nonetheless moderately clear for the consumer processors. Which is nice timing, as a result of the {hardware} underpinning them is about to get pretty advanced with the transition chiplet-based Meteor Lake and its mix-and-match of dies constructed on the Intel 4 course of and constructed over at rival-supplier TSMC.

Initially, underneath their new branding system Intel is getting rid of main generational branding. For the final decade plus, we have seen Intel slowly increment by way of their Core generations, akin to 4th Gen Core, ninth Gen Core, thirteenth Gen Core, and so on. Usually, this was positioned in entrance of the processor description (particularly on OEM gadgets), giving us descriptions akin to “Intel eleventh Era Core i3”.

Beneath Intel’s new branding change, the processor technology is being deemphasized – however not eradicated solely. The processor mannequin numbers themselves will nonetheless begin with the technology as they do right now, however that would be the solely place the place the technology might be persistently denoted. Era as a number one indicator might be going away.

At this level, we do not know the place Intel will begin their newest numbering system from. Whereas Intel may very nicely proceed on from the place they’ve left off, making the subsequent elements the 14th Era (and thus 14xxx mannequin numbers), extra probably Intel goes to make use of this as an opportunity to reset their technology depend. The benchmark knowledge leaks that brought on Intel to initially comment on this matter back in April included point out of a 1003H chip, for what that is price.

Intel Core 3, Core 5, and Core 7 for Mainstream: Dropping the Iconic ‘i’

As a part of the brand new rebranding, Intel is dropping the ‘i’ from their processor tiering system for consumer processors, beginning with Meteor Lake and different merchandise on the roadmap past this. Which means the Core i3, i5, and i7 naming construction turns into Core 3, 5, and seven, successfully dropping the ‘i’ moniker of the naming construction.

This implies chips such because the Core i5 13600 can be named one thing like Core 5 13600 underneath the brand new naming conference. This does not represent a large change within the naming, however is critical because the ‘i’ has been an iconic moniker for its processors during the last 15 years.

Notably right here, this tier of Core branding is what Intel considers their “mainstream” processors. It does not cowl Core 9 in any means – that tier is reserved for Intel’s premium “Extremely” model.

Intel Core Extremely: Reserved For Premium Chips – Core Extremely 5, Extremely 7, and Extremely 9

Intel can also be formally splitting off its premium consumer chips into their very own sub-brand of types, giving them the brand new Extremely label. Intel’s Core Extremely branding is reserved for his or her “premium” processors, which the corporate is not strictly defining what which means prematurely. So how it will match into the Meteor Lake technology of processors stays to be seen. Although on the desktop, we would not be in the slightest degree stunned to see this exchange (or go hand-in-hand with) Intel’s conventional Okay/KS sequence SKUs. 

Studying between the traces right here, it is attention-grabbing to notice that, not like Intel’s slide for mainstream processors, which says “Starting with Meteor Lake”, Intel’s Extremely modifications are “Starting 2H 2023”. There may be nonetheless a whole lot of cloudiness inside Intel’s consumer chip roadmap in terms of their desktop processor plans for the subsequent 12 months, and the way Meteor Lake might (or might not) match into these. So this slight distinction on when the branding begins could also be an indication that Intel is not meaning to launch high-end Meteor Lake desktop processors – opening the door to a Raptor Lake refresh or the like.

Lastly, following Intel’s supposed processor numbering scheme sooner or later, for each mainstream and Extremely chips, the processor mannequin quantity might be after the phrase “processor”. Intel’s instance is “Intel Core Extremely 7 processor [model number]” which is not an excessive amount of dissimilar to the present construction, albeit with the phrase ‘Extremely’ thrown in for good measure. That is to indicate the goal market of the processor, much like how Intel used the Excessive moniker for his or her Core X-series processors.

Intel’s Meteor Lake Cometh In H2’2023

The shift to the brand new branding and effectual removing of the ‘i’ from the mentioned branding is attention-grabbing. Whereas processor gross sales have declined over the previous couple of years, the COVID-19 pandemic, the conflict in Ukraine, and a basic financial downturn have worsened issues. It stays to be seen whether or not or not these new modifications are designed to advertise an uptick in gross sales, e.g., promoting extra chips, or whether or not or not they characterize making a change as a result of large generational shift in how Intel might be fabbing its processors – each as regards to chiplets and the EUV-enabled Intel 4 course of.

With Meteor Lake not anticipated to splash down from the skies till later in 2023 for cell and maybe in a while (if in any respect) in 2024 for desktop chips, Intel’s newest Intel 4 course of represents a large shift in Intel’s processor applied sciences. Meteor Lake is the primary in Intel’s arsenal to make use of EUV lithography within the manufacturing course of, together with utilizing the same strategy to utilizing each efficiency (P) and effectivity (E) cores, very similar to we have seen from each Alder Lake (twelfth Gen) and the present Raptor Lake (thirteenth Gen) processors. 

With out diving a lot too into the meat of Meteor Lake and the developments of what Intel 4 and TSMC’s personal processes convey to the desk, our detailed protection of Intel’s upcoming Meteor Lake processors might be discovered beneath:

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