Intel Reveals Core i3, i5, i7 CPU Naming System

Today we know that the “Core” family for the performance segment goes mainly from Core 2 Duo to Core 2 Quad all the way to the top with Core i7. But with Core 2 on the way out to be replaced by new CPUs later this year, Intel needs to sort out its naming and branding conventions to that consumers will be able to figure out what they’re buying.

Intel corporate communications manager Bill Calder wrote in a blog post, “Today the Intel Core brand has a mind boggling array of derivatives (such as Core2 Duo and Core 2 Quad, etc). Over time those will go away and in its place will be a simplified family of Core processors spanning multiple levels: Intel Core i3 processor, Intel Core i5 processor, and Intel Core i7 processors.”

“Core i3 and Core i5 are new modifiers and join the previously announced Intel Core i7 to round out the family structure. It is important to note that these are not brands but modifiers to the Intel Core brand that signal different features and benefits,” Calder added.

The new Core line will be naturally be position from bottom to top Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7. The odd-numbers convention makes sense with the possibility that some consumers may confused Core 2 Duo and Quad with 2 and 4.

The desktop processors codenamed Lynnfield, which are due this fall, will marketed as both Core i5 or Core i7, depending upon the feature set and capability. Interestingly, all Clarksfield mobile chips will have the Core i7 name.

The lower-cost line will remain mostly unchanged with the Celeron being the entry point, the Pentium for basic computing and the Atom doing what it’s been doing to the netbook and MID segment.

“For PC purchasing, think in terms of good-better-best with Celeron being good, Pentium better, and the Intel Core family representing the best we have to offer,” said Calder. “This will be an evolutionary process taking place over time, and we acknowledge that multiple brands will be in the market next year including older ones, as we make the transition. But overall this is a good thing, designed to make it easier and more rational over the long run.”

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • dman3k
    and I still don't know what they are... Intel should hire Apple's marketing team.
  • lamorpa
    They are CPUs. If you do not know what that is, give up and read
  • hunter315
    So since i5 is going to use a different socket than i7, will the i3 also use yet another socket? If intel is releasing processors for 3 or 4 sockets simultaneously then motherboards are going to get confusing quick.
  • Tindytim
    Unless we see a i9, I don't care.

    dman3kand I still don't know what they are... Intel should hire Apple's marketing team.So Intel will lie to you, and make various subjective comparisons that mean little?
  • captaincharisma
    i do not see how? the motherboards will have the supported cpu stamped on the box anyway and in the product description.
  • krazynutz

    Celeron = i3
    Pentium = i5
    Core2 = i7

  • scook9
    I understand what core i7 is, and I am pretty sure I understand what core i5 is (will be when it comes out). What the hell is core i3 going to be? Just another name for the atom chips or the nehalem version of them?
  • captaincharisma
    intel must have lots of cash when coming out with 3 different CPU types. knowing CPUs like celerons were an easy way to use defective fully featured CPU's. ans now they can't do that because they all will have different socket types
  • themike
    Actually, only the older core i7 will use a different socket, the lynnfield based core i7 will use the same socket as core i5 and i3 (see

    It still seems a bit unclear, but my guess is the "new i7" on socket 1156 will "only" be dual channel ddr3, BUT, they will compensate with integrated graphic controller. I dont think it will be that much better than the current core i7 at launch, but once we start seeing the era of GPU computing / DirectX 11, I really think those with the old core I7 are gonna be left behind on performance. Probably even more when we get crazy stuff like larrabee and it's 32 cores helping on general computing.
  • themike
    sorry, link got the ")." real link was

    and for those wondering about core i3, according to anandtech, it looks like it will be a core i5 without the turbo mode that clocks overclocks it (and a lot it seems) when under load. As for the core i7, it will have what the other 2 wont, hyperthreading!