Now that's pretty quiet. Intel, today, announced its Core i5 and Core i3 branding with very little detail. The post that inspired all of this is here, which I found from Cyril's summary on Tech Report (btw, Cyril's posts pretty much always rock).

The important take away points are as follows:

1) The new brand is Intel Core. There will be three derivatives: Core i7, Core i5 and Core i3.

2) The Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad branding will eventually disappear.

3) Pentium, Celeron and Atom will remain.

4) Centrino will also go away and Intel's WiFi and WiMAX products will inherit the name starting in 2010.

But what separates a Core i7 from a Core i5 and Core i3? I may have some insight. Let's start with desktop processors:

Desktop Processor Cores Threads Turbo
Intel Core i7 4 8 Yes
Intel Core i5 2 or 4 4 Yes
Intel Core i3 2 or 4 4 No

 

Only the Core i7 is allowed to run in a LGA-1366 socket, however there will be LGA-1156 i7, i5 and i3CPUs . The number of memory channels and the presence of a QPI link does not determine branding. In other words, Lynnfield will be both a Core i7 and a Core i5 depending on the SKU.

The LGA-1156 Core i7s will be the 8xx series, while the LGA-1366 i7s will be the 9xx series. The i5s will be the 6xx series and the i3s will be the 5xx series.

Four cores and HT enabled with turbo mode yields you a Core i7 on the desktop. If you only have support for up to 4 threads then you've got a Core i5; take away turbo and you have a Core i3.

In mobile, things are a little different:

Mobile Processor Cores Threads Turbo
Intel Core i7 2 or 4 4 or 8 Yes
Intel Core i5 2 or 4 4 Yes
Intel Core i3 2 or 4 4 No

 

The mobile i7 can be 2 or 4 cores and support 4 or 8 threads, which makes sense since there will be more dual-core than quad-core mobile processors. The rest of the lineup follows the desktop rules; i5 and i3 are capped at 4 threads and i3 doesn't have Turbo.

I've got one more thing to report. Remember how I wasn't totally sure about the turbo modes for the top end Lynnfield processor in our preview? I think I've got it:

Desktop Processor Clock Speed Max Turbo (# of Cores Active)
4C 3C 2C 1C
Intel Core i7 870 2.93GHz 3.20GHz 3.20GHz 3.46GHz 3.60GHz

 

From what I've heard, this is going to be a Core i7 870 and the turbo modes are similar to what I estimated. With two cores active this thing will turbo up to 3.46GHz (4 speed bins). That's going to be a huge boon to performance in games and other apps that have difficulty using more than 2 threads. Combine that with Windows 7's superior thread handling and I believe we have a winner on our hands.

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  • bbruzzes - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    So there's now going to be 2 series of core i7s, each requiring a completely different socket? I know Intel this has done this in the past (Pentium III, 4, Celeron) but it does make things rather confusing for the customer. I guess it will keep the people with Core i3 and i5s happy knowing they have an upgrade path. Reply
  • lianparma - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    So it´s something like this:

    LGA-1366
    Desktop Core i7 = 3 mem channels + 4 cores + HT + Turbo mode


    LGA-1156
    Desktop Core i7 = 2 mem channels + 4 cores + HT + Turbo mode
    Desktop Core i5 = 2 mem channels + 2 or 4 cores + Turbo mode (no HT)
    Desktop Core i3 = 2 mem channels + 2 or 4 cores (no HT, no Turbo mode)
    Mobile Core i7 = 2 mem channels + 2 or 4 cores + HT + Turbo mode
    Mobile Core i5 = 2 mem channels + 2 or 4 cores + Turbo mode (no HT)
    Mobile Core i3 = 2 mem channels + 2 or 4 cores (no HT, no Turbo mode)
    Reply
  • umbrel - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    I think it's more like

    LGA-1366
    Desktop Core i7 9xx = 3 mem channels + 4 cores + HT + Turbo mode

    LGA-1156
    Desktop Core i7 8xx = 2 mem channels + 4 cores + HT + Turbo mode
    Mobile Core i7 ?xx= 2 mem channels + 2 cores (+ HT) or 4 cores (with or without HT) + Turbo mode

    Core i5 7xx = 2 mem channels + 2 cores (+ HT) or 4 cores (no HT) + Turbo mode
    Core i3 5xx = 2 mem channels 2 cores (+ HT) or 4 cores (no HT) no Turbo mode
    Reply
  • Rike - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    If that is correct, then the key questions for anyone who is looking at performance and value for the entire Core lineup are the following:

    1) What is the performance of 3 channel memory vs. 2 channel memory?
    2) What is the performance of HT vs. no HT?
    3) What is the performance of Turbo vs. no Turbo?
    4) What is the performance of 4 cores no HT vs. 2 cores with HT?
    And finally, 5) How does price interact with all of the above answers?

    It will be loads of fun figuring all of this out.
    Reply
  • umbrel - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    Yeap loads of fun :)
    for AT readers, the average buyer will ask the vendor and who knows what will be told.

    1) 3 channel memory requires a diferent socket so I guess it's a no go if you care for value, just valid for bragging rights (and performance? according to AT reviews it doesn't matter much)

    2) By the reviews HT is 10% to 40% increase in performance, how much the price difference is gonna be it's another matter.

    3) Turbo should be ~10% performance gain for single thread intesive applications, but I can't see that helping in multitasking OSs. According to AT it almost always is working so its like buying a faster processor, if the price difference is higher than buying the next faster processor it's a no go.

    4) Since Intel marketing seems to put enphasis on the number of threads, I would expect the price difference to be negligible (perhaps sell it as 4 threads product and thats it), but the reviews says real cores give better performance than HT.

    5) Yeah, I want to figure out that too.
    Reply
  • Xzylvador - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    Using these new names, won't it be incredibly difficult to guess which processor goes into which motherboard/socket?
    It was going to be simple: Core 2 Duo/Quad= Socket 775, i7 = socket 1366, i5 = socket(i forgot).
    Now you'll have new Lynnfields appearing in i7 name but requiring a different socket, maybe the same for the current Core 2 Duo/Quad Extremes... Any info on this?
    Reply
  • Roland00 - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    If it is a core i7 900 series then it will be socket 1366
    If it is a core i7 800 series then it will be socket 1166
    Reply
  • CompOne - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    The marketing people at Intel should be severely beaten. A core i5 should have five cores, a core i7 should have 7 cores etc. A Core2Duo on the other hand means the marketing people should have had the skin peeled from their bodies while living. What a load of worthless excrement. Reply
  • Exar3342 - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    Your a fool. Reply
  • plewis00 - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    ^^ Says the man with awful grammar - nice one... Reply

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