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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  • thewaveofthefuture - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    i7 is a wonderful processor but i have never seen it go to a 22X multiplier on a i7 920(i.e. only one core active and other cores are in C3 or C6 state). Its just darn hard with today's OS's to keep 2 cores inactive. If i understand turbo mode correctly it means that the core has to be atleast in C3 of C6 state to be considered inactive.

    So just a question?

    has there been a study on how much time on normal usage does the OS make 2 or 3 cores into inactive mode and thus enabling higher multiplier on the one (or two remaining core on lynnfield and bloomfield)

    all this enthusiasm of getting higher speed is of less usage if the OS won't allow it
    Reply
  • snakeoil - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    wow core i7, core i5, and now core i3.
    core i5 is a crippled version of core i7, and core i3 is a crippled version of the already crippled core i5
    what a humongous mess. poor intel fanboys.
    Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    Um. Then what exactly is a Phenom X3 or Phenom X2 in relation to the Phenom X4? Reply
  • teko - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    With Phenom, the number means the total core. X2 = 2 cores, X3 = 3 cores, etc...

    With Intel the number doesn't represent the total core, but just to categorize them between high, med, and low-end CPUs.
    Reply
  • aeternitas - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    Yeah, having so much choice sure does suck!! Calling people "intel fanboys" says more about you than anyone else. Go back to your lowend where AMD dominates. Reply
  • philosofool - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    Intel makes the best processors, and "crippled" is just the wrong word. Processors are manufactured or harvested to meet certain price points. Reply
  • fyleow - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    Anand,

    I see a lot of positive comments about Turbo mode but how much of this is just clever marketing vs honest to goodness engineering innovation?

    I think Intel has a lot more clock speed overhead than they are letting on and this is just a margin increasing marketing strategy. Why push the limit by releasing a 4.0ghz low yield $999 Extreme Edition when you can release a much higher yield 4.2 ghz for the same price? (4.2 ghz only on single core max turbo mode of course)

    I mean we can see that the 920 hits 4.0 ghz without any extreme cooling, and yet the 975 EE is only 3.3?

    I hope Intel doesn't have such a short memory. They should have learned their lesson on the dangers of falling behind during the NetBurst days. It wasn't long ago that AMD was dominating the game.

    Reply
  • nafhan - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    I think a lot of it has to do with power envelopes, too. Overclocking 4 cores takes a lot more power than stock speeds, whereas shutting down 2 cores and overclocking the other 2 probably stays in the same (or possibly a lower) power envelope. Reply
  • nafhan - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    I think a lot of it has to do with power envelopes, too. Overclocking 4 cores takes a lot more power than stock speeds, whereas shutting down 2 cores and overclocking the other 2 probably stays in the same (or possibly a lower) power envelope. Reply
  • philosofool - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    The processors aren't just for enthusiast gamers who will tolerate occasional failures: they must be rock solid in mission critical enterprise applicaitons, which is why they never meet the clock potential. Reply

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