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.



View All Comments

  • iwodo - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    It is not easily understandable. People will always think i7 is better and faster when it could means just about the same. To add even more confusion they add some Series Number at the end which has Virtually No meaning at all.

    Previously At least you will know Q stands for Quad Core. Now you will never know if it is Quad Core or Quad Thread. And you will have to refer to your Product Table every time.

    While I understand these means very little to most users since they will just think i7 is better and faster. '

    To make the matter worst for System Builders, intel has managed to introduce a different socket in the same i7 brand.

    And then you now have CHEAP Brands like Pentium and Celeron....Atom

    So from top to bottom..

    Core i7
    Core i5
    Core i3
    Atom ( Although you could discount it since it is not in the same market )

    Oh, it really brings back good memory when i can just choose CPU by their Brand and Mhz. No more VT / HT / Core / Thread / Cache / FSB / derivative.

  • drebo - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    Hopefully these make it into the server market very quickly. As it is, HP has discontinued all of their Core 2-based servers. They're moving to the Generation 6 ProLiants, which are all Core i7 or Core i5-based. I think they jumped the gun a little, though, as they currently do not have an offering in the low or middle market segments.

    Hopefully we'll see these to market within the next month.
  • philosofool - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    This is a lot of branding and little substance from Intel. I suspect that people like Anand readers are going to pay very little attention to various brands and will instead know their stuff about the benefits involved with the various procs.

    It's going to be very interesting to see how hyperthreading affects performance.
  • Eeqmcsq - Wednesday, June 17, 2009 - link

    ... the Core i3 and i5 will come either as a dual core + hyperthreading, or a quad core - hyperthreading, thus 4 threads in both cases. I take it the product number will have rules that tells us which is a dual core and which is a quad core.

  • IlllI - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    gawd, thats not confusing at all, huh
    how is a person suppose to keep track of all these little nuances?

    i miss the days of the pentium and celeron. at least back then people *knew* celeron was crap and low end.

    i can't imagine a average joe person being able to figure out all the differences between i3, i5, i7.
  • Klinky1984 - Friday, June 19, 2009 - link

    Celeron wasn't too bad, the 300A going to 500Mhz was hot stuff back then. Also the Celeron had 128KB of on die cache vs 512KB of half-speed off die cache. If you're talking about the Netburst era Celerons or the zero L2 Cache Celerons, then yes, those do suck. Reply

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