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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  • red77star - Thursday, July 23, 2009 - link

    This move will bite Intel big time. They should kept LGA 1366 socket and introduce x56 mobo with less features. Introduce LGA 1366 socket i8xx series supporting only dual channel, with or without HT in quad and dual core version.

    Introducing new socket and then also making i7 variant for 1156 socket is one big mess.

    AMD did similar mistake by not having 1207 socket on desktop. AMD could have been running now 6 core CPUs on desktop having good advantage over Intel.

    Both companies made one the most stupid decisions i have seen in the past 10 years of IT industry.
  • red77star - Thursday, July 23, 2009 - link

    $284 Core i7 860 2.8GHz with 95W TDP.
    $337 Core i7 860s 2.53GHz with 82W TDP.

    $196 Core i5 750 2.66GHz no HT, 95W TDP.
    $259 Core i5 750s 2.4GHz no HT, 82W TDP.

    If you decide to buy any of these processors you are an 'idiot', cause you can get i7 i920 1366 socket for $280 which overclocks to 4.0Ghz (D0 revision), and x58 mobos are in price range from $180, decent $199. LGA 1156 socket mobo will be about same price. Also you don't need to run triple channel on x58, dual channel works too. LGA 1156 socket will never get 6 or 8 core CPUs, but LGA 1366 will 6 cores for sure.

    Don't buy any socket 1156 variant Intel CPU, it's freaking waste of money. I know people will jump into LGA 1156 socket wagon, and i will just shake head.
  • epobirs - Saturday, June 27, 2009 - link

    My major app is highly CPU bound. Loves lots of hardware threads and RAM. Gaming and high-end graphics from multiple video boards is not needed. But apparently to get the most processing performance without getting into mondo expensive workstation hardware, I'll still have to spend a lot more for an i7 with a lot of support for stuff I don't need.

    Can't we have a cheaper version of the X58 chipset and less expensive motherboards to give me the performance I need without the other stuff I don't need?
  • Denithor - Tuesday, June 30, 2009 - link

    That's exactly what the "new" i7 socket 1156 will offer.

    4 cores w/HT for 8 threads
    Dual channel memory
    Single x16 PCIe for GPU
    All on a P55 motherboard (which are rumored to start around $100)

    Basically the i7 8xxx chips will be replacing the i7 920 at a lower price point on cheaper motherboards boards with dual channel instead of triple channel memory. And a beefier Turbo mode to go faster without being overclocked than the i7 920 could manage.
  • yajivtech - Thursday, June 25, 2009 - link

    Nice information. which one is best? intel or amd?
  • wheelnut53 - Saturday, June 20, 2009 - link

    dont matter to me everytime I think of switching to AMD intel comes along with something new. I dont game, webhost,or photoshop none of that stuff for me I just want a reliable PC with excellent cooling.
  • swaaye - Saturday, June 20, 2009 - link

    Well it's not really that hard to figure this stuff out, but I wonder if going with "Core 3" would've have been the better way to go.

    What is refreshing is that we're not on Pentium 6 or some such. :)
  • RagingDragon - Friday, June 19, 2009 - link

    Two different sockets for current production Core i7 brand? Are they daft? Are they intentionally trying to confuse buyers?

    In the past two sockets for a single brand has only happened during socket transitions, and was only a temporary anomaly while old old model/socket was phased out.
  • jakesbuddy4 - Friday, June 19, 2009 - link

    So does this mean that the only way to get 3-way sli or crossfire you have to buy the more expensive core i7 (9 series), since the pci express lanes are integrated into the chip for the i5 and I'm guessing i3, or will the mobo for the core i7 8 series in socket 1156 contain the controllers? If the mobo retains control, can you then upgrade from an i5 or i3 chip to an i7 8 series on the same motherboard? Confuses me just to type the question...
  • westcamo - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    Alright i just bought a CSD 7400 for a cool hundo, cheap IMO, but did i just make a stupid purchase, i thought these weren't coming out till 2010 anyway?

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