Business, Hardware

Intel confirms Core i3, i5 and i7 – brace for nVidia-style confusion


After months of speculations on how Intel will expand its Core brand for the Nehalem architecture, the company finally confirmed the i3 and i5. Now it is more than obvious that Intel’s approach was heavily influenced by BMW and their naming scheme [3-Series, 5-Series and 7-Series].

Bill Calder explained that the company will now use "modifiers" for brand separation, keeping Core as the "hero" brand for the company. The entry level processors will be market as "Core i3", mainstream level "Core i5" and Core i7 is the crown jewel. While in idea, this might be good idea and a follow-up to the excellent Stars rating scheme [it may be ludicrous to techies, but it helps when explaining to the regular consumers].

But, these modifiers will not be tied to a specific processor codename. For instance, Intel will use the both Core i5 and i7 "modifiers" for 45nm Lynnfield processors: on the desktop segment, we will have Lynnfield quad-core processors named as Core i5. But in the notebook space, quad-core Lynnfield [Clarksfield] will carry the Core i7 moniker, as it will be the best and the fastest processor for notebooks.

Moving on, 32nm Clarkdale and Arrandale will be branded either as Core i3 or Core i5, depending on the use: desktop receives i3; notebook receives i5 "modifier" branding. This approach is identical to nVidia’s controversial decision to name a three-year old architecture as the brand new one, with their GeForce GTX280M, and that certainly wasn’t helped with the fact that lower-end GTX200M series chips now support DirectX 10.1 and GDDR5 memory, while the alleged top-end supports only DirectX 10.0 and GDDR3 memory.

If anything goes wrong, neither Intel nor nVidia cannot claim that they didn’t cook the mess themselves. Consumers may be treated as an uneducated bunch, but that time is passing. To us, it looks like the IT industry is turning into an automotive one, and we all know how that ended up. Consumers grew up. Giants didn’t, and that’s why Big Three is now being chopped to pieces. We hope that nVidia and Intel will be smarter than that.

The simplest and the best branding scheme in the It industry still goes out to Apple, there is no doubt about it.