Intel sheds some light on Core i7 derivative branding

The rumor mill has been calling upcoming Lynnfield processors "Core i5" for some time now, but at Computex, Intel's Francois Piednoel told us rumors about the name were wrong. Other sources indicated that the chips would be branded Core i7, while future dual-core, 32nm Westmere CPUs would be called Core i5.

Intel Corporate Communications Manager Bill Calder has now clarified the situation in a blog post about Intel's new branding initiatives. Apparently, the truth lies somewhere in between:

2) Secondly, we are focusing our strategy around a primary 'hero' client brand which is Intel® Core™. Today the Intel Core brand has a mind boggling array of derivatives (such as Core™2 Duo and Core 2 Quad, etc). Over time those will go away and in its place will be a simplified family of Core processors spanning multiple levels: Intel® Core™ i3 processor, Intel® Core™ i5 processor, and Intel® Core™ i7 processors. Intel Core i3 and intel Core i5 processors are new and now join the previously announced Intel Core i7 modifier. It is important to note that these are not brands but modifiers to the Intel Core brand that signal different features and benefits. For example, upcoming processors such as Lynnfield (desktop) will carry the Intel Core brand, but will be available as either Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7 depending upon the feature set and capability. Clarksfield (mobile) will have the Intel Core i7 name.

Several questions still remain: what exactly will differentiate Core i5- and Core i7-branded Lynnfield offerings? And what of the Core i3? Will that name designate future 32nm Westmere dual-core processors, a subset of them, or something else entirely?

Recent reports suggest some Lynnfield processors won't have Hyper-Threading enabled, so it might make sense for Intel to brand HT-enabled flavors Core i7 and others Core i5. That way, all parts with four cores and eight threads would fall under the Core i7 umbrella.

In any case, we'll probably find out for sure by late August or early September—that's when our sources tell us Lynnfield will arrive.

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