In a rather surprising move, Intel has indeed switched up the naming scheme for their iconic Intel Core series of processors. While they’re still keeping the numbers, they’re dropping the ‘i’ prefix from it, meaning that future processors from the upcoming Meteor Lake generation onwards will look read Intel Core 5 followed by its specific model number.
According to Intel, it’s a ‘new brand for a new era’, with the new era in question being the upcoming Meteor Lake generation of processors. They say that it’s an inflection point for design, manufacturing and architecture for them, and will deliver significant advances for both Intel and its customers. It will only apply to Meteor Lake onwards though, so all the old processors will not suddenly have new names over night.
Following this naming change, Team Blue will no longer put the generational messaging in front of the Intel Core brand, and will drop the ‘i’ prefix. As an example, if Intel had kept their old naming scheme, the potential 14th Gen Intel Core i7-14700 will now be known as the Intel Core 7 14700 instead.
However, that’s not the only major naming scheme change Intel is making. They’ve also announced that their Intel Core processor lineup will now have two tiers to them, with higher end processors soon to be called Intel Core Ultra. These will be known as Intel Core Ultra 5/7/9 followed by the final processor numbering, and the first of Intel Core Ultra chips should appear later this year. There’s no specifics as to what lineup this replaces exactly, but it’s likely their -K/-KS/-X high end desktop processors.
It’s certainly strange to say the least seeing Intel dilute what has been perhaps the most recognisable brand name in the computer hardware scene with its Intel Core i-something nomenclature. By dropping the ‘i’ prefix and adopting the Ultra moniker for their mainstream processor lineup, they’ve not only made themselves seem more like Apple and other smartphone manufacturers, but also more like AMD and their Ryzen lineup.
Usually it’s the company in second or third place that rebrands their products to make it sound more like the competition, but Intel isn’t exactly behind AMD anyway, beating them in some workloads while losing in others. In any case, we will likely learn more about the rebrand and their motives once Meteor Lake debuts later this year.