When one is looking for a Windows, most times the enquiry starts with, ‘iCore i chii?’ Which Core i version is it? It’s been this way since 2008 when Intel adopted the i.
Well, Intel is dropping the i from its names now. What we used to call an Intel Core i3 processor will just be an Intel Core 3 processor.
From now on, these will be the new names:
- Intel Core 3
- Intel Core 5
- Intel Core 7
- Intel Cure Ultra 5
- Intel Core Ultra 7
- Intel Core Ultra 9
Below the above chips are the ones that used to be called Pentium and Celeron chips. So the hierarchy now goes Intel, Intel Core and then Intel Core Ultra.
The difference between Core and Core Ultra is that the latter has a larger feature set. It’s not necessarily that the Ultras are more powerful/faster.
This seems like a minor change but Intel says it was necessary because their brand was getting shortchanged on the market. When people refer to their processors as just ‘i5’ for example, one does not readily associate that with Intel.
I totally agree with that assessment. I have talked to many people who had no idea what Intel was even though they were familiar with Core i5’s etc.
Across the world, people associate Apple with the ‘i’ and so it made no sense for Intel for their processors to be simply known as i3’s.
Even Apple is ditching the ‘i’
It’s interesting to note that Apple themselves are moving away from the ‘i’. It’s too late to change the iPhone’s name but none of the new products have an ‘i’ in them. After the iPod, iPhone and iPad, these are some of the names we have seen;
- It’s not iWatch, it’s Apple Watch
- It’s not iPencil, it’s Apple Pencil
- It’s not iVision Pro, it’s Apple Vision Pro
You will notice that all the new names have Apple in them. You can’t say I have the Watch, you are forced to say Apple Watch for example. That’s good for the Apple brand. Intel is hoping for the same with their processors.
It might not work for Intel
I foresee people still calling the Core 3, the Core i3. It would be the same if the iPhone became the Apple Phone in my opinion, we would still call it the iPhone.
However, for lower-end chips, Intel may have won. They dropped Celeron and Pentium branding last year and those chips are now simply called Intel processors. You have to use their name now.
Where it sucks for buyers
It is not just the ‘i’ that’s being dropped. Intel won’t be calling the chips “14th Gen Core 5” and so retailers probably won’t either.
That’s a problem because that’s how people buy processors. “I want an 11th Gen Core i5 or newer,” goes the conversation. Now you won’t be seeing the “12th Gen” or similar branding.
This could lead to people buying the wrong generation processors. Intel is okay with that, they actually want it that way. Said Intel to The Verge,
Our customers, OEMs, they have to sell a lot of older products… screaming ‘13th Gen’ highlights what’s new, but it also screams what’s old. We want to make it a little bit more flexible
Intel knows that not explicitly telling people which generation a chip is may cause confusion but they want that so they can help companies like HP and Dell push computers with older chips.
This means everyone is going to have to learn to look at Intel processors’ full names. I know many of you guys already know this but there are also multitudes that don’t.
An example of a full name is “Intel Core Ultra 9 processor 1090H“. The gibberish-to-many numbers at the end need to be explained.
- Intel Core Ultra – brand
- 9 – brand modifier (tells you which particular chip it is)
- We split the 1090H into 3 parts
- 10 – indicates the generation, in this case, it’s a 10th Gen processor. So look out for the first two numbers, that’s how you find out the generation.
- 90 – you don’t need to worry about it too much, although a higher number when it’s the same generation indicates it was developed later and may have more features.
- H – there is more to this letter than many think. The following table might be information overload but refer back to it when you next need to purchase a laptop.
The Intel letters
|Form/Function Type/Segment||Suffix||Optimised/Designed For|
|Desktop||K||High performance, unlocked|
|F||Requires discrete graphics|
|X/XE||Highest performance, unlocked|
|Mobile (Laptop2, 2 in 1)||HX||Highest performance, all SKUs unlocked|
|HK||High performance, unlocked|
|P||Performance for thin & light|
|Y||Extremely low-power efficient|
|G1-G7||Graphics level (processors with newer integrated graphics technology)|
|UL||Power efficient, in LGA package|
|HL||High performance, in LGA package|
I think we all understand the table. If you’re looking for a laptop to use primarily for text editing and web browsing you might want a chip with Y or U at the end. That will give you the best battery life, which you might need in Zimbabwe.
So that’s it. You won’t accidentally buy the wrong generation chip when you are armed with this knowledge.