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Intel's logo for its main line of "i7" Nehalem processors will be blue.

Intel's logo for the "Extreme" edition of the i7 brand will be black.
Intel's "baby" -- its new eight-core chips based on the new Nehalem architecture -- have been named and are almost ready to launch

The impending launch of Intel's Nehalem processor in Q4 2008 already has the hardware community buzzing.  Nehalem has already shaped up to appear quite the performance beast.  With the power of eight logical cores (four physical, doubled by hyper-threading) built on a 45 nm process to leverage, it’s shaping up to be a strong offering. 

The new processor will feature QuickPath, Intel's answer to AMD's HyperTransport, an on-chip memory controller, SSE4 instruction support, and an 8 MB cache pool.  Chips have already been demoed running at 3.2 GHz, so early indications are that Intel has had relatively little process problems.

Now Intel has made an important move towards the eventual release of Nehalem by giving it its official brand name.  The processor will be branded "Intel Core" with an "i7" identifier for the first round of chips.  This brand will include an Extreme Edition at launch according to Intel.  It is also expected to launch to both the desktop and server markets, though the server line may come slightly later than the desktop lineup.  Intel is also cooking up mobile versions of the processor. 

In months following the launch, other products with different identifiers will be announced according to Intel.  Intel says that its focus with the line is to both up the performance over its previous successful dual and quad core offerings.  At the same time it hopes to cut the power usage significantly.

Sean Maloney, Intel Corporation executive vice president and general manager, Sales and Marketing Group says that focusing on the "i7" line is Intel's top priority.  He states, "The Core name is and will be our flagship PC processor brand going forward.  Expect Intel to focus even more marketing resources around that name and the Core i7 products starting now."

Intel will maintain a numbered system similar to its past "Intel Core" offerings to differentiate individual processor models.

Another significant advance for Intel is that all the chip's cores will be on a single piece of silicon.  AMD has been using this method for quite some time, but Intel declined in order to improve yields.  The chip will face off against AMD's upcoming Shanghai processor.

Meanwhile, the Penryn platform, while passing the torch to Nehalem will see a bit of new life of its own, thanks to the Dunnington platform which will place 3 dies for a total of 6 cores in a chip package and target the server market. 

AMD plans to release a six-core version of Shanghai to combat this beast.  A 12-core dual-die package version of Shanghai is thought to be in the works, and Intel is likely considering either a dual-die Nehalem with eight cores or consolidating Dunnington to a single die and releasing a dual-die variant with 12 cores to combat this.

Intel is also focusing significant attention to its upcoming line of discrete graphics processors, code-named Larrabee.



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RE: any explanation to the name?
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/11/2008 11:57:18 AM , Rating: 5
I'm guessing the name stems from the fact that its the seventh major architecture since the Pentium era.

1-4.Pentium (1-4)
5. Core Duo
6. Core 2 Duo/Quad
7. Nehalem

As to processor/graphics card naming and number, it seldom makes perfect sense. If you think the brand name is bad, wait until the processor numbers start coming out, if past gen numbering schemes are any indication.


RE: any explanation to the name?
By Aloonatic on 8/11/2008 12:16:16 PM , Rating: 2
I was going to ask the same question and your answer seems to be as good as any seen so far.

I'm not sure where Pentium 4 HT, Pentium D and Pentium Duo come in that list tho :-s :)

Maybe naming Nahalem "Core i7" they are trying to make the Intel marketing guys earn their pay cheques, after having a rather easy time of it over the last couple of years?


RE: any explanation to the name?
By murphyslabrat on 8/11/2008 1:34:39 PM , Rating: 2
Pentium 4 HT was a bastard child with some tweaks, Pentium D's are either dual-die Presslers or Allendales (depending on the model number), and Pentium Duo's don't exist.


RE: any explanation to the name?
By cochy on 8/11/2008 2:38:45 PM , Rating: 4
Pentium D are Netburst chips.
Pentium Dual-Core are Core chips.


RE: any explanation to the name?
By afkrotch on 8/12/2008 1:23:21 AM , Rating: 2
The P4 with HT were better at multitasking than any single core AMD product. Had an Athlon 64 before. If I encoded a video, that's all it could do, while my P4 Prescott with HT was able to encode a video and play some CS:S at the same time. I haven't looked back at AMD since and with the way things are going, I don't need to.


RE: any explanation to the name?
By Spoelie on 8/12/2008 3:46:28 AM , Rating: 2
huh, if you wanted your encode to take multiple days/weeks then yes, that was a possible scenario

another scenario on the single core athlon64 would be giving the encoding thread a lower than normal priority and playing some CS:S at the same time. would have been faster than the P4 and it consumed less power while doing so

but hey, whatever makes you sleep at night


RE: any explanation to the name?
By SeanMI on 8/11/2008 12:26:01 PM , Rating: 3
You're probably right, but I'm sure the first core is labled as "Core 0"...That would leave the last core as "Core 7".

Think that could be it?


RE: any explanation to the name?
By HsiKai on 8/11/2008 12:33:09 PM , Rating: 2
For now Nehalem (i7) is only coming out in dual- and quad-core configurations, so no. I agree with the OP, it's probably the seventh iteration of Intel processors.


RE: any explanation to the name?
By SeanMI on 8/11/2008 1:11:06 PM , Rating: 2
But unlike previous quad core processors, it has hyperthreading enabled which presents 2 "virtual" cores per core...yielding 0 through 7.


RE: any explanation to the name?
By HsiKai on 8/11/2008 1:29:00 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, but the dual-core Nehalem processors are also in the i7 series. The octo-core processors will also be i7. They will not be i3 and i15 respectively.


RE: any explanation to the name?
By SeanMI on 8/11/2008 1:55:31 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah yeah, you're right...I thought about that after my first post. I was wondering when someone would mention that :)

I think they should have an i3 and i15 though. Think of it as a new convoluted performance rating system.


RE: any explanation to the name?
By HsiKai on 8/11/2008 2:49:27 PM , Rating: 3
Because the average consumer isn't already inundated with obscure marketing terms and designations already. =)


RE: any explanation to the name?
By PCXLFan on 8/11/2008 6:56:32 PM , Rating: 3
I guess they learned something from the nvidia's marketing strategy, and decided confusing consumers is an excellent strategy.

Wouldn't it be awesome if they muddy the water even more and create letter specifications for each model of the I7 which have even less rhyme and reason?

I7 XT = 2.2ghz, I7 GT = 2.4ghz, I7 YT = 2.6ghz, I7 YTS = 2.8ghz, I7 YR = 3.0ghz, I7 ASS = 3.2ghz w/unlocked multiplier.


RE: any explanation to the name?
By HsiKai on 8/11/2008 7:54:06 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, but I also think they learned not to ever bring up the "Pentium" and especially "Pentium 4" brands ever again and so decided to resume their prior generational sequence without the use of "Pentium" since this is a completely different architecture and has an amazingly positive connotation. Perhaps they will push marketing the actual architecture/steps in their tick-tock cycles rather than making up new names for everything. iX scales much better than "Core 3 Quad/Octo ... Core 4 ... Core 9 ... Core X ... Core XII."

Although ATI's naming convention (of going from the 9000-series to X-YYY) did seem fairly reasonable compared to Nvidia's, as you point out. Or they could just botch the whole system by appending each product with "XXX."


RE: any explanation to the name?
By afkrotch on 8/12/2008 1:49:22 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, because XT, XTX, XTS, X2, Pro, etc weren't confusing either. At least both of them have consolidated their lineup or simply shrunk it (in the case of AMD/ATI).


RE: any explanation to the name?
By FITCamaro on 8/11/2008 1:40:11 PM , Rating: 4
Yes but now you're assuming the common public knows how things work in a computer.


RE: any explanation to the name?
By crystal clear on 8/11/2008 12:26:06 PM , Rating: 2
Just google it....type i7 on your search engines & see for yourself the results....

A big mistake ...call it Core Ultra or Core ++ or Hyper or turbo etc etc.

The "i" & "7" just dont make any sense nor suitable.

There are plenty of companies using the "i" & "7"...


RE: any explanation to the name?
By vdig on 8/11/2008 1:43:22 PM , Rating: 3
Now that you mention it, you are right. Where did this i7 come from? They are not numbering their processors properly. Core is the first of the Core brand, obviously. Then Core 2.

Next should have been Core 2 Champion. Then Core 2 Hyper, followed by Super Core 2. Follow that up with Super Core 2 Turbo. Finally, you go through Core Alpha to Core Alpha 3. I would however recommend to avoid naming anything Core EX.

Finally, we get to Core 3. Really, it is easy to go from 1 to 3. 1, 2, 7? What a waste of numbers. Just look, Capcom has got naming conventions down pat. ;)


RE: any explanation to the name?
By Clauzii on 8/11/2008 3:44:29 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe Intel just want to burn $30.000 AU Dolllars on the .com domainename :D

http://i7.com/


By Comdrpopnfresh on 8/11/2008 7:55:58 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think this is correct. The Intel numbering scheme isn't based on product lines, but rather architectural releases.

-286
-386
-486
-Pentium was the P5 (thus the greek-derived name)
-Pentium Pro, PII, PIII, PIII-based Pentium M, Pentium M-based Core, and the Core-based Core2 are considered P6
-Netburst (or Pentium 4) is P68
-Itanium was internally called P7 by Intel, but it resided in the server domain, and didn't fit into desktop progression
-Nehalem is i7 as P7 was taken by Itanium. It is far enough removed from the P-M architecture to not continue the 'P', besides the Itanium reasoning, and is the first socket shift in a while- leading to a new platform of i786. Once again, i786 is too technical compared to i7, and not as good of a descriptor as i786-64. Currently, mainstream desktop chips are almost all x86-64. Take that out of the technical name--> i7(86-64)... i7

Jason, you're pretty much right, but your reasoning alone doesn't incorporate all of intel's architectures, mobile, desktop, and server going all the way back. It is more based on marketing numbering vs internal or architectural numbering. That logic breaks down at transitions between PI-IV, Mobile, Core, and now Nehalem.


RE: any explanation to the name?
By 16nm on 8/11/2008 8:55:50 PM , Rating: 2
I remember the P6 was the Pentium Pro. Netburst was a break from the Pentium Pro architecture. Core 2 was a return to it (AMD never broke from it - they knew what they were doing). P7 would seem indicate an evolution of P6. However, i7? I'm guessing Intel thinks it has something quite different this time around.


RE: any explanation to the name?
By System48 on 8/12/2008 11:00:34 AM , Rating: 2
There was an article I read somewhere yesterday that explained the naming. You're somewhat correct, if you pull out a Upgrading and Repairing PC's book, it goes through the generations with the Pentium Pro being the last one, P6. The P4's netburst was technically a new generation but because of its performance issues it's designated as P68 inside Intel. Intel backpedaled with a new mobile CPU, the Pentium M which was based off the Pentium Pro arch and not netburst, this led to Core(Yonah) and then eventually to Core 2. Most say Itanium is the actual P7 generation, but with the naming of Nehalem it seems like Intel is designating it as P7.


RE: any explanation to the name?
By BBeltrami on 8/12/2008 3:02:58 PM , Rating: 2
Here's my guess:

8088
80286
80386
80486
Pentium
Core
Nehalem


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