How Intel’s rebranding admits defeat to Apple and AMD | Digital Trends


Intel just made a pretty big announcement about rebranding its processors. Starting with Meteor Lake CPUs, Intel consumer processors will carry a new name: Intel Core and Intel Core Ultra. Even more mind-blowing, Intel will also drop the iconic i in its naming scheme.

The change might seem subtle on the surface, but it says something significant about the state of the industry and Intel’s role in it. For so many years, Intel’s lead in the processor world meant that its competitors were those who mimicked its approach to AMD product naming and marketing, of course.

But with this new naming convention, Intel is adopting a mix of what AMD and Apple are doing. For the first time in a long time, Intel is chasing its competitors instead of leading the pack. It’s an admission that we’ve entered a new era where the Intel brand may no longer mean what it once did to the average buyer.

Intel is also dropping generation mentions.

With the new branding, Intel is focusing on the Core portion of the naming scheme and dropping the i from processor tiers like i3 and i9. Therefore, a CPU that previously would have been called Intel Core i5-14600K will now become Intel Core 5 14600K.

Overall, the tiering will still be 3/5/7/9, just like AMD Ryzen CPUs, but the iconic i is now gone. That’s not all, though. Intel is now trying to further emphasize the difference between its mainstream chips and the high-end segment.

From now on, future CPUs from Intel will belong to the Intel Core family or Intel Core Ultra family, not unlike Apple’s Pro, Max and Ultra tiers.

Obviously this is from Intel, so there is some overlap between the two lines, as Core and Core Ultra both have level 5 and 7 chips. It’s a bit confusing, but the general idea is that Core Ultra chips offer excellent performance. Intel didn’t explain how overclocking fits into this, but Tom’s Hardware notes that a chip doesn’t have to be from the current K-series to be branded as Intel Core Ultra.

Intel is also dropping generation mentions. Before, we often saw Intel refer to its CPUs as, for example, 13th Generation Intel Core i9-13900K processor. Now, we’ll have to rely on the numbers after the level to tell the generation.


The company also says it prefers the processor number to follow the word processor. Thus, the full name of a next generation CPU would now be Intel Core Ultra 7 14700K Processor. However, it’s safe to assume that most people will abandon the processor much like the way Intel abandoned the i. We’re starting to see references to the Core Ultra 7 14700K instead.

These changes don’t apply retroactively, so all of the Raptor Lake (and older) chips we already know about stick to the old naming convention. However, it’s not clear what exactly will happen to Intel’s new products. After all, we were expecting Meteor Lake for mobile first, and desktop users will most likely just get a Raptor Lake update.

For Intel, changing its proven branding is a bold move. We saw this coming over a month ago, yet it still looks weird. I don’t blame them for wanting to stay current, and perhaps a willingness to change direction is a positive sign for the company. After all, the last thing a business wants is to look boring and old school.

The changes won’t leave Intel products unrecognizable, but they certainly indicate that we’ve entered a new era in the world of processors, and clearly Intel isn’t the one defining it.

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