Skip to main content

Intel just admitted defeat

Intel's new Intel Core Ultra badge.

Intel has just made a pretty significant announcement — it’s rebranding its processors. Starting with Meteor Lake CPUs, Intel’s consumer processors will bear a new name: Intel Core and Intel Core Ultra. Even more head-turning, Intel will also drop the iconic “i” in its naming scheme.

The change might seem subtle on the surface, but it says something meaningful about the state of the industry and Intel’s role in it. For so many years, Intel’s commanding lead in the processor world meant its competitors were the ones mimicking its approach to product names and marketing — AMD, most obviously.

But with this new naming convention, Intel is adopting a bit of a blend 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 epoch — one where Intel’s brand might not mean what it used to for the average buyer.

Intel is also dropping mentions of generation.

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

Overall, the tiering will still be split into 3/5/7/9, just like AMD Ryzen CPUs, but the “i” is now gone.

That’s not all of it, though. Intel is now trying to further emphasize the difference between its mainstream chips and the high-end segment. From now on, Intel’s future CPUs will either belong to the Intel Core family or the Intel Core Ultra family, not unlike Apple’s Pro, Max, and Ultra tiers.

Of course, this is Intel, so there’s some overlap between the two lines, as the Core and Core Ultra both have tier 5 and 7 chips. It’s a little confusing, but the general idea is that the Core Ultra chips offer premium performance. Intel hasn’t explained how overclocking fits into that, but Tom’s Hardware notes that a chip won’t need to belong to the current K-series in order to be branded as Intel Core Ultra.

Intel is also dropping mentions of generation. Before, we’d often see Intel refer to its CPUs as, for example, “Intel 13th Generation Core i9-13900K Processor.” Now, we’ll have to rely on the numbers after the tier to tell the generation.

Intel's new naming convention shown on badges.

The company also states that it prefers for the processor number to follow the word “processor.” As such, the full name of a next-gen CPU would now be Intel Core Ultra 7 Processor 14700K. It’s safe to assume that most people will drop the “processor” much the way Intel dropped the “i,” though. We’ll start seeing references to Core Ultra 7 14700K instead.

These changes don’t apply retroactively, so all the Raptor Lake (and older) chips that we already know are sticking to the old naming convention. However, it’s unclear what exactly will happen to Intel’s new products. After all, we’re expecting Meteor Lake for mobile first, and desktop users are most likely only getting a Raptor Lake refresh.

It’s a bold move for Intel to change its tried-and-true branding. We saw it coming over a month ago, and yet, it still feels like it’ll take some getting used to. I won’t blame them for wanting to stay current, and maybe the willingness to shift directions is a positive sign for the company. After all, the last thing a company wants is to appear stodgy and old-school.

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

Editors' Recommendations

Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
It just became the perfect time to buy a last-gen Intel CPU
Intel Core i9-13900K held between fingertips.

In a surprising twist, Intel has just decided to discontinue its entire lineup of 13th-generation Raptor Lake CPUs, and it's happening faster than anyone might have expected. Who would have thought that Intel would bid farewell to some of its best processors so soon? While today is a sad day for Raptor Lake, the news is good for those wanting to buy a CPU -- while supplies last, that is.

The discontinuance applies to Intel's lineup of overclockable Raptor Lake processors, bar the 14th-gen refresh, of course. This means that CPUs like the Core i5-13600K are no longer in production and vendors will no longer be able to restock them as of May 24, 2024. This comes from an official product change notification document from Intel, which was spotted by Tom's Hardware. The full list of affected processors is as follows:

Read more
Do CPUs require drivers?
AMD Rizen CPU 3 next to box

Your CPU is an important component in your PC, so like graphics cards, it should probably have its own CPU drivers, right? Not in this case. While there are drivers that are called chipset drivers, and technically there is microcode that runs on the chips themselves, you don't need to update the drivers for your CPU.

There are plenty of drivers you should keep on top of, but the processor is not one of them.
Do CPUs have drivers?

Read more
Gamers are reportedly returning Intel Core i9 CPUs in droves
Intel Core i9-13900K held between fingertips.

Intel's recent Core i9 CPUs are facing some dire issues, at least according to a new report from ZDNet Korea. In speaking with the outlet, an anonymous source in Korea responsible for customer service on Intel CPUs says that customers are returning more than 10 of Intel's 13th-gen and 14th-gen Core i9 CPUs daily, largely hailed as some of the best gaming processors you can buy.

The problem centers around Tekken 8, at least in Korea. According to the report, gamers using a CPU like the Core i9-13900K or Core i9-14900K will face an error message saying "not enough video memory" when launching the game, forcing it to close. This is even when the PC has plenty of video memory to run the game.

Read more