There’s no “i” in team, as the saying goes. Other words lacking the third vowel include “processor,” “name scheme,” and “rebrand.” And if a couple of leaks are any indication, Intel’s next series of CPUs will lack that little “i” after the Core title too, simply being called “Intel Core 3,” “Core 5,” “Core 7,” et cetera. If it turns out to be true, it’ll be a shake-up of a CPU brand that’s been going strong since 2008, when Intel shifted away from its Core Duo and Core Quad labeling.
Benchmarks of the upcoming “Meteor Lake generation” of CPUs have leaked, showing off the name “Core Ultra 5 1003H,” according to VideoCardz. Note the lack of an “i” before the 5. The CPU in question has 18 cores, putting it on the higher end of Intel’s lineup, which makes sense given the “Ultra” moniker that would be a new differentiator. The Ultra name gives a bit of weight to the idea that this is a deliberate name for an upcoming CPU, not just some data entry flub that made its way to a leaked benchmark.
Tom’s Hardware reached out to Intel for comment on the leak, getting a predictable PR response that neither confirms nor denies that this is a real chip in development. But the spokesperson did say that the company is “making brand changes” for Meteor Lake, with more details coming in the next few weeks. That echoes Twitter statements made by Intel’s Director of global communications: “Yes, we are making band changes as we’re at an inflection point in our client roadmap in preparation for the upcoming launch of our Meteor Lake processors.”
If Intel is looking to shake up its 15-year-old naming system, Meteor Lake is as good a launch as any. The next generation of Intel CPUs utilizes a radical new modular fabrication process based on the UCIe interface, allowing for a more flexible approach to customizing chips. This tile-based “chiplet” construction will let Intel mix-and-match components as necessary for CPU designs, even across manufacturers. So for example, Intel could make a laptop CPU with a main chip from Intel, an SoC tile from Samsung, and a GPU made at TSMC all on the same integrated system. For a deeper dive into how UCIe will change Intel chips, check out Mark Hachman’s article on the subject.
Mark Hachman / IDG
What might a lack of “i” prefixes do to Intel’s branding, to say nothing of superlatives like “Ultra?” Honestly, I doubt the average consumer will notice. Those who care about the minutia of CPUs already need a spreadsheet to see what they’re getting (take AMD’s latest baffling Ryzen branding as an example), and less technically obsessed consumers should be able to figure out that a Core 5 is better than a Core 3, and a Core Ultra 5 is a little bit better than that.