Intel's next CPU is labelled Core i7

Core i7
Did Intel want to announce the Core i7 now?

Core i7 is the name, burying the competition is the game. Following a leak on a Far Eastern website late last week, Intel has revealed the official branding and logos for its upcoming Nehalem PC processor.

Nehalem, of course, is Intel's all-new CPU architecture due out later this year. With a slew of new technologies and features, it's expected to further increase Intel's dominance at the top of the PC processor market.

For now, Intel is being extremely cagey about the meaning of the Core i7 branding. It has confirmed Core i7 will apply to "the first products in this new family of processors" including an Extreme Edition model, which gets its own black version of the i7 logo.

Intriguingly, it also revealed that i7 is "just the first of several new identifiers to come as different products launch over the next year."

What does it mean?

With Intel not being terribly forthcoming, deciphering the new brand is a highly speculative task. And speculate we shall! Interpreted in a historical context, i7 might indicate that this is Intel's seventh generation of processor using the original Pentium as the starting point.

Following Pentiums I, II, III and 4, you have the Core Duo, Core 2 Duo, and finally, Nehalem. However, not all of those processors were actually new architectures.

So, a more architecturally accurate interpretation of Intel's CPU history actually makes Nehalem Intel's eighth-gen x86 chip (8086, 80286, 80386, 80486, Pentium, Pentium Pro, Pentium 4, Core 2 and finally Nehalem).

Did Intel want to announce?

In short, it's not clear what i7 stands for. Equally unclear is whether the timing of this announcement is of Intel's choosing. For the record, Intel is very clear that this announcement was not influenced by the leak of the logo and branding onto the web last Friday.

But it's rather hard to ignore the fact that it comes just a few days after the leak and just a week before Intel's annual IDF geek-fest in San Francisco. You might think Intel would have preferred to make this sort of major announcement at IDF.

It's also notable that Intel has essentially released no more and no less information than the leak contained.

In the end, none of that matters. What does is that all indications are that Core i7 is shaping up to be another killer from Intel. Keep your scanners peeled to TechRadar next week for our full IDF coverage. More i7 details are a certainty and hands-on time with the chip looks extremely likely, too.


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