Intel’s Evolution: Farewell to the ‘i’ and Products of the Past

In a bold move that has sent shockwaves through the tech industry, Intel Corporation has announced its decision to bid farewell to the iconic ‘i’ branding in its popular Core i7, Core i5, and Core i3 processor lineups. This strategic shift in naming conventions aims to simplify Intel’s product lineup and make it easier for consumers to understand the performance levels offered by their processors. Let’s delve into this significant development and take a closer look at some of the major products Intel has phased out in recent years.

Farewell to the 'i' and Products of the Past

Farewell to the ‘i’

The ‘i’ branding, which has become synonymous with Intel processors since its introduction in 2008, is now being retired. Intel believes that the new naming scheme—Intel, Intel Core, and Intel Core Ultra—will provide clearer distinctions between entry-level, mainstream, and high-end devices, respectively. This move is not only intended to simplify Intel’s offerings but also to set them apart from their competitors in an increasingly competitive semiconductor market.

The Meteor Lake Era

Intel’s forthcoming generation of processors, codenamed Meteor Lake, will no longer carry the traditional ’14th Gen’ branding. While exact details regarding these processors are scarce, the removal of the generational designation suggests that Intel is shifting towards a more fluid and performance-centric approach rather than being strictly tied to numerical iterations.

A Shift in the Industry Landscape

Intel’s decision to revamp its naming scheme and bid farewell to the ‘i’ follows in the footsteps of its rival, AMD, which introduced the Ryzen 5000 series branding in 2020. This renaming trend signifies the fierce competition between the two semiconductor giants as they vie for dominance in the market. By providing clearer product differentiations, both Intel and AMD aim to attract consumers and cater to their diverse needs.

Beyond the ‘i’: A Historical Overview of Intel’s Discontinued Products

Intel’s quest for innovation has led to the discontinuation of various products over the years. Let’s explore some of the notable ones:

  • Intel Pentium and Celeron brands: In 2022, Intel decided to phase out the Pentium and Celeron brands, redirecting its focus to the Core brand for low-end processors. This strategic move aimed to streamline Intel’s product portfolio and unify its branding strategy.
  • Intel Atom: The Intel Atom line of low-power processors, once popular in netbooks and tablets, was discontinued in 2020. Shifting market dynamics and the rise of more powerful mobile devices contributed to this decision.
  • Intel Quark: Designed for IoT devices, Intel Quark processors were ultra-low-power chips. However, Intel discontinued the Quark line in 2017, reflecting the company’s realignment of its focus and resources.
  • Intel Xeon Phi: Intel’s high-performance processors for scientific computing, the Xeon Phi line, was phased out in 2021. The company reevaluated its product strategy to meet evolving demands in the data center and high-performance computing sectors.
  • Intel Larrabee: Intel’s ambitious foray into graphics processing, the Larrabee line, was terminated in 2011. While it didn’t succeed as a standalone graphics processor, Intel’s research and development in this area laid the groundwork for subsequent ventures.
  • Intel QuickPath Interconnect (QPI): The high-speed interconnect technology, QPI, was discontinued in 2019. Intel’s decision was driven by advancements in interconnect technologies and evolving system architectures.
  • Intel PCH: Intel’s Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) Express chipset, known as PCH, met its end in 2021. As computing needs evolved, Intel focused on integrating more functionalities into its processors, rendering standalone chipsets less relevant.

Leaving Legacy Behind: A Future without 16 and 32-bit Support

Furthermore, Intel recently published a whitepaper in May 2023 that explores the potential transition to a 64-bit-only x86S architecture. This proposed architecture would eliminate support for 16-bit and 32-bit modes, which are no longer widely used in modern computing. The whitepaper suggests that such a transition would simplify Intel’s processor design and potentially enhance overall performance.

While Intel has not yet announced concrete plans to implement the x86S architecture, the publication of the whitepaper indicates that the company is actively considering this significant shift. If Intel were to adopt the x86S architecture, it would mark a substantial departure from the traditional x86 architecture, which has been a cornerstone of computing for over four decades.

Intel’s decision to bid farewell to the ‘i’ branding in its Core i7, Core i5, and Core i3 processors marks a significant shift in the company’s naming conventions. As the industry evolves, it will be fascinating to see how this strategic shift shapes Intel’s future and its competitive standing alongside its rivals.

Source: Intel Newsroom

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