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Intel CPU name could switch from Core i to Core Ultra

Shock discovery suggests Intel is dropping the 'i' part of its CPU branding, abandoning a 15 year old Intel CPU naming convention.

Intel Core i becomes Intel Core Ultra

Intel Core Ultra looks set to be the new Intel CPU name, with the company reportedly dropping the ‘i’ from its future Core CPU ranges. The change will coincide with the launch of the upcoming Intel 14th-gen Core CPUs (the architecture for which is codenamed Intel Meteor Lake), which are set to arrive in the second half of this year.

The new branding would see an end to a naming scheme that has persisted since the launch of the Intel Nehalem microarchitecture back in 2008. That’s what was considered the first generation (1st-gen) of Intel Core CPUs, with subsequent releases including major architectural name changes such as Sandy Bridge architecture (2nd-gen), Haswell (4th-gen), Kaby Lake (7th-gen), and all the way through to the latest Raptor Lake (13th-gen) CPUs such as the Intel Core i9-13900K.

This generational thinking we expect to remain with the new CPUs but the retail product names will seemingly sport the new Intel Core Ultra branding. As such, previous Intel Core i3 chips would now be Intel Core Ultra 3, Intel Core i5 would become Intel Core Ultra 5, and so on.

Intel Core i becomes Intel Core Ultra Ashes of the Singularity

The initial leak for this revelation is the inclusion of an Intel Core Ultra 5 1003H CPU listed in the Ashes of the Singularity benchmark database. This otherwise unknown CPU bears the H marking of a mobile processor but the Ultra naming is not a convention the company has used before.

Initially, that’s all there was to this name-change speculation but Intel Global Director of Communications, Bernard Fernandes, then tweeted: “Yes, we are making brand changes as we’re at an inflection point in our client roadmap in preparation for the upcoming launch of our #MeteorLake processors. We will provide more details regarding these exciting changes in the coming weeks! #Intel”

Intel Core i becomes Intel Core Ultra Bernard Fernandes tweet

The timing and wording of the Tweet appear to directly address the above leak, suggesting the assumptions being made about Intel’s plans are true.

If the change does happen, it will be interesting for several reasons. Firstly, the timing would seem to be somewhat appropriate given Meteor Lake is expected to see several Intel firsts. It will be the first client CPU to use chiplets – like AMD debuted with the AMD Ryzen 3000 series of CPUs – with separate chiplets for I/O, CPU cores, graphics, and more. It will also be the first consumer product to use the company’s cutting-edge Intel 4 process node for manufacturing the chips.

Secondly, the use of the term Ultra is, shall we say, rather bold. If it does end up being used for the entire product stack, we could see the very lowliest Core i3 equivalent chips slapped with an ‘Ultra’ brand name. Then again, maybe we’ve got the naming scheme all wrong and the Ultra will only be used for top-tier products, but then it seems surprising the leak shows Ultra being used on a Core i5-level product.

Suffice to say, this one has caught us by surprise. But whatever they end up being called, will you be in the market or a new Intel CPU when they arrive? Let us know your thoughts and questions on this post by joining the conversation on the Custom PC Facebook page, via Twitter, or join our Custom PC and Gaming Setup Facebook group and tap into the knowledge of our 375,000+ members. You can also find more CPU recommendations in our best gaming CPU guide.