The next version of Intel's processor family for high-performance desktops will be known as the Core i7. The China-based hardware site Expreview.com first reported the new name on Friday, and Intel made it official over the weekend.
Core i7 is the name for chips that use a new microarchitecture known as Nehalem. In Intel's parlance, this is a "tock," meaning the i7 uses the same 45nm manufacturing process as the current Penryn processors (a "tick"), but it is the first major design change since the Core 2 architecture. New features include two threads per core (the return of Hyper Threading), an on-die memory controller--a feature AMD offers in Phenom desktop and Opteron server chips--and a new cache subsystem. Some enthusiast sites have already posted promising numbers on early, pre-production systems using i7 processors.
The new microarchitecure will be used in desktop processors with up eight processing cores, and eventually in mobile processors as well. Though Intel hasn't discussed specific products yet, many sites have reported that the initial Core i7 processors in production in the fourth quarter will be at 2.66GHz ($284), 2.93GHz ($562) and 3.2GHz ($999). The latter is an Extreme Edition processor; these will now be distinguished by a black Core i7 logo.
Intel said Core i7 it is the first of several new names that it will roll out over the next year.