Intel's new, mainstream processor will be released soon. It's called the Core i5. After the silly Core, Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad naming scheme, Intel settled for the Core in strategy -- where n is a number.
Of course, this hasn't really made things simple. The chaos is just a bit more elegant. We already have the Core i7, Core i5 will be out shortly and then in a few months, we'll get the Core i3 and the Core i9. Intel has added further convolution by:
- Using two different sockets across these four lines. So, if you buy a Core i5 this year, and later you'd like to upgrade only your processor to a Core i9 (a six-core beast due in 2010), then you're out of luck. You have to upgrade your motherboard to get a different socket which will accept a Core i9.
- Using the 45-nm process today and then later switching to the 32-nm process. Now, this would be great if we could actually tell the difference between the two by just the name of the processor but, as far as I can tell, we can't.
I once upgraded my processor. So, I certainly do not like having this option being made more difficult and expensive. And I clearly remember in early 2008 when new 45-nm Core 2 Duos sat next to the older 65-nm Core 2 Duos. The pricing of such processors made sense from the cost-side but not from the performance-side. You see, Intel was selling older ~$300 processors that were slower than their ~$250 newer processors.
Now, a logical customer would see that those two processors have the same name and conclude that the more expensive one ought to be faster. But, no. It looks like we'll see a similar scenario next year.