There are major changes coming to Intel processors. The latest 14th generation chips, previously known as Raptor Lake Refresh, are available for sale, and you can read our Intel Core i9-14900K and Core i5-14600K reviews to find out how they perform. They also marked the last time Intel used its Core i-series branding.
Intel has gone through brand adjustments throughout its decades in business, but Intel established the Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 brands in 2008 with the release of the Nehalem architecture. That’s the branding the company has held for 15 years, updating its lineup with the Core i9 badge to mark its most powerful chip in 2018.
The 14th generation processor will be the last to use this branding. We have the Core i9-14900K, Core i7-14700K, and Core i5-14600K, but Intel says it will release more 14th generation desktop CPUs throughout next year. They will follow the same naming scheme, but at the launch of Meteor Lake on laptops and 15th generation Arrow Lake on desktops, Intel will switch to its new Core Ultra branding.
What does this mean for consumers? Not many. Intel will still group its processors into groups, but the processors will be further divided into Core and Core Ultra branches. For example, a Core i7-14700K could be like a Core 7 14700K processor. It’s not entirely clear how Intel’s suffix, which notes things like if the processor is unlocked for overclocking, will play into the new scheme.
Hopefully, this transition will be painless, although there is usually a certain amount of friction with any major rebrand. Even months after AMD changed its laptop naming scheme, there’s still a lot of confusion about what exactly you’re getting from AMD’s mobile CPUs. Hopefully Intel doesn’t fall into the same trap.
Those who frequently look at best processor lists will know what’s in Intel’s new line of processors, but there is definitely potential for confusion. Apart from the Core and Core Ultra branding, Intel also does not mention the generation. The official name for something like the Core i9-14900K is “Intel 14th Generation Core i9-14900K.” Under the new schema, it will be “Intel Core Ultra 9 14900K.” This may leave some buyers unaware of their CPU generation.
But this will eventually become a problem in 2024. The first Core Ultra CPUs will ship at the end of this year, but most of the chips won’t arrive until next year. Rumors suggest the first Core Ultra chips could be very expensive, but we’ll just have to wait and see.