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Intel Hardware

Intel Dropping Pentium Brand 364

Devistater writes "After changing their logo from 'Intel Inside' to 'Leap Ahead,' (and attempting to explain why 2006 is a leap year), Intel has now decided to drop the Pentium brand. Instead of an 'Intel Pentium 4 Dual core' you will be now be purchasing an 'Intel D 840.' You can see the intial steps of this move on Dell's desktop lineup. On the heels of the news of AMD outselling Intel in Desktop Retail sales for two consecutive months, is it really wise to change the logo to something that has no inherent brand identification, and to drop the incredibly recognizable 'Pentium'?"
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Intel Dropping Pentium Brand

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  • Smart (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GiggidyGiggidy ( 935020 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @09:33AM (#14481151)
    The Pentium name has been around for too long, it sounds old and used. However most common users may not even know Pentium, as long as they see the "Intel Inside" logo they think they are getting the best machine.
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (> on Monday January 16, 2006 @09:33AM (#14481155) Journal
    ... is it really wise to change the logo to something that has no inherent brand identification, and to drop the incredibly recognizable 'Pentium'?
    Oh, don't worry. Buying a CPU isn't like buying a toothbrush. No one says, "I'll take that one, it sounds cool" or "I recognize that name, I want that one." Everyone I know that's purchased a CPU by itself actually reads up on what the reviews say. And anyone that buys a computer doesn't really care what Dell is putting in there (trust me, my parents are the proud owners of a celeron *shudders*).

    Further more, Intel chips are going to go into Macs so maybe a name change will be good to make the Mac users feel like they're recieving the new improved intel?
  • by blankoboy ( 719577 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @09:34AM (#14481157)
    Intel's marketing guys need a serious kick in the genitals. First they get smoked by AMD with [] and now they are dropping the Pentium moniker. Why on earth they are killing their brand name recognition they have spent millions drilling into everyone's minds is beyond me. They did not need a 'reinvention' from a marketing point of view but a reinvention of the actual product itself. AMD is really making up for where intel is mis-stepping. They really are leaps beyond Intel IMO.
  • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @09:38AM (#14481190) Journal
    I agree; the new "Athlon" and its brand triggered the start of a new era for AMD. It didn't kill AMD. People generally read reviews and purchase what's good. That's why AMD is doing pretty well nowadays rather than getting killed off by that old brand change.
  • by the_doctor_23 ( 945852 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @09:38AM (#14481194)
    Oh, don't worry. Buying a CPU isn't like buying a toothbrush. No one says, "I'll take that one, it sounds cool" or "I recognize that name, I want that one."

    I am not so sure about that...

  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @09:40AM (#14481204) Homepage
    Considering that the "Pentium" product name has been around for 12 years, and refers to a "5th generation" processor design that's pretty well obsolete, I'm surprised it took them this long to retire it. Maybe someone pointed out that "Pentium 5" would be literally repetitive and the fact that the brand is so "last century" started to sink in?

    What does surprise me is that they haven't come up with a better product name to replace it. The whole point of using "Pentium" instead of "i586" was trademark and brand identity, and going back to numbers and letters loses that.

  • Re:Misconception. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 16, 2006 @09:57AM (#14481287)
    The mobile CPU in the Centrino package is the Pentium M. I have never seen a notebook that had a Centrino logo and a Celeron M. That being said, I agree that the later Celerons are perfectly adequate for most home users.
  • Great. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EiZei ( 848645 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @09:57AM (#14481289)
    Now I'll probably have to figure out if some particular three-digit number is some stripped down budget processor instead of just seeing the word celeron or pentium.
  • Yeah, because no-one owns a Harley 883 or a Suzuki GSX-R or a Porsche 944...those brand names are just confusing. And no-one ever bought a transistor with a geeky name like BC109 either ;-)
  • by Random BedHead Ed ( 602081 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @10:20AM (#14481405) Homepage Journal

    They had to drop the Pentium name, because it means "five." The first Pentium was the successor to the 486, and Intel decided to drop the numerical identification at least partly because they coudn't trademark it (you can't trademark numbers, IIRC). So the Pentium was the chip that would have been the 586.

    The name "Pentium V" or "Pentium 5" would have been a bit silly, so I don't blame them for dropping the name. But I'm very surprised they didn't develop a new brand identity. Do they even have a marketing department at Intel these days? Maybe, given someone else's recent successes in this market, they should just call their new processors "Athlon-compatible." :)

  • Re:Changing brands (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LePrince ( 604021 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @10:26AM (#14481451)
    Maybe this'll come at a surprise, but geeks aren't the majority of the market when it comes to PC. Most households have one, and it's not most household that have a geek.

    So, when Mr Smith, accountant that has a PC at home to surf the web, get his emails and play a few games of Tiger Woods golf asks himself is he wants a PC, what will he look for ? Brand recognition. Will I buy a AMD, or a Pentium ?

    Sure, if he got a geeky nephew, the nephew will maybe direct him to a AMD processor, but if he's Joe 6pack average, and wants recognition, he'll go for what ? For that thing he heard a lot on the news, during the last 11 years, a... whatcha call it... PENTIUM.

    He won't go for a Pentium 3.4 HT w/533fsb 1mb L2 cache. He'll go for a Pentium. PENTIUM. Doesn't matter wether it's a Celeron or a Dualcore; he wants a Pentium. For the same price, Joe Average will buy a 2.4ghz Celeron over a AMD 3800+ Dualcore (i dunno if those exist, it's a mere example; the CPU business goes too fast for me, I change my PC every 2 years because my 2yo PC still plays the games I want it to play and I'm not really up to date in the CPU technologies). Why ? You've guessed it : because it's a PENTIUM !

  • Re:Smart (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jtshaw ( 398319 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @10:29AM (#14481479) Homepage
    So in other words you think that just because something has more bits it is better? That is total none sense. Believe it or not, many things have no performance benefit running in 64 bit mode.

    64 bit processors also need larger instruction caches because the instructions are way bigger in size. As a result, some small subset of things perform slower in 64 bit mode.

    You essentially use a similar argument to the "ours is faster then yours because of Ghz." argument. Both are equally as wrong.

    AMD's chips that are faster are faster because of better overall design, not because of the number of bits they have. The Alpha and MIPS chips were 64 bit for years and still performed much worse in many benchmarks then a lot of 32bit chips.
  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @10:31AM (#14481496) Homepage
    Quality determines whether a product will be successful, and advertising and branding determine who successful it will be.

    A good example of that would be the Toyota Camry. It is a very good car. For the most part Camry owners wouldn't even think about buying a different car. Toyota earned their brand loyalty by not compromising on quality.

    But can you really say the same thing about Intel? My working boxes are all AMD's. To me they offer more bang for the buck. When I think of Intel what comes to mind is not that they're the very best product for the $$$. Instead what comes to my mind is monopolistic business practices with Dell. I'm not saying there's anything more to it than my impression, but that's what I think about when I see Intel Inside.

    When I think about quality cars, Camry is what comes to mind. When I think about quality processors, AMD takes the top slot...or maybe I should say Socket A. ;)

  • Re:Changing brands (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tango42 ( 662363 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @10:37AM (#14481540)
    Isn't Celeron a completely separate range from Pentium? Just because it's an intel processor doesn't make it a Pentium. If Joe 6-pack is willing to buy a Celeron because it's made by the same people as make the Pentium he's heard so much about, surely he'll buy whatever the new name is too?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 16, 2006 @10:38AM (#14481548)
    What does surprise me is that they haven't come up with a better product name to replace it.

    Huh? I think Centrino is a strong product name replacement. A lot of posters seems to think they are smarter than Intel's PR folks, and so they point out that it's a mistake to drop Pentium and replace it with intel D 540 and the likes.

    But the average consumer will only see Centrino, Viiv or whatever crap name. And it's a smart move by Intel because they are losing on a 'Pentium vs Athlon' comparaison, but they are winning in the 'Centrino vs ...' vs what ???, exactly, AMD has no strong platform name. So Intel will be able to mass market (with tons of advertisement) these new platforms, bundle a lot of their products inside, and sell the package to the mass, focusing on the purpose of the PC rather than on the specific (want mobile network -> get centrino, want home entertnaiment -> get viiv ...)
    AMD is trying to launch their Live! platform ( see this news [] to fight back but they will have a hard time. Geeks will still look in depth specifics, but a decent chunk of the market is for OEMs computers where it matters less to the potential consummer.
  • Re:Smart (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Antifuse ( 651387 ) <(moc.lleddawnayr) (ta) (todhsals)> on Monday January 16, 2006 @10:38AM (#14481550) Homepage
    Actually, I don't think that's what he was saying. He sorta fudged things a bit to get his clients to buy AMD instead of Intel.
  • Re:Smart (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roderickm ( 6912 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @10:42AM (#14481584)
    Exactly -- pentium conjures "fifth generation," or at best a years-old product, which isn't the image they want for the newest dual core processors. CPU technology has come a long way since the pentium, and the name should reflect that. But it's much deeper than that -- Intel's fighting the brand battle 3-6 years in the future. They're positioning the Intel brand to be much stronger in the coming years.

    When you know how to spot it, it become blatantly obvious: product identifiers become non-words or just short strings of digits so the manufacturer's name will again become part of product mentions. Auto manufacturers have known this for decades. Remember when the "Legend" and "Vigor" brands disappeared in favor of the "Acura TL" and "Acura RL?" Acura learned form what BMW, Mercedes, and others knew for years. You don't drive a 323i or a C350, you drive a BMW 323i or a Mercedes C350. Only when in-context do the models become shortened to their simple model names or series/class name. Now Intel's following this path.

    Keeping the company brand in balance with the products is essential; if one product overshadows the company, the company loses identity. Apple's quietly fighting to keep "Apple" in front of "iPod" and pushing "Mac" back into the name of its flagship notebook. If the company overshadows its products, the products become less competitive and buying habits focus on company loyalty -- think household appliances, in which the brand name is so strong vs individual products that often the same manufacturer supplies many brands with nearly-identical but rebadged versions.

    Intel is wise to make the change now. AMD fans brag about "Athlons" and "Opterons," not "AMDs." Intel forces its products to raise the awareness of their company by reducing product names to non-words. Now, their CPUs will be marketed as "Intel D 840" etc and only hardware-aware geeks will shorten it to '840. It's a subtle reminder that Intel (not pentium) is the brand to trust.

    Their longstanding "Intel inside" campaign makes this transition possible, even easy. On the other hand, when AMD retires the Athlon name, for instance, they will lose substantial brand awareness because "Athlon" has much more brand strength than "AMD." I've found numerous non-technical people that figure Athlon is made by Intel, simply because that's the only CPU manufacturer they recognize.
  • by chrish ( 4714 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @10:50AM (#14481650) Homepage
    I think Intel's marketing dept. has gone bat-shit insane in the last year or two. The switch to basically random model numbers, and now this... it looks like they've got a sincere desire to confuse their customers. Are they hoping folks will accidentally buy too-expensive CPUs, or that they'll be happy with low-end CPUs that have high model numbers?

    Also, they can't trademark letters...
  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @11:02AM (#14481763) Homepage Journal
    I thought Intel's lawyers learned that lesson when they went from 486 to Pentium.
  • by Surt ( 22457 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @11:09AM (#14481818) Homepage Journal
    15 years ago one incredibly brilliant marketer at intel hit the peak of their career when they came up with the pentium brand and the branding strategy. That strategy has served intel incredibly well for a decade and a half. Meanwhile, younger marketers have all been chafing at the bit, waiting their turn to prove themselves working with one of the world's top brands, yet stifled by the incredible success of their predecessors. This change indicates that the people most attached to the pentium branding success have finally moved on, and this new naming system with no effective branding technique will no doubt in the long run be viewed as this new group of marketer's 'great mistake' and the disastrous failure of their careers.

    Kudos to Intel's outgoing marketing team, they had a marvelous run.
  • by Solr_Flare ( 844465 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @11:33AM (#14481988)
    I realize the Pentium name is very recognizable but when you think about it, how many flavors of Pentiums are out there right now? A ton. So many that the name Pentium really has just been kept there for name's sake alone. I mean we have dual core pentiums, single core pentiums, pentium mobiles and that's just the most current generation, things are likely to grow worse in terms of diversity as time goes on.

    Yes, in the past when processors had a natural growth pattern of just speed increases it made sense to keep the name. But, these days the industry is moving more towards gradual speed increases coupled with other additional technologies/designs to improve the chip. When you reach the point where you have 15+ different 3ghz Pentiums and all operate at different performance levels, you're only really paying attention to the model number anyway at that point.
  • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @11:40AM (#14482044)
    Notice all these particularly high end car companies don't name their cars? i.e. BMW 330i

    The problem they had before was they tried to have the product number stand on its own, so the marketing was focused on the 486 processor, for example. Other companies did 486s, and intel ran into issues, and so they wanted a trademarkable product name, 'Pentium'.

    Now, they look at those car companies, and there is a key difference. This isn't the 'D processor', it would be the "Intel D processor" In other words, the product-specific name is too short/unintelligble to be usefully distinguishable, and the market is forced to have the Intel brand name in too. They want to enhance and leverage their brand versus the product like BMW, Lexus, et al do. If they had thought this 10 years ago, we wouldn't have the Pentium we might have been emphasized as 'The Intel 586', though 586 might have been made less predictable, useful, or generally made unable to stand on it's own as a product family identifier without the Intel name to have any clue as to what context to consider it in.
  • by gaurzilla ( 665469 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @12:15PM (#14482345)
    Agreed. I was checking this out a week back (and perhaps should have gotten first dibs on a story at Slashdot).

    Although I'm a bit of a techie but I haven't looked at processors in a while. So I visited the intel website and I found it impossible to penetrate the permutations of the set {Pentium, D, Dual, Core, HT, Extreme} []. They mean nothing to me except, perhaps, sound cool.

    So I figred that they MUST have some kind of comparison chart so that I can make some sense of this. Really had to dig for it, but I found this []
    So, er .. that still doesn't help me. I want to know how fast / powerful / capable a processor is. Who cares whether it has HT or if it's Exxxtreeeme!

    Look at the fine print at the bottom of any product comparison page - "Intel processor numbers are not a measure of performance. Processor numbers differentiate features within each processor family, not across different processor families. See [] for details."

    Go ahead and click it. You will find :
    "The processor number is not a measurement of performance, nor is it the only factor to consider when selecting a processor.

    The digits themselves have no inherent meaning, particularly when looking across processor families. For instance, 840 is not "better" than 640 simply because 8 is greater than 6.

    Furthermore, linear increments between processor numbers may not indicate linear feature advancements. For example, the differences in processor features between an Intel® Pentium® M processor 760 and an Intel® Pentium® M processor 765 will not be the same as between an Intel® Pentium® M processor 765 and an Intel® Pentium® M processor 770, even though both pairs of processors are separated by an increment of five digits.

    Processor numbers do not represent specific system configurations and do not replace system-level benchmarks."


    Yes, perhaps it is a good idea to start naming processors after "features" because focus has started shifting towards better design of processors (rather than just brute force speed). But then again, I would like some solid benchmark to compare all these processors.

    I say they should just measure in FLOPS and leave it be. What they have now is just sad.

  • by Doctor Memory ( 6336 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @12:17PM (#14482364)
    it is hard to think of companies that really suffered ... when they changed their brand names

    Tell it to the folks at PricewaterhouseCoopers, when they changed their name to Monday [].

    Astute clickers will find that that link doesn't lead to a site named
  • by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Monday January 16, 2006 @01:30PM (#14483006)
    The whole point of using "Pentium" instead of "i586" was trademark and brand identity, and going back to numbers and letters loses that.

    Exactly. Intel couldn't stop e.g. Cyrix from selling a chip named "80586", so what's stopping the competition today from releasing a chip called "AMD D 750"?

Where it is a duty to worship the sun it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat. -- Christopher Morley