Pentium still Intel’s most popular brand

Despite all attempts to beat off the miserable reputation of the NetBurst architecture with a slew of new Core monikers, new data has revealed that Intel’s crusty Pentium emblem is still the company’s most popular CPU brand.

Tech site X-bit labs claims to have seen some documents showing that Intel’s Pentium-branded processors will command a whopping 42-43 per cent share of Intel’s desktop CPU production volume in 2010.

Comparatively, Intel’s Core i7 line-up, which includes Bloomfield, Gulftown and Lynnfield cores, will apparently only make up six per cent of Intel’s desktop chip production volume in the same period. Interestingly, the site also says that the dual-core Pentium E5000 and E6000 series alone are expected to account for 40 per cent of Intel’s total desktop CPU production in 2010.

After the Pentium brand was overthrown by the Core 2 and later Core i-series chips at the top of Intel’s CPU line-up, Intel later reintroduced the Pentium brand at the lower end of the scale in early 2007. Although the first chips featured the Pentium Dual-Core moniker, they actually had little in common with their older Pentium D brethren.

Based on Intel’s new Conroe architecture, rather than the hot and power-hungry Prescott core, the chips were basically Core 2 Duos with just 1MB of Level 2 cache and an 800MHz front side bus and lower clock speeds. They provided an easy route into the more efficient world of Core processing without breaking the bank. Plus, low-price chips such as the 1.6GHz Pentium Dual-Core E2140 proved to be popular with overclockers, as many of them could be easily clocked at 3GHz and higher.

Intel later chopped off the Dual-Core suffix and just called them Pentium CPUs again. The latest Pentium-branded CPU is the 2.8GHz Pentium G6950, which uses Intel’s Clarkdale core with integrated graphics, and plops into an LGA1156 socket.

Intel’s Pentium brand lost a fair bit of credibility when it was associated with the power-hungry and inefficient NetBurst core, so it’s no surprise that Intel has attempted to relegate it to the budget end of its line-up.

However, if these statistics are true, it’s fair to say that the Pentium brand is still insanely popular. Not only is it a well known brand that’s still associated with quality by some people, but the cut-price nature of the Pentium chips also makes them ideal for businesses and consumers looking to cut down on costs during the recession.

Speaking to THINQ, Intel's UK marketing manager, Gail Hall, said Intel's own data contradicted X-bit Labs' findings, but that she couldn't confirm whether the documents seen by the site were genuine.

"While we can’t comment on the accuracy of the numbers reported by X-bit labs," said Hall, "the trend in the UK in fact shows a preference for our flagship Core processors and we expect this to continue and increase compared to the entry-level Pentium, particularly following the successful launch of our new 2010 Core processor lineup last month."