In a move that could have you yearning for the simpler days when CPUs had a simple megahertz rating, Intel is rumoured to be complicating the Sandy Bridge model numbering system even further.
The Nehalem family of CPUs is already divided into the Core i3, i5 and i7 brands, plus a three-figure model number and the occasional letter on the end. However, Sandy Bridge CPUs will apparently not only extend this to a four-figure number, but also add yet another letter-code. Get yourself a pen and paper handy, as it's not particularly straightforward.
The gossip comes courtesy of German tech site ComputerBase, which claims to have got its mitts on an Intel roadmap full of all the juicy details. If it's genuine, the information confirms previous rumours about Intel adding a "2" to the front of each model number, and also verifies some of the rumoured model numbers we saw last week.
It looks as though Intel is going to continue with the precedent set by the recent "K" branded chips with unlocked multipliers, and "S" branded low-power CPUs, and add letters to the end of other model numbers to distinguish them. However, as well as the "K" and "S" suffixes, the leaked roadmap suggests some chips will also be appended with a "T" to denote a very low TDP.
As such, while there are only six model numbers in the roadmap, there's a whopping total of 12 new CPUs if you add in all the different flavours.
At the top of the pile is the Core i7 2600-series, which features four cores and Hyper-Threading support, plus a maximum clock speed of 3.8GHz using TurboBoost. The vanilla and "K" versions are clocked at 3.4GHz by default with a TDP of 95W. However, the "S" version has a stock clock speed of 2.8GHz and a TDP of 65W.
Similarly, the Core i5 2500-series, which features four cores but no Hyper-Threading, has a maximum clock speed of 3.7GHz using TurboBoost. Again, the standard and unlocked "K" versions have a 95W TDP, and a stock clock speed of 3.3GHz. However, the "S" version brings the TDP down to 65W, and the default clock speed down to 2.7GHz.
You don't get any more "K" flavours further down the list, but you then venture into the realms of the "T" chips, which have a TDP of just 35W. According to the site, for example, the Core i5 2390T features two cores and Hyper-Threading support, and a 2.7GHz clock speed (3.5GHz with TurboBoost), but only consumes 35W.
Similarly, the dual-core Core i3 2100T sits at the bottom of the list with a clock speed of 2.5GHz and a TDP of just 35W. This nestles underneath the dual-core Core i3 2120 and 2100, which are clocked at 3.3GHz and 3.1GHz respectively, and have a higher TDP of 65W.
Have you got all that?