1512874 [Rumor] Intel to scrap Celeron branding for entry level processors?

A rumor such as this has come and gone over the years, but guessing the fate of Intel’s Celeron product lineup has always been pretty much a game of ‘Aye’ or ‘Nay’ with various theories abounding as to whether the chip giant will drop the entry-level brand, if at all. Will the new Core ix and Atom processor series add additional fuel to the rumor? We call ‘Nay’ on this one.

Read on to find out why.

1512874 [Rumor] Intel to scrap Celeron branding for entry level processors?

When it comes to processor rumors, Intel definitely has more than its fair share of them, no doubt due to the fact that it was, and is still the most powerful x86 processor manufacturer with the lion’s share of the market. Indeed, it would seem that speculating on Intel’s plans has become a favorite topic for discussion, especially when their chips are found in many top-end and server-grade machines.

But one particular rumor which always rears itself whenever Intel introduces new mainstream processors would be that of the Celeron, which is the chipmaker’s current offering for the entry-level segment of the market. In fact, the entire Celeron line has been the subject of scrutiny for a very long time now, although, at first glance, there seems to be a little credibility about rekindled rumours of the entry-level chip’s imminent demise.

The reasoning for such rumours stems from the fact that Intel has typically drawn a clear line between the Celeron and its mainstream brands’ performance by intentionally stripping down or disabling some more-advanced features from the current mainstream processor lineup. As such, while Celerons may share the same architecture and may be perceived by some to be more value for money, they usually suffer from a significant performance penalty, enough to prevent both product lines from cannibalizing one another.

However, it is worth nothing that Intel’s Atom processors has had greater success in the entry-level segment than the Celerons: with netbooks and nettops being reported as the fastest growing areas in PC purchase figures, it seems as though the humble Celeron may be forced to retire. This is especially true considering that the Atoms have drastically lower power consumption ratings than the Celerons, and they usually offer enough computing power for most daily tasks: mainly word processing, web surfing and the occasional simple gaming, and yet retain a significant performance gap to prevent any overlaps between itself and the budget-oriented Pentium brand.

But more importantly, Intel’s Atoms, or rather, PCs built with Atom processors are usually sold for a fraction of a mainstream machine’s price, and the entry-level segment is one that can be quite price sensitive. Therefore, it is argued that it would make greater business sense for Intel to drop the Celeron lineup and focus on pushing Atom-powered PCs to the low-end segment.

That would be fine and all, except that the proponents of such rumours seem to have forgotten something important: the Celeron lineup is not an independently designed product, as previously stated. This means that the lineup’s future is dependent on the current micro-architecture in use (which, in this case, is Nehalem), and Intel had just recently released Nehalem-based Celerons for use in the desktop, mobile and embedded space. For the curious, the new desktop Celerons are Clarkdale-based, while the mobile and embedded segments get Arrandale and Lynnfield-derived designs respectively.

And while Intel has stated that they do not comment on rumours, the mere presence of the aforementioned processors suggest that the chip giant has no plans to drop its entry-level Celeron branding. At least, not when the most recent Celerons are already Nehalem-based.

Source: X-bit Labs