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Difference Between Intel Processors And Generations: A Quick Rundown


The processor and its generation are the first things a vendor tells you, or you look for while purchasing a new laptop or computer. So, what are these Intel generations, exactly? We’ll explain here the differences between intel processors and generations.

- Updated: 22nd Aug 2023, 11:50 IST
  • 1
    Intel Processor Generations: Quick Glance
  • 2
    The misconception
  • 3
    Key terms related to Intel processors
    • Number of Cores:
    • Clock Speed:
    • Generational numbers:
  • 4
    1. Intel Core processors
    • Intel Core processors and ranking:
    • Intel Core suffix meanings:
  • 5
    2. Intel Xeon processors
    • Intel Xeon processor generations:
    • Intel Xeon suffix meanings:
  • 6
    3. Intel Pentium processors
    • Intel Pentium processor generations:
    • Intel Pentium suffix meanings:
  • 7
    4. Intel Celeron processors
    • Intel Celeron processor generations
    • Intel Celeron suffix meanings:
  • 8

You may have noticed a ‘Generation’ tag directly after the Processor model number if you’ve lately searched for Intel PCs or CPUs. Over the years, Intel processors have become progressively better. Architecture is the most noticeable distinction between generations. Over time, they also improved RAM compatibility, cache support, and overclocking capabilities. Newer processors could also attain greater clock speeds while becoming significantly more energy efficient.

Is the processor generation really that important, or is it all just a marketing ruse? Let’s see what the differences are between the various Intel processor versions.

So, to begin with, processor generations are not a scam; each succeeding generation of processors is superior to the one before it. However, the increased speed and power may not justify the higher price tag associated with the current CPU generation, which is why Apple is employing 8th Gen Intel processors in the Macbook Air rather than the latest 10th Gen Intel processors.

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Intel Processor Generations: Quick Glance

1st GenNehalem2008
2nd GenSandy Bridge2011
3rd GenIvy Bridge2012
4th GenHaswell2013
5th GenBroadwell2014
6th GenSkylake2015
7th GenKaby Lake2016
8th GenKaby Lake R2017
9th GenCoffee Lake2017
10th GenCannon Lake2020
11th GenTiger Lake2021

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The misconception

To begin with, many people believe that the Core i3, i5, and i7 processor generations are the processor generations. Intel processors come in a variety of types and brands.

After the advent of the Core i series, the notion of generations became popular. The fundamental difference between processor generations is the microarchitecture of the processor. The image below will help you understand the key differences.

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Number of Cores:

Most laptop and desktop processors contain two or four cores (dual- and quad-core). Some of the most recent versions include six or even eight. The more cores your computer has, the better it can do numerous tasks at once without slowing down. If you often use many apps or have a lot of tabs open in your browser, you’ll welcome having additional cores.

Clock Speed:

The number of operations a CPU can do per second is measured in gigahertz (GHz). If you compare like-for-like laptop/desktop models, the greater the number, the quicker the machine. When accessing apps, files, and exporting photographs, you’ll notice a faster clock speed.

Generational numbers:

When choosing a CPU, there’s one more aspect to consider. The first digit determines your processor’s generation after the dash. It is newer if the number is higher. The most recent generation is the 11th generation, which was released in 2021.

  • Core i5-7200U: two cores, maximum speed of 3.1GHz
  • Core i5-8250U: four cores, maximum speed of 3.4GHz

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1. Intel Core processors

Intel core processor

Intel Core processors are the company’s top-of-the-line processors. They superseded the popular Pentium line as the norm for high-end CPU chips when they were first announced in 2006. They come in various models, including Core i3, i5, i7, i9, and a new generation is released every 1 to 2 years.


1) The higher the “i” number on the Core, the better the chip.
2) The chip becomes better with each successive generation.

As a result, an Intel Core I7 CPU will outperform an Intel Core i5 processor, and an 11th Generation Core i9 chip will outperform (with greater features) a 10th Generation Core i9 chip.

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Intel Core processors and ranking:

11th Generation

  • Rocket Lake(2021); Core i9-11
  • Comet Lake Refresh(2022); Core i7-11, Core i5-11, and Core i3-11

10th Generation

  • 2019 Comet Lake; Core i9-10
  • 2019 Ice Lake; Core i7-10, Core i5-10, Core i3-10

9th Generation

  •  Coffee Lake Refresh(2018); Core i9-9, Core i7-9, Core i5-9, and Core i3-9

In general, the higher the processor in the table above, the “better” it is. For example, 11th Generation Core CPUs have improved connectivity, graphics, and AI advancements, resulting in a considerably quicker, easier-to-use platform with WiFi 6. They’re extraordinarily compact and efficient, allowing companies like HP to produce laptops that are lighter, cooler, and more powerful than ever before.

Intel Core suffix meanings:

Core suffix Meanings
CDesktop processor with high-end graphics
FHigh-performance processor used with a discrete graphics card
HHigh-performance graphics
KUnlocked for overclocking
RDesktop processor, mobile package, high-end graphics
SPerformance-optimized lifestyle
TPower-optimized for best desktop computing
UUltra-low-power for laptop efficiency
XExtreme unlocked for high desktop performance
YExtreme low power

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2. Intel Xeon processors

Intel Xeon processors

An Intel Xeon processor is a cutting-edge central processing unit from Intel (CPU). They’re identical to Intel Core CPUs in many aspects. They’re also more sophisticated in several ways. The Intel Xeon CPUs are unquestionably influential. They contain a lot of cores and certain unique features that make them ideal for executing heavy applications and mission-critical activities. Error-correcting code memory is arguably the most crucial of these characteristics.

Intel Xeon processor generations:

  • Cooper Lake(2020-2021); Xeon Gold, and Xeon Platinum
  • Comet Lake(2020-2021); Xeon W
  • Cascade lake(2019-2020); Xeon Platinum, Xeon Gold, Xeon Silver, and Xeon Bronze
  • Coffee Lake(2018-2019); Xeon E

Intel Xeon suffix meanings:

The various letter suffixes at the end of the Xeon processor names provide some info about the chip’s features.

Xeon SuffixMeaning
HLarge memory support of up to 1.12 TB per socket
HLLarge memory support of up to 4.5 TB
LLarge memory support of up to 4.5 TB
MMedium memory support of up to 2 TB
NNetworking specialized
PPerformance and power
RRefresh (high performance)
SSearch optimized
TThermal / long life cycle / low power
VVirtual machine density optimized
YSpeed select

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3. Intel Pentium processors

Intel Pentium processors

Pentium processors from Intel are mid-to-entry-level processors that offer good performance at a lower cost than the Core and Xeon processor lines. These processors run at similar clock rates as the more powerful Core chips, but they don’t include premium features like Turbo Boost or HyperThreading; thus, they’re less expensive. A Pentium processor might be a fantastic choice if you aren’t running CPU-intensive tasks like extensive data or design.

Intel Pentium processor generations:

  • Jasper Lake(2021); Pentium Silver
  • Comet Lake(2019 to 2020); Pentium Gold
  • Tiger Lake(Mobile-2019 to 2020); Pentium Gold
  • Coffee Lake(2018-2019); Pentium Gold

Intel Pentium suffix meanings:

Pentium SuffixMeanings
HHigh power
UMedium power
TLow power

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4. Intel Celeron processors

Intel Celeron processors

Celeron is the low-end (and low-cost) member of Intel’s P6 architecture-based CPU family. Although it shares the same architecture as the Pentium II, it lacks several of Pentium II’s high-performance capabilities. Celeron versions after the 300 A include an on-chip L1 and L2 cache, which means the cache is accessible at the same clock speed as the CPU. The Celeron L2 cache is less than the Pentium II’s (128 kilobytes) (512 KB).

The Celeron L2 cache is on the CPU chip, but the Pentium II’s is not, hence their effective L2 speeds are almost identical. Celeron processors are enticing to power users at first appearance, with clock speeds up to 466 MHz. Still, they should be compared to the Pentium II’s computational capability to understand their practical use.

Intel Celeron processor generations

  • Jasper Lake(2021); Celeron N
  • Comet Lake(2019-2020); Celeron G5
  • Tiger Lake (Mobile: 2019-2020); Celeron 6305
  • Coffee Lake(2018-2019); Celeron G4

Intel Celeron suffix meanings:

Celeron Suffix Meanings
JThe processor has NX (No-execute) feature
L Mobile low power
S Small form factor CPU
P Mobile power-optimized
Q Desktop or mobile quad-core
TExtended temperature range
UMobile ultra-low power
XDesktop or mobile extreme power

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Intel produces hundreds of different CPU models, with new ones being released every year.

Here’s a quick recap:

  • The Intel Xeon processor family is optimised for scientific and data-intensive activities.
  • The Intel Pentium line of CPUs is a cost-effective solution that gives you a lot of bang for your buck.
  • For entry-level buyers with light-level workloads, Intel Celeron delivers rapid performance.

Also read: Get Your Hands On The Best Lenovo Laptops in India 2022

Now that you’ve learned everything there is to know about processors, consider our expert laptop reviews to help you get the best laptop for your budget.


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