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Difference Between Intel Processors And Generations: A Quick Rundown

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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: 26th Feb 2024, 15:37 IST
  • 1
    Intel Processor Generations: Quick Glance
  • 2
    The Misconception About These Processors
  • 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
    Summary
  • 9
    FAQs
    • What Are The Differences Between Intel Processors?
    • Which Intel Processor Is Best: U, H, or P?
    • What Does i3, i5, i7, i9 Mean When We Talk About A Intel Processor?
    • Which Is Better, i5 Or i7 Processor?
    • Should I Buy i3 Or i5?

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, the difference between 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 look at the differences.

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Intel Processor Generations: Quick Glance

GENERATIONCODE NAMERELEASE YEAR
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 About These Processors

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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Let’s look at some terms that are used in the world of Intel Processors:

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

Core

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 one to two years.

Typically,

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
MMobile
QQuad-core
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

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
EEmbedded
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
UUniprocessor
VVirtual machine density optimized
YSpeed select

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3. Intel Pentium Processors

Intel Pentium

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 clock rates similar to 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: Intel processor

Celeron is a 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
EEmbedded
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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Summary

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.

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FAQs

What Are The Differences Between Intel Processors?

The differences among Intel processors boil down to their performance capabilities. An Intel Core i3 is sufficient for basic tasks, while an i5 offers good performance across most tasks. Conversely, an i7 provides exceptional performance, ideal for demanding applications and multitasking.

Which Intel Processor Is Best: U, H, or P?

When choosing between U, H, or P series processors, consider their intended use. H series processors are tailored for high-performance laptops, striking a balance between power consumption and capability, whereas U series processors prioritize energy efficiency. P series processors typically offer the highest performance but may consume more power.

What Does i3, i5, i7, i9 Mean When We Talk About A Intel Processor?

The designations i3, i5, i7, and i9 signify different tiers of Intel Core processors, each with varying specifications. These include core count, clock speed, cache size, and support for features like Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading. Generally, higher numbers indicate more advanced and powerful processors.

Which Is Better, i5 Or i7 Processor?

Choosing between an i5 and an i7 processor depends on your computing needs. For everyday tasks and moderate gaming, an i5 processor is usually sufficient. However, if you engage in intensive tasks like video editing or 3D rendering, the additional power of an i7 processor can significantly enhance performance.

Should I Buy i3 Or i5?

The decision between an i3 and an i5 processor hinges on the complexity of your computing tasks. If you primarily perform basic activities like web browsing and document editing, an i3 processor should meet your needs. Conversely, for tasks involving multimedia creation, gaming, or multitasking, the superior performance of an i5 processor is preferable.

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Highlights of the Story

  • Intel produces the most reliable processors on the market.
  • However, there are numerous misconceptions about Intel processor and their generation.
  • Here’s a complete guide to the differences between Intel processors and generations.

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