When you shop around for a laptop or desktop, you’ll often come across different Intel processors. But that’s not all. AMD also powers some desktops and laptops, but that’s another topic. We shall focus on Intel’s Core branding in this article.
For Intel processors, you’ll see Core numbers and names being thrown around, and it can be overwhelming if you’re not well versed with the Intel CPU lingo.
What do the Intel Core numbers mean?
This is a pretty valid question. And we shall start with the basics.
Each Intel Core name and number mean different things, but they all point out how powerful the laptop or desktop is. But since intel has lots going on with its processor branding, it can be hard to differentiate between different processors.
Each processor number is aimed to make the consumer depict the capabilities of a laptop. But we all know that is not how it goes down for the layman.
This article will give you a rundown of the different Intel processor names and what they mean. We hope that you’ll be able to shop smarter the next time you’re back in the market for a laptop or PC upgrade.
Intel Core, Intel Celeron, Intel Pentium, and Intel Xeon Branding
Before we try to decipher what Intel Core i3, i5, i7, and i9 mean, let’s first begin with the basics. The basics of understanding Intel’s processor line is branding.
Intel has three different processor brands that power desktops and laptop computers: Intel Core, Intel Pentium, Intel Xeon, and Intel Celeron.
These are the most common ones on the market.
But you might bump into Intel Atom, too, but don’t worry, this line is only available on cheap Windows-powered tablets.
Intel Pentium, and Intel Celeron, the most common in the market, are meant for price-conscious consumers. Intel Pentium and Celeron chips are not as powerful as those with the Core branding to suit their economical pricing.
At the bottom of the barrel is Intel Celeron, meant for entry-level laptops. Intel Pentium is slightly better than chips with the Celeron branding. But with their pedestrian specifications, Intel Celeron and Pentium laptops offer the best battery life. You can buy them if all you care about in a laptop is the best battery life and perform delicate tasks like browsing and playing around with Office apps.
Celeron and Pentium powered laptops and computers tend to be cheap, but their power is very limited, so you might as well add some extra cash and grab alternatives.
Now to the next one: Intel Core processors.
Intel Core processors Explained: Core i3, i5, i7 and i9
Intel Core processors are an improvement of the Celeron and Pentium brands with more power. But this is where things get complicated. Under the Intel core brand, you’ll meet Intel Core i3, i5, i7, and i9 processors.
The i3, i5, and i7 in the naming are brand modifiers. You won’t find such a naming convention on Intel’s Pentium and Celeron processors line. The bigger the number, the more powerful a processor is. For instance, an Intel Core i3 in the same family can’t compete with an i5. So, the bigger the number, the more power you get.
After the brand modifier comes th Generation Indicator. Before launching the 10th generation processors, the first digit in the four-digit processor number represented the generation. For instance, in Intel Core i7 7500U, the 7 depicts the generation. In this case, the processor is a seventh-generation processor.
If it’s an eight, that’s an eighth-gen chip and so on. But in Intel’s latest 10th gen processors, that changed a little bit. Intel Core i7 1065 G7 means it’s a 10th gen processor. You’ll know it’s a 10th gen processor when the first two digits in the product number will be 10.
SKU Numeric Digits
The SKU Numeric Digits are not important but keep in mind that a higher number between two identical chips depicts more features. SKUs can be three or two digits(in 10th gen Intel processors). If you’re comparing chips from different product lines, these numbers don’t mean a thing.
Product Line Suffix
Another thing to be aware of is the Product Line Suffix. The U in Intel Core i7 7500U, for instance. They’re so many letter conventions in Intel’s processor line.
Here’s what each means.
HK / K suffix – This means the chip can be “overclocked.”
H suffix: This is usually found in high-performance laptops. It stands for High-performance graphics.
HQ Suffix: The Q stands for Quad-core and is similarly meant to depict high-performance processors that consume more power. Laptops with chips with the H or HQ suffix are good at handling graphic-intensive tasks like video editing.
U Suffix: U stands for Ultra-low power. Intel chips with this suffix are not suited for graphic-intense activities and are the most common in budget laptops today.
Y somewhere in the middle of SKU number – Extremely low power chips. You’ll see them on ultrathin laptops and notebooks. These are optimized to perform better in handling light tasks. The main focus here is longer battery life and not on performance.
S Suffix: Special edition
T Suffix: These chips are meant for desktop computers. They are commonly found in less powerful computers like All-in-ones.
X Suffix: X stands for Extreme Edition(XE). Found in high-performance consumer CPUs. They include a high number of cores and threads and cost more. Mostly you’ll find these in high-end desktops.
G Suffix: Intel introduced chips with a G suffix in the 10th gen and 11th gen Core processors. It means the CPU includes discrete graphics. These have two-digit generation indicators (like Core i7 1065 G7). You’ll notice there’s an alphanumeric suffix. The last digit indicates the performance levels, and without dipping into the nitty-gritty, the bigger the number, the better(G1-G7).