Intel CPU Lineup

Intel Naming Strategy Explained – Core i3, Core i5, Core i7

Intel Naming Strategy Explained – Core i3, Core i5, Core i7

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  • Post last modified:March 7, 2023
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Intel CPU Lineup

Intel is a well-known Semiconductor company which has been making CPU chips since 1968 when it was founded by Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce. In fact, they revolutionized the tech industry by producing the first X86 CPU architecture which is still in use today. Though intel is facing a lot of competition from AMD and ARM based chips from Apple also known as Apple silicon there is no doubt that intel is still a great company.

However, there is one thing about intel that tends to confuse most people even tech enthusiasts, and that’s their naming convention. In this article we are going to break down step by step what each of those complex and seemingly puzzling names actually mean.

Let’s break it down….

Intel cpu chip inside a laptop

Intel Core ™ i7 1065 G7 This is how the basic naming looks like.

Intel Core stands for one of the series of CPUs that Intel offers. The other CPU lineups that they offer include Intel Celeron, Intel Pentium and Intel Xeon. Intel Celeron is mostly for the consumers who are on a tight budget and just use their PCs for basic stuff such as light web browsing, receiving and responding to Emails and some light Office work.

Intel Pentium is a more advanced CPU above the Celeron and below the Core series which offers a bit more power than the Celeron but still should not be used for heavy duty work flows. Intel Core is a series of CPUs that you can rely on for some processor hungry software. But not all of them are created equal.

Intel Core i3 is the base option among the Core™ processors. It offers at least two cores and four threads for a more enhanced user experience as compared to Pentium computers. You can expect to do light gaming. It thrives well especially on older titles.

Intel Core i5 has even more cores. It features 4 cores and 8 threads. This is a more beefed up version of the Core i3 and with the extra two cores you can expect boosted performance.

Intel cpu chip

Above the Core™ i5 is the Intel Core™ i7 which features 4 cores at a base level and can even go up to 8 cores and 16 threads. With such many cores, CPU intensive applications such as Adobe Premier Pro can take advantage of the fast clock speeds that this CPU has to offer.

It does not end there as Intel Core i9 is Core i7’s bigger brother. This is now the best CPU in the Core™ series lineup. It draws more power; over 95 watts in the desktop version. This CPU runs very hot and requires a good cooling mechanism. In fact, when the mobile version was released on the Mac book Pro 16 inch, many consumers complained that it ran very hot and that the laptop was noisy since the fans were always on. It features up to 18 cores and 36 threads. This CPU is an absolute monster.

Intel Xeon is on the higher side which is specifically made for work stations and servers. These CPUs are rarely needed by ‘everyday consumers’ as they tend to be very pricey and their functionality is mainly focused on work stations some of which are used in CPU intensive research rather than say, gaming.

Intel's naming structure

The 10 in their naming structure stands for the generation of CPU’s. Every year Intel updates their CPU’S and this has been going on for many years. Intel has special code names that we are going to illustrate in the table below.

GenerationMobile Code nameYear of production
1st GenerationNehalemNovember 2008
2nd GenerationSandy BridgeJanuary 2011
3rd GenerationIvy BridgeApril 2012
4th GenerationHaswellJune 2013
5th GenerationBroadwellSeptember 2014
6th GenerationSky LakeAugust 2015
7th GenerationKaby Lake Apollo LakeAugust 2016
8th GenerationKaby Lake refresh Whiskey lake Coffee lakeAugust 2017
9th GenerationCoffee LakeOctober 2017
10th GenerationComet lake Ice lakeAugust 2019
11th GenerationTiger Lake Rocket lakeSeptember 2020
12th GenerationAlder Lake
Intel's naming structure

The 65 in their naming structure stands for the stock keeping unit (SKU). If a PC is from the same generation but has a higher SKU number then it most likely has a higher performance than the one with a lower SKU number.

The letters at the end of the naming convention for example: G7 also have a designated purpose with some information that may be crucial to a buyer during purchase. the table below breaks down and simplifies what each of them means.

G1- G7It contains Intel’s integrated graphics card. Such as the latest Intel Iris Graphics.
FRequires a discrete graphics card to run
GThe package comes with a discrete graphics card
HThis is a high performance mobile chipset
HKIt means that it offers high performance and is unlocked
HQIt means that it offers high performance and it is a quad core CPU.
KMeans that it is unlocked
SMeans that it is a special edition version
TThese T enabled chips are found it desktops and they are low powered meaning that they utilize a small amount of power at around 35 watts as compared with some core i9 models which can go as high as 95 watts and above.
UIt is a mobile efficient chip means that it uses less power
YIt is even a more power efficient low powered chip which uses less energy.
X / XEThis is an Extreme edition version and often comes with Core™ i9 CPUs.

It is important to also note that not all Core™ i7 PCs are alike. If you find a Core™ i7 with a U suffix then its performance is often low and is mostly used in ultra-books as compared with the same Core™ i7 but with a K suffix which is often used in high end gaming PCs.


Intel core cpu chip

I hope this article has finally shed some light on Intel’s naming scheme. At least next time when you go out to buy an Intel PC you are well equipped with the right knowledge necessary to make the right purchase.

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