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Understanding Intel CPU Names


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When people buy computers, they often do not understand how Intel defines the various CPU names. Here is a basic explanation. Understanding what kind of CPU is on the computer you are about to buy, can be useful in determining its worth. Here is a simple explanation of Intel's naming convention.

On Windows, if we go to settings, then system and look at what Windows tells us about our processor, we'll see something like this:

Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-10500 CPU @ 3.10GHz 3.10 GHz

  • Intel(R) Core(TM): is the Brand
  • i5 : is the brand modifier—Usually, higher numbers mean more electricity more power more features and higher costs. The I-5 is the most common processor for office desktop computers. It is what I recommend to my business clients.
  • The 10 is the generation number and is critical. My computer is a 10th generation. Currently (June 2024), Intel is selling 13th generation processors.
  • The 500 is their SKU#
  • The 3.10 GHz is the speed of the processors.

This is how Intel describes them:

An i9 would be a very fast processor used mostly for gaming or CAD.


Normally, business processors don't have a suffix, but laptops and some specialty machines do. Here are some more common suffixes.

F: Requires discrete graphics. This would probably mean lots of graphics processing, either CAD or video editing or gaming.

On Mobile computers, they customize the chips for longer battery life or better performance.
U: Power efficient (longer battery life but less powerful)
H: High performance, usually used for Laptops, as opposed to U for power efficient. This is also used for many microcomputers where they are very small and compact, but do not run off a battery.

E: Embedded

K: Unlocked

Here is a list from Intel of their Core Processor suffixes.

Date: June 2024

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