September 27, 2023

Product naming in the tech space is not easy to comprehend even for seasoned enthusiasts whether it be CPUs, motherboards, or displays. It’s certainly something that the industry has to work on. But for now, all we can do is help out and explain these naming conventions as digestible as possible, especially for newbies. So, let’s start with Intel’s CPU branding and naming – particularly the Intel Core series.

Intel’s product naming, despite being full of numbers and letters is actually one of the most digestible names as far as PC components go. It’s just that it takes time to recognize different tiers and suffixes as Intel CPUs have been around for decades. That said, let’s break down the Intel Core series branding.

Intel CPU Naming 2023 Explained
Intel CPU Naming 2023 Explained

Intel Core Processor Brand

Intel CPU Naming 2023 Explained Brand
Intel CPU Naming 2023 Explained Brand

Intel’s naming scheme starts with the processor brand. In the example above, the processor brand is Intel Core which is Intel’s mainstream CPU line. Apart from Intel Core, there’s also Intel Xeon, Intel Pentium, and Intel Celeron but the last two have been replaced with Intel Processor. For the rest of this article, we’ll focus more on Intel Core CPUs.

Intel Core Processor Brand Modifier

Intel CPU Naming 2023 Explained Brand Modifier
Intel CPU Naming 2023 Explained Brand Modifier

The first model identifier in the naming scheme is the Brand Modifier namely i3, i5, i7, and i9. i9 is a relatively new addition as it was just introduced in Intel Core 10th-gen CPUs. The higher the brand modifier number, the higher the tier of performance and features it offers like Intel Hyperthreading technology. In the same processor family, an i9 will outperform an i7, which will outperform an i5, and then the i3.

Intel Core Processor Generation Indicator

Intel CPU Naming 2023 Explained Generation Indicator
Intel CPU Naming 2023 Explained Generation Indicator

After the brand modifier is the generation indicator which tells the model’s generation. If the Intel Core processor has four digits, then the first digit serves as the generation indicator. For Intel Core processors that have five digits, the first two digits serve as the Generation Indicator. For example, in the Intel Core i5 8400 and the Intel Core i9 13900K, the first model mentioned is an 8th Gen CPU while the second one is a 13th Gen CPU.

Intel Core Processor SKU Numeric Digits

Intel CPU Naming 2023 Explained Numeric Digits
Intel CPU Naming 2023 Explained Numeric Digits

Continuing from the Processor Generation number, the next three digits of the CPU model name indicate the rank and hierarchy of the particular SKU which is used as the key rank indicator if you’re comparing models with the same Brand Modifier and Generation Indicator. A higher SKU will generally have more features however, SKU numbers are not the best reference if you’re comparing CPU models with different generations or product lines.

Intel Core Processor Suffixes

Intel CPU Naming 2023 Explained Suffix
Intel CPU Naming 2023 Explained Suffix

Suffixes tell a lot more about the processor’s features and it’s the last identifier on Intel Core Processors. The suffixes listed below are a mix of suffixes for desktops and mobile. Generally, suffixes with K are considered to be the highest-performing variant of the model line(note on the same Brand Moidifer and Generation Indicator). For example, the Intel Core i9 13900K that’s unlocked performs better and faster than a regular Intel Core i9 13900.

Intel Core Suffix List

  • G1-G7 – Graphics level
  • E – Embedded
  • F – Requires discrete Graphics
  • G – Includes discrete graphics on the package
  • H – High performance optimized for mobile
  • HK – High performance optimized for mobile, unlocked
  • HQ – High performance optimized for mobile, quadcore
  • K – Unlocked
  • S – Special Edition
  • T – Power-optimized lifestyle
  • U – Mobile power efficient
  • Y – Mobile Extremely low power
  • P – Performance optimized for thin and light
  • X/XE – Unlocked, High End

Grant is a Financial Management graduate from UST. His passion for gadgets and tech crossed him over in the industry where he could apply his knowledge as an enthusiast and in-depth analytic skills as a Finance Major. His passion allows him to earn at the same time help Gadget Pilipinas’ readers in making smart, value-based decisions and purchases with his reviews and guides.

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