Know Your Intel

Intel corporation is the leading developer and manufacturer of desktop and mobile processors. They sell their products to Apple, IBM, Dell, Samsung, Sony and many other vendors.

Know Your Intel

Intel processors like people have their family and generations. Identifiers, featuring brand names, generation and critical characteristics have been invented to differentiate them.

First identifiers were quite simple: brand name plus number. Like, Intel® Atom™ 330 or Intel® Atom™ N270. The N letter is called prefix or alpha prefix and defined the processors usage: either on desktop or on mobile systems. The higher was the number, the more features the processor had.

As Intel processors became more and more complicated, their identifiers followed the pattern.

The name identifies the family:

Intel® Core™ or Intel® Core™ 2 Duo. Sometimes online vendors add the architecture brand name: Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Haswell or Broadwell. Than follows a letter or an alpha prefix and then – the identifier of four or more digits and more letters or suffixes. Obviously, these letters stand for crucial features of the processor identified. For instance, M identifies mobile processors designed for laptops, net-tops or tablets. X stands for extreme edition, Q – for quad core, L – for low-energy processors and K – for unlocked processors which are deliberately designed for overclocking. The chart is large and we advise you to consult the manufacturer’s website in every specific case. This guide’s goal is just to give you some outlines.

See this example:

  • Intel® Core™ i7-3770XM
  • Intel® Core™ – brand
  • i7 – brand identifier
  • 3770- number, where only digit 3 is of interest to us as it identifies the generation
  • X – letter suffix
  • M – product line suffix

So, we have Intel® Core™ i7 processor of 3rd generation, mobile extreme edition. If you find this processor in a desktop, think twice before buying it as the mobile processors have some limitations to their performance. If you look for a home server or cloud, you should look for processors with T or L in their identifiers, where L means a low-energy processor and T – a ‘cold’ processor that doesn’t get too warm under performance.


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