The Intel® Processor Catalog offers an in-depth look at the range of Intel® processor technologies that are available for desktop and mobile platforms. It provides detailed information about the processor models, number of cores, cache size, supported technologies, system requirements, and architecture, as well as socket and thermal design power. With the help of this catalog, you can make an informed decision when choosing the perfect processor for your needs.
The Intel processor catalog is overwhelming. Right now, the company has about a hundred different models for sale. And that’s not counting those officially discontinued, but still sold installed in OEM PCs, in the retail channel or moving in the second-hand market.
Intel only usually keeps a couple of generations active. officially and last week issued a Product Change Notification (PCN) for the Core 11 series, reporting the retirement in January 2024 of five notebook and four hybrid desktop SKUs that have been in use for mini-PCs. These processors will join another group of desktop CPUs that were discontinued a few weeks ago. It will virtually be the definitive end of the eleventh generation.
Intel processor catalog
The retirement of the Core 11 will “slim down” the catalog and allow us to review a list that. should be much shorter and easier to understand. Of its main competitor, AMD, we could say the same. Too many models and difficulties for an ordinary user to understand all their features and differences between generation, architecture, series, technological process, platform, chipset, processing cores, threads, cache memory, working frequency or TDP consumption.
And it is important to know them to make a selection as accurate as possible when buying a PC. Or if we are going to assemble it on our own or to upgrade an existing one. This Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the main component of a personal computer and it is convenient to be clear about our needs in order to choose them.
Which processor am I using
For users who are thinking of upgrading their equipment and in general for all those who want to know the CPU used and its capabilities, there is nothing better than identifying it beforehand. All operating systems offer access to this information. In the latest Windows it is as simple as accessing the Configuration > tool; System > About:
If you want more information you can use one of the external benchmark-type applications that will give you the complete specifications of all components and a comparative evaluation of their performance, which is very useful when maintaining/upgrading equipment.
Knowing the CPU installed in Linux is just as easy, using the terminal with the command.
lscpu | grep "Model name". The same on Mac with the command
sysctl -a | grep machdep.cpu.brand_stringcommand, although it should be remembered that Apple has replaced Intel processors by ARM in all the new product range.
In all cases, knowing the model name, a search can be done on Intel’s product specification page for details of the processor, features, socket and chipset used. Intel also provides performance results between them.
Intel uses a alphanumeric scheme for the identification of its processors. It can serve in a general way for all marketed platforms, although Intel has modified it in the last generations. A higher processor number in a class or family usually indicates more power or features, but not always, because the mix of architectures and the multiple suffixes added complicate the choice. We explain it in detail by analyzing the following image that corresponds to the latest generation of Core 13th Gen processors.
Brand. The scheme starts with the different brands that the manufacturer markets for its processors. Currently the main one is Intel Core and covers all types of equipment. From desktop from mini-PCs to large enthusiast grade towers and the entire notebook group. Intel Pentium and Intel Celeron are below in performance for entry-level equipment, while Intel Xeon is used in workstations and servers.
Brand modifier. It is only used for the Core brand and you can find i9, i7, i5 and i3. A higher value usually indicates higher performance, although not in all cases and not for all tasks.
Numeric digits. These are the numbers preceding the brand modifier. It is usually four numbers for Core models, as Pentium, Celeron and Xeon may include others and consists of two parts:
- Generation indicator.. This is the first number. In the example image the number “13” corresponds to the 13th generation of Core processors.
- Numerical digits SKU. (Stock-keeping unit or reference number). Identifier used internally to track a product. A higher number usually reflects higher performance.
Optional suffixes. Probably the most complicated to understand for a consumer because there are quite a few of them. They are always placed behind the number and can indicate the line where the processor is focused, special features and in the latest generations the integrated graphics included. It is a key indicator because it can highlight consumption or performance. We leave you with a list of those that Intel has been using:
- “G1-G7” – Level of integrated graphics in processors that include it.
- “U” – Low voltage for notebooks.
- “Y” – Ultra-low voltage for laptops.
- “H” – High performance for notebooks.
- “HK” – High performance and unlocked multiplier for notebooks.
- “HQ” – High performance for notebooks; quad-core CPU.
- “K” – Multiplier unlocked for easy overclocking.
- “T” – Low power consumption for desktops.
- “S” – Special edition. They are usually the highest performance of a series.
- “X” – Higher performance HEDT
- “XE” – Highest Performance HEDT Extreme Edition
- “XS” – Special and unique desktop model with eight active cores at 5 GHz.
- “E” – Embedded systems. Not upgradeable.
- “G” – Includes discrete graphics on die, the Vega GPU created in collaboration with AMD and discontinued at the time.
Intel 13th Gen Processors – Raptor Lake
The latest generation marketed by Intel is codenamed “Raptor Lake” and maintains the silicon level changes that the previous generation debuted, mainly by the use of the hybrid architecture which has transferred to PCs the big.LITTLE design philosophy proposed by ARM and which is massively used in devices such as smartphones.
Intel kicked off this generation in autumn 2022 with the commercialization of the highest-performance models for desktops, “S” series and with unlocked multiplier defined by the “K” suffix. Already this year, in the framework of CES, it presented the Core HX, H, P and U for laptops; it expanded the desktop range with the models without multiplier “non-K” and presented the “Intel N” which were new in its catalog as they replaced the Pentium and Celeron brand to power basic and economical computers.
A couple of weeks ago it announced the “vPro” which are basically the same as the general series, but with additional hardware management and security features and reserved for the enterprise market. Intel now covers with this generation all the market segments where it works, from embedded to notebooks, including all types of desktops.. Most of them have integrated graphics on the die itself that can be used separately or in conjunction with dedicated graphics. They have new motherboards with LGA 1700 socket and proprietary 7 series chipsets.
Their identification we already saw in the previous section and consists of the brand, modifier, indication of generation that in this case corresponds to the number “13” and is completed with the numerical digits SKU and suffixes.
Intel 12th Gen Processors – Alder Lake
It was the first generation to broadly adopt the improved 10nm manufacturing processes and the one that debuted the hybrid architecture that combines cores for performance tasks and so-called efficient ones. The idea is to combine high-performance CPU processing cores with other types of cores of lower power, but with higher efficiency to balance performance, consumption and also the final selling price.
Under the codename “Alder Lake”its identification is similar to that of the Gen 13s we saw in the previous section, with the number “12” which corresponds to the twelfth generation, the brand and the modifier that only applies to the Core, to end the suffixes similar to the rest of the generations.
Intel 10th and 11th Gen processors – Ice Lake, Tiger Lake, Rocket Lake-S and Jasper Lake.
The problematic transition to 10nm technology processes and launch delays caused a mix of architectures and generations to be released in a short space of time. Intel employed the familiar alphanumeric scheme for differentiation, but with a few changes. Yes, it can drive anyone crazy.
The main change was that Intel added a fifth digit so that it could reflect the tenth generation “Ice Lake” with the number “10”. Another new feature was the inclusion of a suffix indicating the level of integrated graphics included:
- G7 indicates 64 execution units with Iris Plus graphics.
- G4 indicates 48 execution units with the Iris Plus graph.
- G1 indicates 32 execution units, but in this case it is not Iris Plus but from the Intel HD series.
As for the eleventh generation Corecame represented with the number “11” as a generation indicator. Their identification is similar to Ice Lake except for the generation. They began shipping in September 2020 with the low-voltage “U” series and left similar Ice Lakes ‘cut off’. To add even more confusion, Intel differentiated them into two series according to power consumption and performance:
- Intel Core H35. With TDP of 35 watts, they are intended for ultraportables that require power, but at the same time thin and light designs. One example was the Core i7-11375H whose identification is self-explanatory. They will be available in equipment from major manufacturers this quarter.
- Intel Core H45. With TDP of 45 watts, they are intended for the most powerful notebooks on the market. The flagship was the Core i9-11980HK, which follows the same identification line as the previous ones.
This is a special series that is also part of the eleventh generation Core, but was taken out of the general lineup as a transition due to the discussed problems with 10nm production. They were intended for desktop computers and debuted the new motherboards with Intel 500 series chipsets. They used the “Cypress Cove” architecture, an adaptation of the Sunny Cove architecture of the Ice Lake (10 nm+) to the 14 nm process. It was the last 14 nm platform with the top-of-the-line Core i9 11900K.
The use of the PC as an essential educational tool accelerated considerably worldwide with the COVID-19 pandemic. To meet these needs, Intel marketed this series of low-cost, low-power processors, Pentium and Celeron models, but also under the eleventh generation. They were manufactured in 10 nm processes and were intended for basic notebooks. We speak in the past tense because Intel has discontinued these brands in favor of the new Intel N processors.
Intel 9th (Coffee Lake), 8th (Cannon Lake) and 7th Gen (Kaby Lake) processors.
The identification of the ninth generation “Coffee Lake” is explained in the general example, although it is worth knowing in case you run into them out there, that two differentiated client series were marketed:
- Core 9000 for the consumer market (i9, i7, i5, i3).
- Core Xhigh performance processors (HEDT) intended for assembly in professional work machines or enthusiast grade PCs and where you will only see the Core i9.
The first processors of eighth generation of Core processors began to be distributed in the last quarter of 2017 and have been one of the broadest in Intel’s history with three differentiated platforms, Coffee Lake, Kaby Lake R and Gemini Lake to cover all market segments (workstation, desktops, notebooks, AIOs, mini-PCs…) and marketed in models such as Xeon, Core i9, Core i7, Core i5, Core i3, Pentium and Celeron. The eighth generation offers models such as the one in the following image:
Intel repeats the alphanumeric scheme named and for this series you can find:
- Brand: Intel (Xeon, Core, Pentium, Celeron…)
- Brand modifier: (i9, i7, i5, i3…).
- Generation indicator: in this case the number 8 corresponding to the eighth generation of Core processors and including several architectures, “Coffe Lake” and “Kaby Lake-Refresh”.
- Numeric digits SKU: (Stock-keeping unit or reference number). Identifier used for tracking a product. A higher number usually reflects higher performance.
- Optional suffixes: represent the line (series) of processors and are placed at the end. There are a few in each generation.
- “K” – Multiplier unlocked for easy overclocking.
- “U” – Low power consumption.
- “H” – Higher Performance.
- “G” – Includes discrete graph on the same die.
- “HQ” – Unlocked multiplier and high performance.
- “M” – Xeon Mobile.
- “T” – Low power for desktops.
The seventh generation “Kaby Lake” repeats the same scheme with brand name, modifier, the number 7 which is the generation indicator, numerical digits SKU and corresponding suffixes.
Other Intel processors
All of the above refers to the Core brand identification, but Intel has others for sale. We review the most important ones and their identification:
Intel Xeon Mobile. The launch of the first Xeon series processors for laptops came with the Skylake architecture and the firm has been expanding the portfolio. The numbering system used has little to do with the previous ones, although they are easy to distinguish by the suffix “M” To define that they are intended for mobile workstations. We reviewed:
- Brand: Intel Xeon
- Brand modifier: Product line E3, E5 or E7.
- Product family: Maximum number of CPUs in one node – Socket type – Processor SKU
- Product line suffix: “M” in the case of Xeon Mobile for mobile workstations. A higher number usually reflects higher performance.
- Version: V2, V3, V4…
Intel Pentium. Series for basic computers that you can find in desktops, laptops or mini-PCs. They include an alphabetical prefix followed by a four-character numerical sequence. You will see models with dual and quad core processing and different TDP consumption. They are discontinued today.
Intel Celeron. One step below the previous ones in power you can find them in three-digit numerical sequence or in a five-character one with an alphabetic prefix and four digits, depending on the type of processor. You can also find eighth generation Pentiums called “Gold” and “Silver”. Today they are discontinued.
Core M. Ultra-low voltage models for tablets, 2-in-1s and convertibles that used an alphanumeric scheme followed by the modifier. Sometimes an alphabetic suffix representing the processor line is included at the end of the processor name. In recent generations they have disappeared from the Intel line.
We stop here before a heart-stopping catalog in number of models, architectures, generations, series, technological processes, platform, approach or features. And we have not gone into technical characteristics, sockets, chipsets and boards where they are connected or other series for the business market such as the vPro variants with hardware security and management, the Intel Xeon Scalable (servers) or Xeon W (desktop workstation), or other consumer models such as the Intel Atom, already removed from the catalog, but which can still be found in old netbook computers.
We hope you find this review of the Intel processor catalog and its identification useful, because the truth is that it is not easy to understand. If you are thinking of upgrading, we recommend you to check our latest Intel and AMD CPU equivalence guide where you can see a great overview of the most interesting models today.