Intel processor naming convention
Intel uses the above processor naming convention. The brand modifier options, in order of increasing capability are i3, i5, i7 and i9 (with i9 also called X-Series and focused on gaming and video editing). Gen indicator aligns to the generation of processor, with later generations more powerful for a given brand modifier, i.e. a 10th Generation i5 should be more capable than a 9th Generation i5. SKU allows differentiation between otherwise identical processors; in general, as the SKU number increases it reflects improvements in capability (SKU, pronounced “skew”, short for stock keeping unit) The Product Line Suffix definitions are shown in the following table.
As of October 2020, devices are available from manufacturers for 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th Generations processors. Examples for each are described in the pages that follow.
8th Generation: Cannon Lake and 10nm
Dell Latitude 7300 with Cannon Lake processor. Image: Dell
Eight Generation Cannon Lake processors, released in 2018, are a 10 nm die shrink of the 7th Generation 14 nm Kaby Lake processors. Cannon Lake was released after 9th and 10th Generation 14 nm processors which illustrates the challenges Intel faced in releasing 10 nm processors. The Dell Latitude 7300 is an example device with a Cannon Lake processor, i7-8665U, i7 quad core, 8th generation, SKU 665, and mobile efficient (U).
9th Generation: Coffee Lake Refresh
The 9th generation Coffee Lake Refresh processor was released in 2018 as an optimisation to the Skylike architecture based on 14nm die. Many of the processors are unlocked to allow overclocking or require discrete graphics; both characteristics of graphic intensive use cases which is why 9th Generation processors are often seen in gaming computers.
10th Generation: Comet Lake and Ice lake
10th Generation branding is applied to both Comet Lake and Ice Lake processors. The former based on Skylake microarchitecture with 14nm die and the later on Sunny Cove microarchitecture with 10nm die. Thus “10th Generation” has two different meanings.
The 14nm based Comet Lake processors have better performance, in terms of clock speed, than 10nm Ice Lake processors, perhaps highlighting the challenges Intel faced in executing a die shrink. With that said, all 14nm Comet Lake processors have integrated UHD graphics, while 10nm Ice Lake processors include options for more capable Iris Plus graphics (G1 = UHD Graphics, G4 = Iris Plus, and G7 = Iris Plus with improved performance).
Left: Lenovo ThinkCentre M90t, 10th Generation Comet Lake processor, Image: Lenovo. Right: Microsoft Surface Pro 7, 10th Generation Ice lake processor. Image: Microsoft.
An example Comet Lake device is the Lenovo ThinkCentre M90t with i3-10100, an i3 dual core processor. Note this processor does not have a name suffix because it does not include special features.
An example Ice Lake device is the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 with i7-1065G7 processor. Note, when using graphic suffix, if the last digit before the “G” is “0”, it’s a Y series, and if it’s a “5” is a U series, and “8” is a H series based on their power needs. As such, the quad core i7, 10th Generation Ice Lake Processor is a mobile efficient (U) processor with Iris Plus graphics.
11th Generation: Tiger Lake
Tiger Lake 11th Generation, 10nm processors, are marketed under a new branding targeting light and thin laptops called Intel Evo.
Tiger Lake also introduces a new generation of integrated graphics called Iris Xe, with improved capability compared to previous top of range Iris Plus.
11th Generation Rocket Lake-S due in 2021 will be the first architecture change for desktop processors since Skylake was introduced in 2015.