Difference between Intel processor generations

If you want to know the difference between Intel processor generations, you can tell the difference between Intel’s processors with this complete guide. Continue to learn what processor architectures such as Raptor Lake, Alder Lake and Tiger Lake mean.

When I went to a technology store in a shopping mall to ask about laptop prices, they said the new laptop had a 13th generation Intel processor. When I asked the salesperson about the difference between the 13th generation and the 12th and 11th generations, he did not give accurate information, saying that the 13th generation was faster than the previous ones.

When I got home, I searched the Internet for a guide explaining the difference between processor generations. What surprised me was that there was no comprehensive guide available that could clearly explain Intel processor generations and the differences between them. After doing a lot of research, I know enough to write and document the differences I found in this article.

First of all, we need to know what the processor generation is. Many people think that Core i3, i5, i7 and i9 are processor generations. These are models or brands of Intel processors. Processor generations are different. Let me list all the important processor models released by Intel.

  • Pentium 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Celeron
  • Pentium M ve Celeron M
  • Pentium Dual-Core
  • Core Solo
  • Core Duo
  • Core 2 Duo
  • Intel Core 2
  • Core i3, i5, i7, i9

The concept of generation mainly appears after the launch of the Core i series. The difference in processor microarchitecture is the fundamental difference in processor generations. We will discuss these generations in detail below.

Intel processor generations

Intel processor generations have improved features and speed compared to previous generations. Let’s analyze each generation separately.

Intel 1st generation processors: Nehalem

Nehalem, inability to increase clock speed, inefficient pipeline creation, etc. It was the Intel processor microarchitecture, the successor to the first Core architecture, which had certain limitations such as Nehalem was put into production in 2010. Nehalem used a 45 nanometer process instead of the 65 nm or 90 nm used by previous architects. Nehalem has reintroduced Hyper-Threading technology, which was mostly left out in the first models of Core i3 processors. The Nehalem processor has 64 KB L1 cache, 256 KB L2 cache per core, and 4 MB to 12 MB L3 cache shared among all processor cores. Supports 1156 LGA socket and 2-channel DDR3 RAM.

Intel 2nd generation processors: Sandy Bridge

Sandy Bridge microarchitecture was introduced in 2011 to replace the Nehalem architecture. Sandy Bridge uses a 32 nanometer process instead of the 45 nm used in Nehalem. The average performance increase of the Sandy Bridge processor compared to Nehalem was approximately 11.3%. Sandy Bridge uses the same 64KB L1 cache and 256KB per core for L2 cache, but the difference is in the L3 cache. Typically the Sandy Bridge processor’s L3 cache was between 1 MB and 8 MB. For Extreme processors this was between 10 MB and 15 MB. It uses LGA 1155 socket and 2-channel DDR3-1066 RAM.

Intel 3rd generation processors: Ivy Bridge

Introduced in September 2012, Ivy Bridge processors are faster than Sandy Bridge processors and use a 22 nanometer process instead of the 32 nm used in Sandy Bridge. This processor model consumes up to 50% less power and increases performance by 25% to 68% compared to Sandy Bridge processors. The only problem with Ivy Bridge processors is that they can emit more heat than Sandy Bridge processors. The Ivy Bridge architecture uses the same LGA 1155 socket as DDR3-1333 to DDR3-1600 RAM.

Intel 4th generation processors: Haswell

Haswell was released by Intel in June 2013. It uses the same 22nm process as Ivy Bridge. Haswell’s performance increase over Ivy Bridge is between 3% and 8%. Haswell brings new socket support (LGA 1150, BGA 1364, LGA 2011-3), DDR4 technology, a completely new cache design, etc. It has a lot of Ivy Bridge features with very interesting new features like. The main advantage of Haswell is that it can be used on ultraportable devices due to its low power consumption.

Intel 5th generation processors: Broadwell

Broadwell was launched by Intel in 2015. It uses 14nm process technology, which is 37% smaller in size than previous models. According to Intel, with the Broadwell CPU, the battery life of the device can be increased by up to 1.5 hours. Broadwell chips also have faster wake-up times and improved graphics performance. Supports LGA 1150 sockets with 2-channel DDR3L-1333/1600 RAM.

Intel 6th generation processors: Skylake

Intel introduced its 6th generation processors Skylake in August 2015. Skylake is a reimagining of the same 14nm technology introduced in Broadwell, the 5th generation architecture.

Intel 7th generation processors: Kaby Lake

Intel’s 7th generation processors, codenamed Kaby Lake, were introduced in 2016. Kaby Lake is essentially an upgrade of the Sky Lake architecture with several efficiency and power improvements. It uses 14 nm process architecture. Kaby Lake is the first Intel microarchitecture that does not come with an official driver for operating systems prior to Windows 10. Kaby Lake introduced a new graphics architecture to improve 3D graphics performance and 4K video playback. It uses a 1151 LGA socket and has dual channel support for DDR3L-1600 and DDR4-2400 RAM slots.

Intel 8th Generation Processors: Kaby Lake R

In 2017, Intel introduced updated Kaby Lake processors as its new 8th generation version. The details are the same as those described in the 7th generation Intel processor, but some 8th generation chipsets support DDR4-2666 RAM but lack DDR3L RAM.

Intel 9th Generation Processors: Coffee Lake

Coffee Lake processors were introduced by Intel in late 2017. Intel Core i9 processors were introduced with this architecture. Coffee Lake processors exceed the 4-core limit per CPU. The new processors can now support up to 8 cores per CPU. Since the heat generated in these cores would be huge, Intel added the Integrated Heat Spreader (IHS) to the CPU die instead of the thermal paste normally used in previous processors. It uses a 1151 LGA socket with modified pins to support more than 4 cores along with up to 16MB of L3 cache.

Intel 10th Generation Processors: Cannon Lake/Ice Lake

Intel’s 10th generation architecture, Cannon Lake, comes with a brand new 10nm technology. It was released in late 2017, but production properly began in 2018. Ice Lake is produced as the second generation of 10 nm processors. They use BGA1526 sockets and come with support for DDR4 3200 and LPDDR4X 3733. This is the first CPU architecture to come with built-in Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Thunderbolt 3 support.

Intel 11th Generation Processors: Tiger Lake

Intel’s 11th generation Tiger Lake was released in 2020. They came as the third generation of 10nm transistor technology. Tiger Lake architecture has up to 30% performance increase compared to Ice Lake. It was introduced with L4 cache in this generation to further improve performance. All models support DDR4-3200 memory.

Intel 12th Generation Processors: Alder Lake

Intel’s 12th generation processor architecture Alder Lake is a processor architecture manufactured using Intel’s Intel 7 process, previously called Intel 10 nm Enhanced SuperFin (10ESF), and released in 2021. For desktop processors, the LGA 1700 socket is supported. Up to DDR4-3200 and up to DDR5-4800 are supported.

Intel 13th Generation Processors: Raptor Lake

Intel’s 13th generation processor architecture, Raptor Lake, will be released in 2022. Like Alder Lake, Raptor Lake is produced using Intel’s Intel 7 process. Raptor Lake came with up to 24 cores (8 performance cores plus 16 efficiency cores) and 32 threads, and was socket compatible (LGA1700) with Alder Lake systems. All models support up to 128GB of RAM and up to 192GB of DDR5 RAM. All models support up to DDR4-3200 or DDR5-4800.