When you purchase a PC or a laptop, the first aspect you look into is the processor.

Assuming that you opt for the Intel Core Series, you will find that the Intel Core line of processors usually falls into three tiers, the i3, i5, and i7.

You also have the luxurious i9 processors specially designed for gamers and Multitasking.

The Basics of i3, i5, and i7 processors

Let us now understand the primary differences between the i3, i5, and i7 processors. These are the processors you usually deal with today.

  • The i3 processors are the entry-level processors featuring dual cores. Thus, it entails having two processors on one chip. The i3 processors allow Hyper-Threading for efficient processing.
  • The i5 processors come with two (Dual Core), as well as four cores (Quad Core). These processors come equipped with Intel’s Turbo-Boost technology that enables the cores to run faster than their operating frequency when required. This process is also known as overclocking.
  • The i7 processors have two (Dual Core) or four cores (Quad Core) and come equipped with both Hyper-Threading and Turbo-Boost technology.

Thus, an initial glance at the three tiers shows that the i7 processor is better than i5, and the i5 processor is more efficient than the i3 processor.

Now, let us understand the numbering and the lettering that you come across with each processor.

The concept behind the numbering of the processors

For example, you have the Core i7-8650U processor and the Core i5-6200U processor. The first number represents the generation. Thus, the i7 processor belongs to the 8th generation and the i5 processor to the 6th generation in this example.

Naturally, the higher the number, the later is the generation.

The 6th generation processors came in the year 2015. Today, you have the 10th generation processors in the market, as well.

The next part of the name constitutes a three-digit number, 650 and 200, respectively.

It represents the SKU number (Stock Keeping Unit). Some people also refer to it as the model number.

Following the SKU number, you come across an alphabet. In our example, it is U. This alphabet distinguishes one processor from the others in the same generation.

Intel uses various suffixes for each generation. It represents the category of computer systems that the processor is ideally suited for. Here is what these suffixes denote.

Source – https://www.intel.in/content/www/in/en/products/processors/core/i5-processors.html

10th Generation i5 Processors
SuffixDenotesExamples
UUltra-low power10210U
YExtremely low power10310Y, 10210Y
GDiscrete Graphics on Package1035G4, 1035G7, 1035G1,

 

The suffix G is followed by numbers from 1 to 7, thereby indicating the level of graphics. The higher the number, the better is the graphics.

9th Generation i5 processors
SuffixDenotesExamples
TPower-optimized lifestyle9400T, 9600T, 9500T, 9900T
HHigh Performance Graphics9300H, 9400H,
KUnlocked9600K, 9900K
FRequires Discrete Graphics9900KF
SSpecial Edition9900KS

 

8th Generation i5 processors
SuffixDenotesExamples
UUltra-low power8265U, 8295U, 8296U
YExtremely low power8200Y,
TPower-optimized Lifestyle8400T,
HHigh Performance Graphics8300H,
BNo description8400B, 8500B
GDiscrete Graphics on Package8305G

 

We have concentrated on the 8th, 9th, and 10th generation i5 processors because we are now going to compare these three generations. It will help you to purchase the right one according to your requirements.

The difference between the 8th, 9th, and 10th generations

While you might not see much of a difference in the quality between the i5 8th generation and i5 9th generation processors, the 10th generation CPUs are a class apart.

The 10th generation CPU is an Ice lake CPU with a 10nm process, whereas the 8th and the 9th generation processors are the 14nm Sky Lake CPUs.

The Sky Lake Chip was introduced in 2015 as a 6th generation processor. Therefore, the 7th, 8th, and the 9th (all of which are Sky Lake CPUs with 14nm process) are refurbished versions of the 6th generation with some incremental advancements.

The 8th generation CPUs offer an entire range of processors, whereas the 9th generation offers only the high-end processors.

Though the 10th generation processors do not provide High-performance graphics, they are considerably faster than the earlier generations.

Let us now compare the 8th, 9th, and the 10th generation i5 CPUs and understand the difference.

Parameters to Compare

As we compare the CPUs of the 8th, 9th, and 10th generation, we shall look at the essential features alone without going into too much of the technical details. Here are the parameters that we shall compare.

Lithography

Lithography is the semiconductor technology used for manufacturing an IC. It is denoted in nanometre (nm). It indicates the size of the features built on the semiconductor.

Cores

Cores, a hardware term, denotes the number of independent central processing units in a chip.

Threads

Threads, a software term, denotes the sequence of instructions that can be processed by a single CPU core.

Base Frequency

It is the rate at which the CPUs transistors open and close. It is measured in GHz.

Maximum Turbo Frequency

It is the maximum single-core frequency at which the CPU can operate using Turbo Boost Technology and Thermal Velocity Technology (if present).

Cache

CPU Cache is an area of fast memory located on the processor.

Using these critical parameters, we shall now compare four processors, each from the 8th, 9th, and 10th generation CPUs.

8th Generation i5 Processors
Model8265U8400T8300H8269U
Lithography14 nm14 nm14 nm14 nm
Cores4644
Threads8688
Base Frequency1.60 GHz1.70 GHz2.30 GHz2.60 GHz
Maximum Turbo Frequency3.90 GHz3.30 GHz4.00 GHz4.20 GHz
Cache6 MB9 MB8 MB6 MB
Memory64 GB128 GB64 GB32 GB
Processor GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 620Intel UHD Graphics 630Intel UHD Graphics 630Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
    9th Generation i5 Processors
Model96009400T9500T9300H
Lithography14 nm14 nm14 nm14 nm
Cores6664
Threads6668
Base Frequency3.10 GHz1.80 GHz2.20 GHz2.40 GHz
Maximum Turbo Frequency4.60 GHz3.40 GHz3.70 GHz4.10 GHz
Cache9 MB9 MB9 MB8 MB
Memory128 GB128 GB128 GB128 GB
Processor GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 630Intel UHD Graphics 630Intel UHD Graphics 630Intel UHD Graphics 630
10th Generation i5 Processors
Model10210U10310Y1035G71035G1
Lithography14 nm14 nm10 nm10 nm
Cores4444
Threads8888
Base Frequency1.60 GHz1.10 GHz1.20 GHz1.00 GHz
Maximum Turbo Frequency4.20 GHz4.10 GHz3.70 GHz3.60 GHz
Cache6 MB6 MB6 MB6 MB
Memory64 GB16 GB64 GB64 GB
Processor GraphicsIntel UHD GraphicsIntel UHD GraphicsIntel Iris Plus GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics

Comparison between i5 8th Generation and 9th Generation CPUs

If you compare the 8th and 9th generation i5 CPUs, there is not much distinction, except for the clock speeds, especially in the i5 9600 that has a base processor speed of 3.10 GHz.

Thus, the 9th generation CPUs are comparatively faster than the 8th generation counterparts.

However, if you include the 7th generation processors, the difference in the clock speed is noticeable. On the pricing aspect, the 8th generation CPUs could be cheaper.

The 10th Generation i5 processors

When it comes to comparing the 10th gen CPUs, they are a class apart. If you compare the basic features of the 9th generation and 10th generation  CPUs, there is little to choose between the two.

However, when it comes to advanced features, the 10th generation CPUs are streets ahead.

  • The 10th gen CPUs feature Intel Iris Plus graphics and bring AI to the PC for the first time.
  • The highlights of these processors are the 2.5x accelerated AI, 3x faster wireless speeds, and 2x graphics performance.
  • The 10th gen CPUs deliver faster wireless speeds because they feature WiFi 6 (Gig+) technology and the most versatile and fastest port via Thunderbolt 3 technology.

Why prefer the 10th generation CPU?

Here are some reasons why the 10th generation i5 processors should be preferred to the earlier generations.

New Process

There is a tremendous shift in the lithography as the 10th gen CPUs move to a 10 nm process from the erstwhile 14 nm process.

Intel’s chip architecture was on the 14 nm process since the sixth-generation Sky Lake CPUs introduced in 2015.

The highlight of the 10th gen CPUs is the Ice Lake Chips with a 10 nm process.

Quicker Processes

The 10th generation chips have Sunny Cove cores that are considerably faster than the previous generation cores.

Intel has estimated that these cores increase the IPC (Instructions Per Clock) by approximately 18%.

Besides, these cores come with a Dynamic Tuning 2.0 feature to manage the Turbo Boost capability. Thus, you get better performance even though these chips run at slightly lower clock speeds as compared to the 9th generation chips.

Highly advanced features

Integrated graphics have been around in CPUs right since the 2nd generation Sandy Bridge CPUs.

If that was a landmark introduction, the Thunderbolt 3 in the 10th generation chips is the next big integration.

Specific high-end laptops offered Thunderbolt 3 support using a Thunderbolt 3 controller.

However, the 10th generation chips get Thunderbolt 3 as a built-in feature. It could lead to PC makers saving costs, as well as increasing space inside the laptops.

Another positive aspect of the 10th generation CPUs is that all laptops will come with WiFi 6 compatibility.

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Formerly, it was known as 802.11ax. The advantage is that it gives much higher speeds at 2.4 GHz while being capable of juggling multiple devices at the same time.

It is also compatible with 5 GHz operating frequency. Thus, people having a WiFi 6 router system at home will benefit tremendously.

Greater and faster memory

The 10th generation processors support LPDDR4X RAM. The immediate benefit is that it provides nearly 50% more memory bandwidth.

Thus, gaming will be a smoother experience. Professionals in the video editing industry will welcome this precious memory addition to their systems.

As on date, the 8th and 9th generation CPUs support LPDDR3 RAM. The maximum memory is 16 GB. Now, this amount of memory should be more than enough for the average user.

However, LPDDR4X opens up new vistas for video editors and compulsive gamers.

Gamers would love the 10th generation CPU

Gamers would laugh at the capabilities of Intel Integrated Graphics up to now. With the introduction of the new Gen11 graphics in the 10th generation CPUs, they have reason to rejoice.

These CPUs can deliver one teraflop of performance by enabling a fantastic gaming experience at 1080p. The VESA Adaptive-Sync support makes it doubly smooth for the avid gamer.

Now, the gamer will not need embedded DRAM to get the best graphics performance. Intel contends that its Gen11 graphics can perform better than the Iris Plus graphics even without using e-DRAM.

10th Generation or 8th/9th Generation – Which is preferable?

These five reasons should prove that the 10th generation chips are infinitely better than the previous generations. Hence, people wishing to switch over to the 10th gen CPUs can gladly do so.

However, does that make the present-day 8th and 9th generation chips obsolete?

No, you can still go for the 8th generation CPU. Here are some reasons to back our claim.

The 10th generation is faster, but the 8th gen chips are not very far behind

No one can deny that the 10th gen chips are faster than the present-day chips. However, the average user cannot distinguish between the two easily.

The AI performance is excellent, but it is an advantage in apps that support it.

A standard user who uses MS Office or the regular web browsers will not find much difference in the speed.

The number of cores and threads does not change as it did when Intel introduced the 8th generation CPUs. As compared to the 7th gen processors, the speed difference was immediately noticeable.

The 10th gen CPU offers better gaming experiences, but it is still far from being a gaming laptop

We have seen that the Gen11 graphics present in the 10th gen CPUs improve gaming experience to an entirely different level.

The Adaptive-Sync Support enhances the smoothness levels. Despite these improvements, it is nowhere as efficient as the gaming laptops that are available today.

The gaming laptops come with high-quality GPUs. The 10th gen CPUs cannot match the gaming performance levels of the present-day GPUs. If you opt for a 10th generation CPU, an external GPU should enhance your gaming experience considerably.

The 10th generation CPU-equipped systems will be expensive

We are in the initial days of the 10th generation CPUs. Therefore, the prices of these machines will be higher in comparison to the previous generation.

The provision of LPDDR4X RAM makes it more expensive. As the numbers of 10th gen laptops increase, the prices can go down.

At the same time, the 8th and 9th gen machines will start offering attractive discounts and incentives.

The 8th gen laptops are easier to get.

Generally, there are two types of CPU launches. At times, Intel launches a new generation that works seamlessly along with the existing ones.

Sometimes, you have launches that replace the current model overnight. Thus, people can find it confusing which one to opt for.

The 8th generation laptops are not only affordable but are easier to get when compared to the 10th gen laptops.

Which one should I purchase?

You have to consider many factors before selecting the right CPU. The speed of the processor is one of the crucial issues.

The graphics performance is another critical factor. The cost of the computer plays a deciding role. The standard user is the one who uses simple applications, including MS Office and so on. The 8th gen CPUs are the best as on date.

The 9th gen CPUs are also good, but they are comparatively high-end. The Y and U category of processors are not available in the 9th gen chips. These CPUs are the least expensive of all.

As far as the 10th gen CPUs are concerned, they are excellent for heavy-duty users video editing professionals and so on.

Depending on your utility, you can choose the right category of CPU.