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 11th 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.
|10th Generation i5 Processors|
|Y||Extremely low power||10310Y, 10210Y|
|G||Discrete Graphics on Package||1035G4, 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|
|T||Power-optimized lifestyle||9400T, 9600T, 9500T, 9900T|
|H||High Performance Graphics||9300H, 9400H,|
|F||Requires Discrete Graphics||9900KF|
|8th Generation i5 processors|
|U||Ultra-low power||8265U, 8295U, 8296U|
|Y||Extremely low power||8200Y,|
|H||High Performance Graphics||8300H,|
|B||No description||8400B, 8500B|
|G||Discrete Graphics on Package||8305G|
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 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, a hardware term, denotes the number of independent central processing units in a chip.
Threads, a software term, denotes the sequence of instructions that can be processed by a single CPU core.
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).
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|
|Lithography||14 nm||14 nm||14 nm||14 nm|
|Base Frequency||1.60 GHz||1.70 GHz||2.30 GHz||2.60 GHz|
|Maximum Turbo Frequency||3.90 GHz||3.30 GHz||4.00 GHz||4.20 GHz|
|Cache||6 MB||9 MB||8 MB||6 MB|
|Memory||64 GB||128 GB||64 GB||32 GB|
|Processor Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 620||Intel UHD Graphics 630||Intel UHD Graphics 630||Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655|
|9th Generation i5 Processors|
|Lithography||14 nm||14 nm||14 nm||14 nm|
|Base Frequency||3.10 GHz||1.80 GHz||2.20 GHz||2.40 GHz|
|Maximum Turbo Frequency||4.60 GHz||3.40 GHz||3.70 GHz||4.10 GHz|
|Cache||9 MB||9 MB||9 MB||8 MB|
|Memory||128 GB||128 GB||128 GB||128 GB|
|Processor Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 630||Intel UHD Graphics 630||Intel UHD Graphics 630||Intel UHD Graphics 630|
|10th Generation i5 Processors|
|Lithography||14 nm||14 nm||10 nm||10 nm|
|Base Frequency||1.60 GHz||1.10 GHz||1.20 GHz||1.00 GHz|
|Maximum Turbo Frequency||4.20 GHz||4.10 GHz||3.70 GHz||3.60 GHz|
|Cache||6 MB||6 MB||6 MB||6 MB|
|Memory||64 GB||16 GB||64 GB||64 GB|
|Processor Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics||Intel Iris Plus Graphics||Intel 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.
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.
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.
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 decent 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.
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 Good enough for such activities.
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 Multitasking, heavy-duty users video editing professionals and so on.
Depending on your utility, you can choose the right category of CPU.
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Srinivasa is Vsbytes’s Editor-In-Chief. He Is A Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert And Has Been Interested In Computer Hardware, Software, And Gaming Right Since The Time He Was A Child.