Intel regularly releases new processor generations under different ‘codenames’ which has created a lot of confusion over the years.
People don’t always know what type of processor they should look for, so to save you a headache we’ve decided to add the full list of Intel’s processor generations and their names (codenames) here.
What Is A Processor Generation?
A processor generation is a distinctly new range of microarchitecture.
With Intel, they have released a new microarchitecture every 1-3 years since 2006.
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i3 vs i5 vs i7
A lot of people ask which is better…
The issue is that these are not CPU generations.
Introduced with Intel Core these microprocessors differ from microarchitecture in the sense that every microarchitecture post-Intel Core has offered a range of these microprocessors.
So you will find an i3 Haswell and an i3 Sandy Bridge. This does not make them equal or the same.
Intel Processor Generation List:
Every new generation of processor is referred to as microarchitecture. Colloquially known as generations such as third-gen, ninth-gen etc. Most of us simply refer to each generation by the codename given to it such as Kaby Lake, Skylake and so on.
In this guide, we will be mentioning each successive generation by its codename as well as the technical generation and microarchitecture it is based on.
“Generation 0” – Intel Core
Intel Core was the original set of modern processors that we know today, introducing the i3, i5 and i7 processors as well as continuing the Pentium line.
1st Generation – Nehalem
Nehalem micro-architecture was released to fix certain issues with the Core release such as the notoriously inefficient pipelines and the ability to overclock.
2nd Generation – Sandy Bridge
Sandy Bridge was released in 2011. It was very different to Nehalem due to using a 32-nanometer process rather than the 45-nanometer process Nehalem had used.
3rd Generation – Ivy Bridge
Ivy Bridge was another big improvement. Reducing the power consumption, increasing throughput or processing power all while switching to a 22-nanometer process.
4th Generation – Haswell
Haswell was the first release in a few generations that kept the same nanometer process as its predecessor. Haswell was seen by many as not a big improvement, but there were notable improvements in certain areas.
5th Generation – Broadwell
Released in 2015, Broadwell was another big release for Intel this time shifting to a 14-nanometer process.
6th Generation – Skylake
Skylake is a codename Intel gave to their 6th-generation processor microarchitecture.
Released in August 2015 as the successor to Broadwell, it was later succeeded by Kaby Lake which was launched in January 2017.
Skylake took over four years to produce, being developed in Haifa, Israel by Intel’s Israel branch named ‘Intel Israel’.
Skylake supports a total of seven sockets, notably the LGA 1151, 2066 and 3647 sockets.
7th Generation – Kaby Lake
Kaby Lake, much like Skylake and Broadwell continued with the 14-nanometer process. It was the first Intel generation to lack driver support for anything older than Windows 10. The final end of Windows XP, was around the time Kaby Lake was released in January 2017.
8th Generation – Coffee Lake
Coffee Lake was created in 2017 and released the same year. The refresh CPUs coming a year and a bit later.
9th Generation – Cannon Lake
Cannon Lake is the first since Broadwell to introduce a new nanometer process which is considered real improvement by some. This time a 10-nanometer process was to be used. However this has caused a lot of problems, and endless pushbacks on the project which has been delayed several times. The official line now is that it will be released in 2019. However several sources have said it has been cancelled.
Intel Processors can be pretty confusing, but we find it easiest to break them down into their generations.
At the end of the day it pays to do a little bit of research and find out the difference between the micro-architecture and micro-processor.