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Naming conventions for i-series cores.

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  • CPUs
  • Intel i7
  • Intel
  • Intel i5
Last response: in CPUs
January 9, 2011 12:57:01 AM

I've been out of the loop for a while and I've been trying to find out what the numbers mean in the Intel i-series CPU. I went on Intel's website to learn about the differences between the i3/i5/i7. Does anyone know what the 3 numbers mean after the i3/i5/i7? For example, i7-870 or i5-655 K. The numbers in bold is what I'm referring to here.

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January 9, 2011 1:07:48 AM

JohnnyMaverick said:
I've been out of the loop for a while and I've been trying to find out what the numbers mean in the Intel i-series CPU. I went on Intel's website to learn about the differences between the i3/i5/i7. Does anyone know what the 3 numbers mean after the i3/i5/i7? For example, i7-870 or i5-655 K. The numbers in bold is what I'm referring to here.


The second two numbers in the sequence, e.g. "xx" in "yxx", are arbitrary as far as I know. For a given y, a relatively higher xx generally indicates better performance, but there's no reason for the specific value as far as I know. You won't really get any information from the xx.

The y does usually indicate a particular difference between one series and another. For instance, i5s in the 7xx series are quad core, whereas other i5s, e.g. 5xx, are dual-core with hyper threading. (This is only for the current Nehalem processors. The new Sandy Bridge processors that are about to come out, indicated by a fourth "2" digit, have an entirely different naming scheme.) With the i7s, on the other hand, it's a matter of motherboard socket. The i7-8xx processors are for 1156, while the i7-9xx processors are for 1366. (Again, this is for Nehalem. The new Sandy Bridges, following the naming scheme Core i?-2yxx, are a whole different matter.)

Trailing numbers on the end each mean something different. "K" means an unlocked multiplier, so that you can overclock using the multiplier.
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January 9, 2011 1:52:18 AM

Also, in addition to the K suffix at the end of the numbers there are also T and S suffixes. Both of which refer to processors that have lowered clocks and voltages to reduce the TDP. They generally perform less than the equivalent processor without the suffix, eg a core i5-2xxxS will have less performance than a core i5-2xxx where xxx is the same in both names. From what I've heard the S and T models won't be seen in great volumes on sites like newegg, but will be more common in prebuilt machines.
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January 9, 2011 2:34:15 PM

Kloreep said:
The second two numbers in the sequence, e.g. "xx" in "yxx", are arbitrary as far as I know. For a given y, a relatively higher xx generally indicates better performance, but there's no reason for the specific value as far as I know. You won't really get any information from the xx.

The y does usually indicate a particular difference between one series and another. For instance, i5s in the 7xx series are quad core, whereas other i5s, e.g. 5xx, are dual-core with hyper threading. (This is only for the current Nehalem processors. The new Sandy Bridge processors that are about to come out, indicated by a fourth "2" digit, have an entirely different naming scheme.) With the i7s, on the other hand, it's a matter of motherboard socket. The i7-8xx processors are for 1156, while the i7-9xx processors are for 1366. (Again, this is for Nehalem. The new Sandy Bridges, following the naming scheme Core i?-2yxx, are a whole different matter.)

Trailing numbers on the end each mean something different. "K" means an unlocked multiplier, so that you can overclock using the multiplier.


Thanks for that answer. While I was talking to a friend of acquaintance of mine, he said the new iCore CPUs no longer have a FSB (front side bus) to speak of compared to CPUs of previous generations. Is this true?
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January 9, 2011 3:31:46 PM

Yes. Current Core i CPUs don't have a FSB. Instead, the LGA 1366 processors use a point to point chipset interconnect called QPI, and the LGA 1156 and LGA 1155 processors use a chipset interconnect called DMI. Also, since the memory controller is no longer on the chipset (it's been moved to the CPU) the interconnect is no longer responsible for memory transfer.
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January 19, 2011 2:01:22 AM

Best answer selected by JohnnyMaverick.
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