Shopping for a new CPU can be confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with all the different models and designations or what exactly they mean.
In this quick guide, we’ll go over the letters that you’re bound to see accompanying many of Intel’s processors, explaining what each of them mean and what exactly they signify.
Letters by Generation
As you undoubtedly know, Intel releases a new generation of CPUs every year, introducing new technologies and optimizations with each new generation.
But it is not merely the technology and performance that changes – the letter designations differ from generation to generation as well, which is why we will be taking a look at each generation’s particular letter designations separately, going all the way back to generation six.
8th Generation Letters
In the latest 8th generation of Intel Coffee Lake CPUs, there are only three letters to take note of:
- K means that the CPU is unlocked and can be overclocked in order to squeeze extra performance out of it at the cost of additional power consumption and heat generation.
- G means that the CPU has more advanced integrated graphics than what Intel usually offers. For now, it comes down solely to Radeon’s Vega M GPUs.
- U signifies that the CPU has “ultra-low” power consumption. These are reserved for laptops and are optimized to offer the best battery life possible. In turn, their performance suffers compared to the regular models.
7th Generation Letters
The 7th generation Kaby Lake CPUs has quite a few letters more, but it shares the K and U designations with the 8th.
- T is similar to U in the regard that it signifies that a CPU is optimized for power-efficiency, but still consumes more power than the U-designated models.
- H indicates that the CPU is equipped with more powerful graphics, although this is still Intel’s own integrated chips that are not as powerful as those found in the G-designated 8th generation processors. HK and HQ denote that the CPU is also either unlocked or has four physical cores respectively, in addition to having a more advanced graphics chip.
- Y is also a letter indicating lower power consumption. Only, the Y-designated CPUs take this even lower than the U-designated models do. As a result, they are the most power-efficient but also have the worst performance. They are generally reserved only for the slimmest and lightest of laptops.
6th Generation Letters
The 6th generation Skylake CPUs share all the designations with the 7th, the only difference being that there are no Y-designated models in this generation.
The Intel Core brand also includes a handful of CPUs branded as m3, m5, and m7. These are all Y-designated processors designed for maximum power efficiency. Just like other Y models, they are reserved for the thinnest and most lightweight laptops such as the 2017 MacBook.
What Do the Suffixes Mean?
- C – Desktop processor based on the LGA 1150 package with high performance graphics
- H – High performance graphics
- K – Unlocked
- M – Mobile
- Q – Quad-core
- R – Desktop processor based on BGA1364 (mobile) package with high performance graphics
- S – Performance-optimized lifestyle
- T – Power-optimized lifestyle
- U – Ultra-low power
- X – Extreme edition
- Y – Extremely low power
Which Has the Best Performance?
See: The Performance Benchmark Library [Intel]
This library is a tool that can help you find performance benchmarks for Intel products. Select at least one of the filter options and click Get Results to find the benchmark you are looking for.
Which Has the Best Power Consumption?
The detailed specifications for each processor can be found at: View Processor Specifications and Compare Processors [Intel – ARK]
About Intel Processor Numbers
The processor number is one of several factors, along with processor brand, specific system configurations, and system-level benchmarks to be considered when choosing the right processor for your computing needs.
A higher number within a processor class or family generally indicates more features, but it may be more of one and less of another. Once you decide on a specific processor brand and type, compare processor numbers to verify the processor includes the features you are looking for.
See the source link above for all the letter and product line suffixes.