What’s the main difference between Intel processor generations

cpucpu-architecture

What are the main differences between each processor generation of Intel processors/chipsets? Is there a performance difference?

I've already seen processors from first to sixth generation, however I don't know/understand the exact differences.

Best Answer

The term Generation is loosely applied to Intel processors to mean new and significant developments in processor architecture or functions.

  • A second generation Core processor is the family of processors known as Sandy Bridge, which among other things introduced shared cache and placed the memory controller, graphics and CPU on the same die. The first generation was composed the Core i3, i5 and i7 processors launched early last year.

  • The term can also be seen sometimes applied to processor families. The Core family of processors can sometimes be talked about as having had 3 generations (Lyndfield, Clarkdale and Sandy Bridge). But some processors like the i7, had more or different families (the Bloomfield and Gulftown). Example.

  • It can also be used to name different factory models within a similar architecture. Again, sticking to Core processors, The Core 2 Duo, Quad and Extreme being mentioned as one generation different than the i3, i5 and i7, while the sandy Bridge being the 3rd generation of Core processors. Example

All in all the term is not officially connoted to the media. Intel does seem to favor the term as meaning significant architecture and factory processing changes within the same family of processors. And they are ultimately the ones deciding what is named 2nd, 3rd, 4th and so on generation. They do it often. But the term has come to mean other things too, since Intel itself has never tried to enforce it. Hence being a term that can have both official and loose connotations, depending on the context.