if you look into current Intel processors then you would notice number of things, few are as below.

  1. i3, i5 and i7. What does their name stands for.
  2. Sandy bridge and Ivy bridge
  3. Some figures attached with processor like i5-2500k so what does 2500k mean?

There are lots of things in a processor so how determine what I should look for when buying one?

  • We don't do purchase suggestions on this website. – Ramhound Jul 31 '12 at 15:20
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    @Ramhound This isn't a shopping list question. He's asking what the items in a CPU's spec list are talking about. – Ben Richards Jul 31 '12 at 15:24
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    @sidran32 - Perhaps, but there are far to many questions for a single question. Most of these can be solved by a little research. – Ramhound Jul 31 '12 at 15:33
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    My 5c: The "K" in the i5 and i7 CPU indicates that is has been unlocked for overclocking. Sandy Bridge is based on 32 nanometer manufacturing process whereas the Ivy Bridge is based on 22 nanometer. – Darius Jul 31 '12 at 15:35
  • Here is a link to the Intel site with the majority of their current naming conventions I found within seconds by googling. – HaydnWVN Jul 31 '12 at 15:39

The questions about the current Intel processors is the easiest to answer, so I will start with that:

Intel is currently producing several ranges of CPUs. Those meant for the consumer market are called the i3, i5 and i7 range.

  1. The CPUs marketed as i3 are entry-level CPUs.
    They are cheap. Often lacking features. But sufficient for single tasks (such as browsing, office work, etc etc)
  2. The CPUs marketed with i5 are midlevel CPUs.
    They often have more features (such as hyper treading), but they are more expensive.
  3. The CPUs marketed with i7 are aimed at professionals.
    They get even more features such as hardware virtualisation (VT-d, etc.,) more cores, more L3 cache, and higher clock rates. Most people do not need these features. It does not make sense to pay for them if you do not use them, since a typical i7 is more expensive than an i3 or i5.

All generations of these have a three or four-digit number after them. E.g. the first i7 CPU was called the i7 920.

When Intel came out with the next generation of (faster) CPU's they added a suffix.
E.g. the second generation of i7s starts with 2xxx. The third generation starts with 3xxx.

Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge

These are names for specific generations of Intel CPUs. There are three generations of Intel CPUs currently on the market (as of July 2012) with the "i3/i5/i7" branding:

  1. Nehalem is the name for the design of a set of Intel processors released from November 2008 onward. Nehalem model numbers have three digits after the series number; e.g. "i7 920".

  2. Sandy bridge is the name for the design of a set of Intel processors released from January 2011 onward. In product marketing literature, computer manufacturers call these "2nd Generation Core (i3,i5,i7) Processors". Sandy Bridge model numbers have four digits after the series number; e.g. "i7-2500K". The addition of a "K" indicates that the processor's clock multiplier is "unlocKed", making it suitable for overclocking.

  3. Ivy bridge is also a name for specific design of Intel CPU's. Ivy Bridge is the latest generation of Intel CPUs to be released to the production as of July 2012. Compared to Sandy Bridge, they use less power for the same performance, and add features such as PCI-Express 3.0 and USB 3.0 natively into the CPU. Ivy Bridge processors also introduce much more powerful graphics cores based on the HD4000 integrated graphics design, compared to Sandy Bridge's HD3000.

The Ivy Bridge microarchitecture is fundamentally the same design as Sandy Bridge, but since the feature size is only 22 nanometers (nm) compared to Sandy Bridge's 32 nm, more transistors can be fit into the same space, allowing for higher performance and more complex 3D rendering using the on-chip integrated graphics.

some figures attached with processor like i5-2500k so what does 2500k means etc..

i5 means mid-level CPU
2xxx means second generation

An i5 25xx is a second generation, consumer CPU from Intel.
The last two numbers indicate specific information, such as speed and the number of cores.

All of this is easy to find with a bit of help from a search engine.

If you want to know more details, then it is best to read some tech sites such as Tom's hardware, Anand Tech or Tweakers, because in dept answers would be quite to long to post here.

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  • @allquixotic: Thanks for the edit. I know I make mistakes and errors (English is not my native language). But I am ashamed that I made that many in a single post. – Hennes Jul 31 '12 at 17:14
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    "All of this is easy to find with a bit of help from a search engine." Guess what the #1 result is for this question — this page. It's actually not that straightforward to find this information as you might think, unless you know what you're looking for and are already familiar with CPU terminology. – Jordan Reiter May 27 '16 at 13:58

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