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What core is Intel i5 processor?

What core is Intel i5 processor? Let's find out.

Updated: Feb 21, 2023 1:20 pm
What core is Intel i5 processor?

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Intel Core i5 processors provide users with reliable mid-range options that nail the sweet spot in terms of price and performance. So we have to ask: What core is Intel i5 processor?

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We know Core i5 processors – well, all of Intel and AMD’s consumer-grade processors, for that matter – have numerous cores and threads. Today, we’re talking about how many cores Intel i5 processors have and what that means for performance in real-life scenarios. 

So, let’s get right into it: What core is the Intel i5 processor?

What are CPU cores and threads?

A core is a tiny, individual processor built on the CPU chip. The more cores a processor has, the more tasks it can handle in parallel. But not only that – large individual tasks that can be broken down into smaller tasks by the computer can be carried out much faster. 

Threads are somewhat different from cores. While a core is a physical, tangible presence on the CPU die, a thread is the virtual extension of that core. With Intel’s hyperthreading technology, each core can provide the system with two threads.

In other words, each core can tackle two tasks simultaneously, increasing overall output significantly (but not by as much as having two physical cores). 

How many cores do Intel i5 processors have?

Core i5 processors have been around since 2009 and are now available in 13 generations. Of course, each generation features upgrades over the last, and changes in the CPU’s core count are often a part of such upgrades. 

Core counts for i5 processors vary across generations and can even vary among processors that belong to the same generation, so it’s important to have a look at the manufacturer’s website to know what you’re getting. 

That said, here is a breakdown of how many cores you can expect Intel i5 processors to have based on their generation. 

  • Generation 1: 2 cores, 4 threads. Released all the way back in 2009, these processors aren’t really available any longer. 
  • Generation 2-7: 4 cores, 4 threads. The iconic Core i5 quad-cores remained a prime consumer option for much of the early 2010s, but they have since fallen from popularity. Availability is extremely limited, and you’ll really only find these in second-hand marketplaces.
  • Generation 8 and 9: 6 cores, 6 threads. Intel gave their Core i5 lineup a much-needed upgrade to better compete with Ryzen 5 CPUs from AMD, which had much more cores and threads and were starting to be seen as the preferred option over Intel i5. 
  • Generation 10 and 11: 6 cores, 12 threads. The 6-core i5 CPUs were upgraded with hyperthreading to make them on par with their Ryzen 5 counterparts. This is where Core i5 processors start becoming very capable at handling workstation and productivity workloads, something that they couldn’t do very well before. 
  • Generation 12 and 13: Anywhere from 6 cores, 12 threads, to 14 cores, 20 threads. The 12th gen Core i5-12600 was the first i5 CPU to be built upon a hybrid core architecture, with distinct performance and efficiency cores. The smaller efficiency cores make it easier for more cores overall to fit onto the CPU die. 

These are, roughly speaking, the core and thread count for mainstream desktop processors from Intel i5. Mobile edition i5 processors have reduced core and thread counts, but you’ll see a very similar trend in those as well. 

The current best Core i5 processor, the i5-13600K, is the one with 14 cores and 20 threads. It outperforms the Ryzen 7 7700X (which is a Ryzen 7 processor, the AMD equivalent to Core i7) in multicore workloads, offering never-before-seen levels of workstation productivity at a relatively affordable price point. 

Jack is a Tech and News Writer who has a vast and proficient knowledge of CPUs, Motherboards, and Computer technology.

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