Which core is Intel i5 processor?

Which core is Intel i5 processor? Let’s find out.

Updated: 21 February 2023 at 13.20

which core is an Intel i5 processor

Intel Core i5 processors provide users with reliable mid-range options that are a perfect match in terms of price and performance. So we have to ask: Which 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 lots of cores and threads. Today we’re talking about how many cores Intel i5 processors have and what that means for performance in real-world scenarios.

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

What are CPU Cores and Threads?

A core is a small, 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 handle two tasks at the same time, which increases the overall output significantly (but not 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 has upgrades over the last, and changes to the CPU’s core count are often part of such upgrades.

Core counts for i5 processors vary across generations and can even vary between processors belonging to the same generation, so it’s important to check the manufacturer’s website to know what you’re getting.

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

  • Generation 1: 2 cores, 4 threads. These processors were released way back in 2009 and are not really available anymore.
  • Generation 2-7: 4 cores, 4 threads. The iconic Core i5 quad-cores remained a premium 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 on second-hand marketplaces.
  • Generation 8 and 9: 6 cores, 6 threads. Intel gave their Core i5 line a much-needed upgrade to better compete with AMD’s Ryzen 5 CPUs, which had far more cores and threads and were starting to be seen as the preferred alternative to the 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 to become very adept at handling workstation and productivity workloads that they couldn’t do very well before.
  • Generation 12 and 13: Everything from 6 cores, 12 threads, to 14 cores, 20 threads. The 12th generation Core i5-12600 was the first i5 CPU to be built on a hybrid core architecture, with distinct performance and efficiency cores. The smaller efficiency cores make it easier for more cores overall to fit on the CPU die.

This is, roughly speaking, the core and thread count for common desktop processors from Intel i5. Mobile edition i5 processors have reduced the number of cores and threads, but you will see a very similar trend in these 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 of the Core i7) in multi-core workloads, offering never-before-seen levels of workstation productivity at a relatively affordable price.

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