Understanding Model Numbers
As you can see in the previous table, Intel has now replaced all of their newer processors with model numbers instead of just the clock speed. According to Intel, this was done in order to help consumers better recognize the product they are purchasing and it is meant to allow users to quickly differentiate a product based on its features using a model number scheme. In the past, users often only look at processor speed as a gauge of performance but we know that a lot more features have been poured into these processors to make them run more efficient.
For example, when the Pentium 4 was introduced with Hyper-Threading (HT) technology, certain processor speeds possessed the technology while others are based on the older core and they do not support this technology. While some processors with lower clock speeds had HT technology, it does not necessarily mean that its performance was poorer than a faster Pentium 4 processor without HT technology. This quickly became a source of confusion to consumers as processor clock speed can no longer be used as a yardstick to measure its performance.
As Intel begins to add more features to the processor, such as upcoming technologies like LaGrande Technology for security and Vanderpool Technology for virtualization, there was a need to ensure that these feature sets can be quickly recognized at the product name level so that consumers can quickly make an informed buying decision. This is the reason why Intel has decided to do away with processor frequency and used a model numbering scheme to better depict the processor's performance. The model number was composed based on the following attributes :-
Composition of a Processor Number
||Basic design of a microprocessor. May include process technology and/or
other architectural enhancements.
||A temporary storage area for frequently accessed or recently accessed
data. Having certain data stored in a cache speeds up the operation of the
computer. Cache size is measured in megabytes (MB) or kilobytes (KB).
|Clock Speed (GHz/MHz)
||Speed of the processor's internal clock, which dictates how fast the processor
can process data. Clock speed is usually measured in GHz (gigahertz, or
billions of pulses per second).
|Front Side Bus (GHz/MHz)
||The connecting path between the processor and other key components such
as the memory controller hub. FSB speed is measured in GHz or MHz.
|Other Intel Technologies
||As Intel processors evolve and advance over time, Intel will integrate
new feature technologies and capabilities that may increment the processor
Numbers with three-digit numerical sequences such as 7xx, 5xx, or 3xx will be used to categorize Intel's processor families. Within each of these number sequence, you'll find specific processor numbers such as 735, 560, or 320. These number will refer to more than just the processor's clock speed, but a broader set of features (see table above) that influence the overall user experience. To get you familiar with the various numerical sequences, we have here a list of processor families corresponding to the number sequence.
Processor Families and Their Number Sequence
|Intel® Pentium® M processor
|Intel® Pentium® M processor Low Voltage (or LV)
|Intel® Pentium® M processor Ultra Low Voltage (or ULV)
|Intel® Pentium® 4 processor (including the Intel® Pentium®
4 processor with HT Technology)
|Mobile Intel® Pentium® 4 processor (including the Mobile Intel®
Pentium® 4 processor with HT Technology)
|Intel® Celeron® D processor
|Intel® Celeron® M processor
|Intel® Celeron® M processor Ultra Low Voltage (or ULV)
Basically, mobile Pentium M processors have been designated the 7xx series while Pentium 4 has been given the 5xx series. Celeron parts will occupy the 3xx series. Note that the number series here were used only to differentiate between processor families and they do not mean that Pentium M processors are faster than Pentium 4, and neither does it mean that Pentium M processors have far more feature sets than the Pentium 4. Thus, although Pentium M processors have a higher number sequence than a Pentium 4, it doesn't indicate more than just a differentiation of product family.
However, within the same processor family, the number sequence would serve to differentiate processors with different feature sets, architecture, front side bus, cache and clock speed. Generally, a processor with a higher model number (e.g. 560 vs. 520) usually indicates one or more of the factors we've mentioned above. In this case, we're looking at the difference in clock speed (3.60GHz vs. 2.80GHz). However, one should never assume that a higher number would simply mean better features, as in some cases, a higher number processor may potentially have more of one feature and less of another.
We recommend that you check the specifications of the processor before you proceed to purchase them so that you would get what you want. The processor numbers shown in the first page are still in its infancy and they are pretty easy to remember and decipher. However, as Intel begins to roll out more products, the model number may get a little confusing. When that happens, always check Intel's product website to ensure that you've selected the right processor based on your usage needs. However, with the processor number, it's now much easier to remember what you need as you just need to quote the number and you'll get the exact processor that you want. No more messy suffixes tagged with the processor frequency (e.g. 'A', 'B', 'C' or 'E').