Intel Changed the Name of Its Dinkiest Processor and It Will Definitely Confuse You

One of those Core M processors now labeled Core i. (Image: Intel)
One of those Core M processors now labeled Core i. (Image: Intel)

Buying a laptop with Intel on the inside often boils down to two choices. Do you go with the potent Core i processor like the i5 or i7, or do you save some money (and battery life) and grab the super low powered Core M processor usually reserved for tiny tablets? Core i and Core M, despite both coming from Intel, are very different families of processors and provide very different services to a computer user. So it’s kind of bullshit that Intel, with the release of Kaby Lake, has quietly changed the name of two Core M processors (the m5 and m7) and is now calling them i5 and i7 processors.

Laptop Mag noticed the nomenclature change earlier today and rightfully called it out for being insanely confusing for consumers. Generally when you see a device is loaded with a i5 processor you know you’ll be able to edit photos, render video, and even do some light gaming with ease. Core m processors, like that m5 (now i5), tend to choke when asked to render video, and will handle photo edits much slower than a Core i processor.

So unless you’re looking at the very final letter in the processor’s name you’ll completely miss that you’re buying the significantly slower processor. Bad form Intel. I know you love your Core M products, but maybe try to move them without pulling one over on consumers?


For clarification: Core M processors hide the letter Y in their name and include the i7-7Y75, i5-7y54, and m3-7y30. Core i processors, the ones that will take the best advantage of Kaby Lake’s improvements, feature U somewhere in the name and include the i7-7500U, i5-7200U, and i3-7100U.

[Laptop Mag]

Senior Consumer Tech Editor. Trained her dog to do fist bumps. Once wrote for Lifetime. Tips encouraged via Secure Drop, Proton Mail, or DM for Signal.

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