Over the years Intel has released a number of variations on their CPU’s and started some lines that have since faded out (does anyone remember the Core 2, Pentium Pro or DX Math coprocessor). So there is no mystery why many people find Intel’s current lines mysterious.
They just don’t know if an Atom is more powerful than an i7. This page provides a simple explanation of the differences between Intel’s 2015 and 2016 processor products. To the right is a simplified chart explaining the primary technical differences between current Intel CPU’s and below are very brief descriptions explaining each products history and application.
In 2014 Intel decided that there grain of rice sized processor intended for embedded hardware (cell phones, TV’s, monitoring equipment, …) had been misused by industry in very low spec tablets and so the name needed to be changed to help consumers appreciate that the new Atom CPU’s were different from their old Atoms. High powered Atom processors are now mostly branded as Celerons. Intel’s 2016
roadmap shows new Atom CPU’s with wireless networking LTE built in are coming and that leads us to think Atom will continue to drive into the mobile phone and phablet markets.
Historically Celeron was Intel’s low performance CPU based on two year old mainstream CPU’s, but in 2015 Celeron is really the new name Atom’s. Intel keeps refining the Atom processor, making it smaller and more powerful while at the same time continuing to make it smaller and producing less heat. These CPU’s are now called Celeron. You can easily tell if the CPU you are looking at is really a Atom simply by looking at the power consumption. If the CPU used less than 15 watts of power, it’s really an Atom. That is a good thing because these Celeron/Atom processors are very powerful; often more powerful than Core i3 CPU’s. Current generation Celerons do not use fans to cool them, which is a big deal for noise and battery life.
Intel now uses the Pentium brand to keep producing their old technology. They already paid for the technology design and the factories (what they call a ‘Fab’), so why not keep fabricating the old units. They often make minor (but annoying) modifications to their former Core series process