A Buying Guide for Intel 3rd-Gen Core i5 Processors

If you are building one or more custom computers, need a replacement processor, or are choosing a motherboard with an LGA 1155 socket, then these items may provide a solution. These Intel Core CPUs are based on the Ivy Bridge microarchitecture, which has a die shrunk to 22 nanometers. Some of the features offered by these processors include four cores, PCI Express 3.0, and integrated graphics.

What is a third-generation Intel Core i5 processor?

Intel refines its CPU microarchitectures over time, and the term generation refers to the iteration. The third generation is Ivy Bridge, which succeeded Sandy Bridge. Intel made one dual-core version of the Core i5 in this generation, and it categorizes it as ultra-low power, because it has a thermal design power of 35 watts. It also offers one quad-core with this TDP. The bulk of these CPUs designed for desktop computers are categorized as either low or standard power, which have a TDP of 65 and 77 watts, respectively. Speeds or frequencies range from 2.3 GHz to 3.4 GHz.

What is the naming convention for these processors?

Each of the 17 CPUs in this series use the following naming convention: i5-xxxx(a). The four-digit number represents the product's power within a particular category. The 3550 and 3350, for instance, are both standard power, but the 3550 is faster both in its normal and turbo modes. The letter at the end of the name is optional. If present, it specifies a special characteristic. The letter:

  • K: Indicates an unlocked turbo multiplier.
  • S: Indicates lower-than-normal TDP for quad cores.
  • T: Indicates an even lower-than-normal TDP for quad cores.
  • P: Indicates that the integrated graphics processor is disabled.
Which socket is supported, and why does it matter?

All of the third-generation Intel Core i5 use the LGA 1155 socket. LGA stands for land grid array, which comprises the pins that connect the CPU to the chipset on the motherboard. This socket in particular has 1,155 pins, hence the name. These CPUs are incompatible with all other pin counts and LGA standards in general.

Do these i5 processors have integrated graphics?

Most do. The exception is the processors with a name ending in P. Those feature integrated graphics. This means that an integrated graphics processing unit or iGPU is present on the processor, and therefore a discreet video card is not required. The presence of an iGPU does not preclude discreet graphics, however. The iGPU is generally disabled automatically by the BIOS, and certain BIOS will allow the iGPU to augment the dedicated graphics adapter.

Content provided for informational purposes only. eBay is not affiliated with or endorsed by Intel.