How To Check What Laptop Generation You Own

Intel has been dominating the laptop market for years with its Core series of processors. From the looks of it, the currently available 9th and the upcoming 10th are bound to solidify the series’ position even further.

How To Check What Laptop Generation You Own

If you’re trying to sell your laptop or are looking to upgrade, it is very important to gather as much info about its processor as you can. Aside from the frequency, you should also obtain the name of the model and its generation.

Some operating systems make it easier to get the key CPU info than the others. In this article, we’ll take a look at the three major ones – Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

Intel Processor Naming Conventions

With the introduction of the Core series of processors, Intel also adopted a set of naming conventions and rules. Nine generations and more than ten years later, the rules still apply. Let’s see how to identify an Intel Core processor.

Intel Core

For example, your laptop might be powered by the Intel Core i7–7920HQ. The i7 designation is what Intel refers to as the brand modifier and it tells you what major type of Intel Core processor you have. Up until the 9th generation, i7 was the flagship section, made for top-of-the-line machines.

Let’s examine the 7920 numerical designation. The number 7 in the first position means that your processor belongs to the 7th generation. Number 6 means that it is a 6th generation processor, number 5 that it is a 5th generation model, while the processors with three-digit numerical designations belong to the first generation. Models of the latest 9th generation have number 9 in the first position.

The remaining three digits are the processor’s SKU numeric digits. In this case, the processor in your imaginary laptop is the 920, the top one in the Performance section of the Kaby Lake Mobile processor division.

Some processors also have letter suffixes attached to them. In the examined case, the processor has letters H and Q at the end. This particular abbreviation is used to denote quad-core mobile and laptop processors with high-end onboard graphics.

Intel Core’s mobile division processors can also have a range of other suffixes. Here are some of the most common and an explanation of what they mean:

  1. H stands for high-end graphics.
  2. HK suffix is added to unlocked processors with high-end graphics.
  3. U means ultra-low power and can be found on weaker machines.
  4. Y means extremely low power, also used for low-end machines.
  5. M is for Mobile. This designation was used up to 4th generation.
  6. MQ designates a mobile quad-core processor, also used up to 4th generation.
  7. MX stands for Mobile Extreme Edition. Used up to 4th generation.

The 5th generation also featured a line of processors that used the letter M instead of i. These were made for low-performance machines. The 7th generation only had M3 processors. Afterwards, the M division was discontinued.


If you have a Windows laptop, determining your Intel processor’s generation is more than easy. Windows readily shows all the important system info to its users. Just follow these simple steps.

Note: This method applies to laptops running Windows 10.

  1. Double-click on the This PC icon on the Desktop.
  2. Right-click on the This PC icon in the menu on the left side of the window.
    Right Click on This PC
  3. Select the Properties option from the drop-down menu.
  4. The laptop will then display the system info, including the Processor generation and model.

The System window on older Windows versions also displays the processor model and generation, though the path to it might vary from generation to generation.


Mac users have it a little tougher when it comes to the generation of the processor installed under their laptop’s hood. Apple is notoriously secretive about the components it installs in its devices, Macs included. Nonetheless, here’s how to hunt down the processor inside your Mac.

  1. Open About This Mac and read the available system info. The info about the processor will most likely only contain the model. Find when was your Mac made and what model it is.
  2. Launch your browser and go to the Every Mac
  3. There, click the By Processor tab and the All Processors link in it.
  4. Scroll down the list to find your Mac. On the right side of your Mac’s model name will be the full name of the installed processor.
    MacBook Pro

If you don’t mind using Terminal on your Mac, you can search for the processor info there. Let’s see how it’s done.

  1. Launch Terminal on your Mac.
  2. Run this command: sysctl machdep.cpu.brand.string. The output should show you the full model name of the processor installed in your Mac.
  3. Alternatively, you can find out the processor info using this command: sysctl machdep.cpu.

Note: There is no need to include the full stop at the end of the command.


Linux users shouldn’t flinch at the mention of Terminal, as they should be the most acquainted with it of all the major OS users. If you’re running Linux on your Laptop, your CPU’s generation and model info are just one command away. Let’s see how to get them.

  1. Launch Terminal.
  2. Execute the following command: $ cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep ‘model name’ | uniq.
  3. Terminal will then list the full name of the processor under the laptop’s hood.
    Linux Penguin

With a few more terminal commands, you can get such info as the exact architecture of the CPU, number of threads per core, number of cores per socket, and more. Frequency information is also one command away.

Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation

A 4th generation i5 processor is a completely different processor from its 7th generation counterpart. Though they might have similar frequency, their performance is almost incomparable.

Therefore, it is important to know the generation your processor belongs to. That way, you’ll have a much clearer idea of what you’re looking to upgrade to or what you’re selling.

Do you know other ways to find the CPU info? If we’ve missed some, let us know in the comments below.

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