Pentium and Celeron CPUs are dead – but Intel N-series could save budget laptops

Graphic of Intel N-series CPU shown at CES 2023
(Image credit: Intel)

At CES 2023, currently taking place in Las Vegas, Intel took to the stage to reveal the processors that will be powering the next generation of budget laptops, known as the Intel Processor N-series.

This follows Intel killing off its Pentium and Celeron brands late last year, and the new chips will feature in entry-level computers, including laptops and Chromebooks.

The new series includes an Intel Core i3 chip, which is aimed at people who want a device that is a bit more powerful than the standard N-series, but still affordable – such as students.

According to Intel, the new N-series offers up to 28% better performance and 64% better graphics performance than the previous generation – while the i3 CPU brings an additional 42% performance uplift and an extra 56% graphics performance improvement.

Analysis: Could be good news for budget laptops


(Image credit: Future)

Intel Processor N-series-powered laptops will apparently have up to 10 hours of battery life, which is impressive on paper, but Chromebooks using rival ARM architecture have been easily passing 10 hours on battery for a while now.

Computers with the new Intel chips will benefit from the latest connectivity features, including Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, as well as new efficient ‘Gracemont’ cores and support for LPDDR5, DDR5, and DDR4 memory.

These are the following N-series processors Intel unveiled:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
N-series processors
Processor nameCoresThreadsMax Turbo freqPower
Intel Core i3-N305883.8GHz15W
Intel Core i3-N300883.8GHz7W
Intel Processor N200443.7GHz6W
Intel Processor N100443.4GHz6W

In this current climate, it’s good to see companies working on new products for the budget market (take note, Nvidia). 

Many people simply can’t afford expensive devices at the moment, but that doesn’t mean they have to put up with sub-par performance, so we’ll be keen to try out laptops with Intel’s new processors to see if they can live up to the promises. Intel’s previous Pentium and Celeron CPUs were more often than not associated with poor performance as well as low prices – probably why Intel decided to drop those brands. The company, however, will want to make sure the new N-series CPUs don’t suffer the same fate.

According to Intel, we should have plenty of devices to try, with over 50 products running either Windows or Chrome OS expected in 2023 from the likes of Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Asus.

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Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.