Intel Celeron Processor Performance: Intel Celeron is a budget line of processors aimed at entry-level desktops and laptops. But how does Intel Celeron actually perform for real-world use cases? This detailed look at Celeron processor performance will examine single and multi-core speeds, benchmarks, ideal usage scenarios, and performance expectations to help you determine if Celeron meets your needs.
What is Intel Celeron?
Intel Celeron is a line of budget desktop and laptop processors introduced in 1998. Celeron CPUs are designed to offer adequate performance for basic computing tasks at the lowest possible price point.
Over the years, Intel has used Celeron branding for processors based on several different architectures, including Netburst, Core, and Atom. Modern Celeron chips are based on Intel’s low-power Core microarchitecture but have reduced features compared to Core i3/i5/i7 CPUs.
Some key attributes of Celeron processors:
- Low core count – Most Celeron CPUs have just 2 cores without hyper-threading. This limits multi-threaded performance.
- Low clock speeds – Base and boost clock speeds are kept low to reduce power draw. Single-thread performance lags well behind Core i3/i5.
- Small cache – Celeron CPUs have relatively small L2 and L3 cache sizes compared to other Intel processors. This hampers performance.
- No Turbo Boost – Celeron chips lack Intel’s Turbo Boost technology for dynamic clock speed increases.
- Lower TDP – The thermal design power (TDP) rating of Celerons tends to be quite low, around 10 to 15 watts for mobile chips and 35 to 58 watts for desktop variants.
History of Intel Celeron Processors
Intel launched the first Celeron processors in April 1998 based on the Netburst microarchitecture. The initial lineup was a derivative of Pentium II chips but with reduced L2 cache and lack of L2 cache lostipiao.
Over successive generations, Celeron evolved from the Pentium III, Pentium 4, Core 2 Duo, and Nehalem architectures, retaining the foundational microarchitecture but continuing to have cutdown featurecebrated ads to sell and feature sets.
Modern desktop Celeron CPUs first appeared with the Skylake and Kaby Lake platforms. For mobile, Intel introduced Celeron branding as part of the Apollo Lake platform in 2017. The latest 12th gen Alder Lake Celerons feature a hybrid architecture with both performance and efficiency cores.
Market Segment for Celeron Processors
Intel positions Celeron processors as an entry-level option for cost-sensitive buyers who need just enough performance for web browsing, office work, and other basic tasks. The low price point makes Celeron a popular choice for:
- Cheap home and school PCs – Celeron chips can save over $100 compared to Core i3 and provide decent web/office performance.
- Budget laptops – Celeron CPUs allow manufacturers to create laptops priced under $300. Intel offers Celeron specifically for low-end notebooks.
- Compact PCs – The low TDP enables small form factor and mini PCs to be passively cooled.
- Education Chromebooks – Celeron allows Chrome OS devices with basic web functionality at low cost.
For consumers needing more performance for serious gaming or content creation, Core i3 or Ryzen 3 is recommended over Celeron.
See the comparison between Celeron and Pentium for more context on positioning the Celeron family.
Intel Celeron Processor Performance (single-threaded and multi-threaded)
Let’s examine how Intel Celeron processors perform on single-threaded and multi-threaded workloads.
Most modern Celeron processors have base clock speeds in the 1.1 to 2.0 GHz range. Top turbo frequencies under full load are generally 200-300 MHz above the base clocks.
This level of clock speed is reasonably responsive for basic tasks but significantly lower than Core i3 and i5 models. Single-thread performance is also hampered by the very small L2 and L3 caches on Celeron chips.
Benchmarks show Celeron processors trailing well behind Core i3 and Ryzen 3 chips for desktop users. The impact is even more pronounced in notebooks where the low-power Celeron design sees large performance gaps against Core i3 mobile processors.
If your usage includes a fair amount of waited time from applications, Web pages or files opening, browsing through large spreadsheets, etc., a Core i3 or Ryzen 3 chip is recommended over Celeron.
With only two cores and no hyper-threading, Celeron processors are severely limited on multi-threaded workloads. Performance scaling is poor when trying to utilize both cores.
Benchmarks show even a low-cost quad-core Ryzen 3 easily outpacing a dual-core Celeron CPU for multi-tasking and parallel processing. The deficit is exaggerated further when Celeron is compared against modern hexa-core and octa-core processors.
If your use case involves having multiple apps open simultaneously, such as productivity software, web pages, streaming media etc., then Celeron is not recommended. Core i3 or Ryzen 3 and above will provide a much smoother overall system experience compared to an overtaxed dual-core Celeron.
Benchmarks Against Other Intel CPUs
Here is a comparison of Intel Celeron N5100 against other Intel CPUs in benchmarks:
|Processor||Cinebench R20 Single-core||Cinebench R20 Multi-core|
|Intel Celeron N5100||141||279|
|Intel Core i3-10100||274||893|
|Intel Core i5-10400||409||2194|
The Celeron N5100 has only about 30% of the single-thread performance and just 15% of the multi-thread performance of the Core i5-10400. This demonstrates the sizable performance gap between Celeron and Core series processors.
Typical Use Cases and Performance Expectations
Given its limitations, what exactly is the Intel Celeron processor good for? Here are some guidelines for typical Celeron use cases and the performance to expect:
For office tasks like document editing, email, web browsing, video conferencing etc, a Celeron system will work reasonably well. You can have multiple windows and tabs open without too much slowdown. Just don’t expect ultra-smooth multitasking and quick application launch times.
Very casual games like Minecraft, CS:GO, League of Legends etc. are playable on Intel integrated graphics at low resolution and settings. Popular AAA titles are out of the question for Celeron though. A discrete GPU will be required for moderate gaming.
Basic editing of 720p or 1080p video is possible on Celeron. Render times will be quite long and H.264 encoding speed is limited. For anything beyond simple cutting and splicing, a more capable chip is recommended.
Budget Laptop Experience
Due to the low-power optimized design, Celeron in a laptop provides decent battery life while keeping cost low. The trade off is lower performance, especially under heavy multitasking. Heat and noise could also be an issue.
Applications for Intel Celeron Processors
Where does Celeron fit best given its capabilities and limitations? Here are some of the most suitable applications for Intel Celeron processors currently available:
Basic Home and Office Tasks
For basic home and school PCs meant for web access, document editing, video chat, etc, the current Celeron lineup provides enough performance. The low price point allows building budget systems at around $250-$350.
While Celeron cannot run high-end games well, its integrated graphics suffice for playing esports titles like CS:GO, DOTA2, League of Legends at over 60 fps. The dual-core design also works for older AAA games or indie titles at low settings.
Student and Kids Laptops
Celeron CPUs are commonly found in laptops aimed at K-12 students and kids. The benefit is a lower cost laptop capable of satisfactory performance for education apps, online learning, typing papers, and light entertainment.
Celerons are a smart choice for compact mini PCs and desktops with their low TDP. Fanless designs are possible. A microPC with Celeron can easily deliver enough performance for home and office needs.
Celeron for Laptops
Let’s specifically discuss how Celeron performs in laptops, one of Intel’s major target segments for these processors.
Celeron CPUs are especially popular in low-cost notebooks under $300. Here Intel has to balance performance against battery life, heat, and noise which is a challenge for Celeron’s basic 2-core design.
In terms of productivity, a Celeron laptop will handle office tasks reasonably well but can feel slow with lots of browser tabs open or multiple apps running.
For media consumption, Celeron notebooks work adequately for streaming video. Just don’t expect great multitasking capabilities. Light gaming is also possible on some Celeron laptops depending on the integrated graphics.
Compared to a Core i3 laptop, you will definitely notice more sluggishness and waiting with a Celeron machine. But the lower cost can make it worthwhile for basic needs. Just stick with SSD storage over a hard drive.
Conclusion: Pros and Cons of Intel Celeron Processors
Pros of Intel Celeron:
- Extremely low cost
- Low power consumption enables passive cooling
- Integrated graphics sufficient for light gaming
- Reasonable productivity performance
- Good battery life in laptop implementations
Cons of Intel Celeron
- Very weak single and multi-core performance versus Core i3/i5
- Not suitable for demanding games or content creation
- Can feel sluggish with heavy multi-tasking
- Laptop versions run hot when stressed
Overall, Intel Celeron fills a niche delivering basic computing capability at the lowest possible price. It is a reasonable choice for low-demand use cases like school work, web browsing, and office productivity. For anything more intensive, we recommend looking at more capable processors from Intel or AMD.
So in summary, Celeron is decidedly entry-level but still relevant for certain use cases. When chosen carefully for a light-duty system, Intel Celeron processors can deliver good value for budget-minded buyers.