When Intel updated its Core processors to the second-generation, the company brought with it a new type of art to show what you were getting. With the latest generation now in its third version – also known as Ivy Bridge – Intel is changing that.

From what we hear, the company will not be modifying its system art to accommodate the new breed of processor, an upgrade that brings with it a performance increase to both the processing and graphics power while decreasing energy consumption.

Some companies – such as Apple – will be forcing the update to 3rd generation Intel processors on its line of computers, including the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro computers, while others will still have models available sporting the older technology launched in early 2011.

This can make for a slightly problematic situation at electronics and department stores, many of which will carry both new and slightly depreciated stock.

So here’s your lesson: before you go buy that new computer, ask whether it features a third-generation Intel Core processor.

If you’re concerned about the store clerk or salesperson not knowing the answer, ask them what model the chip is, beyond the Core i3, i5, and i7 designations.

Intel generation numbers are marked by the thousand number, so a chip that starts with a two (2) – such as the i3-2367M in Dell’s $799 Inspiron 14z Ultrabook – uses the older second-generation technology. Chip model numbers beginning with a three (3) – such as the i5-3317U in Dell’s new Inspiron 14z model – are a part of Intel’s third-gen technology with increased performance and lower power consumption.