Nine Tiger Lake configurations will be available, ranging from the dual-core Core i3-1110G4 with a 1.8GHz base frequency to the quad-core Core i7-1185G7. Some will feature the company’s upgraded Xe integrated graphics.
Intel’s next-generation Tiger Lake processors, unveiled this week, will bring refined artificial intelligence processing and dramatically improved graphics performance to new premium ultraportable laptops this fall.
A total of nine Tiger Lake configurations will be available, ranging from a dual-core Core i3-1110G4 with a 1.8GHz base frequency, to a quad-core Core i7-1185G7 with a maximum boost speed of 4.9GHz and Intel’s brand-new on-CPU graphics processor, Intel’s Iris Xe.
Intel expects these chips to show up in more than 150 new and existing laptop designs from companies such as Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo this fall. Some, including new Yoga models from Lenovo, have already been announced, and more manufacturers are expected to unveil new Tiger-Lake based designs this week during the IFA trade show in Berlin, traditionally fertile ground for new PC launches.
Tiger Lake Specifics: 9 New CPUs for Light Laptops
Intel claims that the new Tiger Lake processors, part of the 11th-generation Core family code-named “Willow Cove,” will offer more than a generational leap in capabilities compared with the 10th-generation Core chips they replace. All of the Tiger Lake processors unveiled this week are U-series chips destined for thin-and-light laptops. Here’s a breakout of the initial Tiger Lake processors, provided by Intel:
The chips range from Core i3 to Core i7 offerings. Intel typically releases new CPU families multiple times each year, and with Tiger Lake, these new U-series laptop processors are coming in the late summer or early fall. Based on past cadences, Intel is also likely to release more powerful H-series versions of Tiger Lake chips, designed for thicker gaming laptops, power laptops, and workstations, although those haven’t been announced yet. The 10th-generation “Comet Lake-H” versions of those chips will remain current for now.
Tiger Lake chips are “a major leap forward in real-world processor performance and are the best laptop processors we have built,” said Gregory Bryant, Intel EVP and general manager of the Client Computing Group. Part of the advantage will come from new AI capabilities—such as Intel’s Neural Accelerator 2.0—that let advanced software applications use the available processing power more efficiently.
Depending on the app, these capabilities could more than double the performance that some users experience. Intel claims photo editing will be up to 2.7 times faster than comparable processors from other companies, while video editing will be up to twice as fast. Meanwhile, general office productivity tasks will see a less dramatic 20 percent improvement that is more in line with the gains expected from one processor generation to the next.
Power efficiency will also see a 20 percent improvement, Intel says, which could translate to an additional hour of battery life under common scenarios like streaming videos.
Intel Iris Xe Graphics to Boost Gaming
Some of the most intriguing improvements on the higher-end Tiger Lake processors equipped with the new Intel Iris Xe graphics processor relate to gaming and GPU acceleration. The Xe graphics silicon in the higher-end 11th-generation CPUs replaces the current Gen 11 Iris graphics found in the upper-tier chips in Intel’s 10th-generation “Ice Lake” mobile CPUs, and it promises a doubling of graphics performance while playing games like Borderlands 3, Far Cry New Dawn, and Hitman 2 at a 1080p resolution.
Last month, Intel teased a beta version of Xe technology that could run titles like Doom Eternal and Battlefield 1 smoothly at high graphics settings, something the integrated graphics in current 10th-gen chips struggle to handle.
Iris Xe-equipped Tiger Lake processors will also offer better power management. Silicon engineers typically opt for either better graphics performance with similar power consumption as the previous generation, or the same performance while eating up less power. Iris Xe can do either one, depending on how the laptop manufacturer implements it. Intel’s Battlefield 1 demonstration last month compared a 15-watt Xe chip against a current Iris-based 25-watt chip, with comparable results.
As alluded to above, not all Tiger Lake SKUs will feature Iris Xe integrated graphics. Some of the lower-end models will come with the current Gen 11-based Intel UHD Graphics.
Project Athena, Meet Evo
With so many code names, one for each part of its processor design, Intel has long pursued simplified ways of presenting its chip technology to the laptop-buying public. Its most recent, the Project Athena certification program, is designed to signal quality ultraportable laptops with long battery life and the most up-to-date processor technology.
Intel is now adding a new category with a new code name to the Athena certification program. The new Evo moniker will signify that a laptop has a new 11th-gen Tiger Lake Core processor and Iris Xe graphics. In addition, Evo-certified laptops with 1080p screens will also need to have the ability to wake from sleep in less than a second, deliver nine or more hours of battery life, and be able to gain four hours of battery life from a 30-minute charge.
Evo-certified laptops will also have support for Thunderbolt 4 and the latest PCI Express Gen 4 bus technology, which can speed up certain storage drives.
Intel introduced the Athena concept last year in the face of new competition from rivals AMD and Qualcomm, which have each introduced new laptop processors that claim to outperform Intel’s technology in various aspects
Persistent delays in Intel’s research and development have favored AMD in particular, whose latest Ryzen 4000 laptop CPUs are based on a more advanced 7-nanometer (7nm) processor architecture. Both 10th-gen and 11th-gen Intel Core processors use an older 10nm architecture, and Intel is now saying its own 7nm technology won’t be ready for at least another year.