Things are getting hot in the laptop space. Is it time to upgrade our laptops along with our CPUs, GPUs, and game consoles this fall? Intel unveiled its 11th-Gen Tiger Lake platform yesterday with some pretty appealing specs.
The CPU giant has 9 new chips on the way, and it says the Tiger Lake platform is the “best CPU for thin-&-light laptops,” taking direct aim at AMD’s Ryzen 4000 mobile chips.
The fastest of the chips is the Intel Core i7-1185G7, which features 4 cores and 8 threads onboard. It has a 3.0 GHz base clock and turbos on a single core up to 4.8 GHz (4.3 GHz on all cores). The chip has Intel’s Iris Xe graphics onboard with 96 Execution Units (EUs), and runs at between 12 and 28 watts. At the bottom is the Core i3-1110G4. This CPU has 2 cores and 4 threads, 1.8 GHz base clock (3.9 boost on one or all cores), and uses Intel UHD graphics.
These chips are built on Intel’s 10nm SuperFin process, which the company says offers improved performance for reduced power draw. Intel offers some vague numbers to back this up, saying that these chips are 20% faster at performing “office tasks” but with 20% increase in “system level power,” amounting to more than an hour of extra battery life. That sounds great, but it offers us almost nothing objective to go off of.
Tiger Lake feature set
The Tiger Lake chips come along with Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt 4 support. The Iris Xe graphics are available only on the Core i5 and i7 chips, though, while the i3 chips use Intel UHD graphics. The Xe graphics offer support for up to 8K resolution (or four 4K HDR displays), if you really want to do that on a laptop for whatever reason. The chips also feature Intel’s AI engine, which it’ll use for things like blurring the background on video calls and the like.
Tiger Lake also signals the beginning of Intel’s new Evo branding. Evo is the latest incarnation of Project Athena, Intel’s laptop certification program, a program designed to help users know what a laptop actually offers in terms of things like battery life and features. This program is supposed to be more stringent than Project Athena. It requires nine-plus hour battery life on a single charge in real-world use on a 1080p laptop. It also requires Fast Charging (to the tune of four hours of battery life in 30 minutes). For features, Evo requires Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt 4, and it also requires system wake time of less than one second. This all sounds great, but Samsung’s gorgeous Galaxy Chromebook laptop was supposed to be Project Athena compliant and it really wasn’t. So take that with a grain of salt.
Intel says there are 150 Tiger Lake laptops on the way before the end of 2020 from makers like Lenovo, Asus, Dell, LG, and more, 20 of which are Evo-certified systems. We’re looking forward to seeing how Tiger Lake and Ryzen 4000 fare in real-world testing. Again, there’s a lot of new hardware this fall, and we want to know if we should be upgrading our laptops along with everything else.