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Intel 10th Gen H Series for laptops: Release date, specs and everything we know

Intel 10th Gen H-Series mobile processors
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel has its eye on gamers and content creation with its newly announced 10th-generation Intel Core Series-H mobile processors. With a range of new high-performance CPUs boasting faster clock speeds, more power per core and an expanded feature set, the new Core i5, Core i7 and Core i9 H-Series processors will bring desktop-caliber performance to gaming laptops and more power for content creation and streaming.

Among the many improvements Intel is touting for the new CPUs unveiled today (April 2), the new 10th-Gen H series promises better gaming performance, quicker responsiveness overall, higher top speeds and support for modern uses and features, such as 4K HDR streaming and integrated support for Wi-Fi 6.

But the biggest change is processor speed, with the 10th-Gen H-Series offering the first laptop-class processors that break the 5GHz barrier. With more than half of the six new CPUs offering these speeds, they're poised to deliver laptops with the higher framerates and lower latency that once demanded a desktop build.

Intel 10th Gen H-Series mobile processors

(Image credit: Intel)

Intel 10th Gen H-Series: Core i9-10980HK

At the top of the new H-Series pyramid is the Intel Core i9-10980HK, which boasts a beefy eight-core design, a maximum single-core clock speed of 5.3GHz, a 16MB smart cache and supports dual-channels of DDR4-2933 memory that can handle up to 128GB of RAM.

Intel 10th Gen H-Series mobile processors

(Image credit: Intel)

According to Intel this is their fastest mobile processor yet, and will be appearing in dozens of gaming laptops and performance-oriented systems, including more than 30 thin and light designs that are less than 20 mm thick.

With a base clock speed of 2.4GHz, the 5.3GHz available to a single core represents an enormous boost in power, and makes this CPU perfect for games that depend on high frequency, single thread performance. That capability is critical for top gaming performance, achieving low latency for graphics cards.

Intel 10th Gen H-Series mobile processors

(Image credit: Intel)

While Intel didn't have as many benchmark comparisons to share as usual, they did offer some numbers to illustrate the expected power increases the new CPUs will deliver. Compared to a comparable top-tier gaming laptop with an Core i7-7820HK (the height of mobile processor options three years ago), the new Core i9-10980HK produced markedly higher frame rates in several popular games, showing improvements ranging from 23% in Far Cry: New Dawn and Assassin's Creed Odyssey, and as much as 54% improvement in Red Dead Redemption 2.

Intel 10th Gen H-Series: Core i7 and Core i5

Intel is also touting its new Core i7 as being an ideal option for both creators and gamers. The new Intel core i7-10875H offers up to 5.1GHz of speed and an 8-core, 16 thread design that should offer broad support for both gaming and media creation.

Compared to a three year old Core i7-7700HQ, the new Core i7-10750H should offer better frame rates – as much as a 44% in Assassin's Creed Odyssey.

Intel 10th Gen H-Series mobile processors

(Image credit: Intel)

Two additional i7 models are also being announced, the Core i7-10850H and the 17-10750H. The Core i7-10850H is unique in this trio of i7 chips in that it is partially unlocked for overclocking — the other two new i7 CPUs are not.

Intel 10th Gen H-Series mobile processors

(Image credit: Intel)

Bringing up the low-end of the new H-Series models are two new Core i5 CPUs, the Core i5-10400H and the Core i5-10300H. These are quad-core processors, but with clock speeds of up to 4.6 and 4.5 GHz, respectively, they'll still offer decent performance for gaming and photo editing, along with day-to-day uses like streaming media and productivity tasks.

Intel 10th Gen H-Series: Beyond Gaming

Intel has also shared that as many as 50% of gaming laptop purchases are made not for gaming as a primary use but creative tasks such as video editing and content creation. As these creative applications become more prevalent, shoppers have learned that the higher performance provided by gaming systems meets their needs better than most mainstream laptops. 

To better meet these needs, Intel says it's partnering with well-known brands such as Acer, ASUS, Dell, Gigabyte, HP, Lenovo, MSI, and Razer to create a new category of high performance laptops that are geared toward these media creation tasks.

Those machines feature similar high-powered processors and GPUs, but will be more subdued than the standard gaming laptop, with less flashy designs, quieter fans and boasting features like color accurate displays.

Intel 10th Gen H-Series: New features and more power

Intel has a few other tricks up its sleeve for the new chips as well. Turbo Boost Max 3.0 isolates and optimizes the best performing cores in a CPU to deliver higher power, and the new Intel Speed Optimizer offers one-click overclocking for dead simple access to higher performance.

Intel 10th Gen H-Series mobile processors

(Image credit: Intel)

Entertainment needs are also bolstered, with improved support for video. The 10th-gen processors have 10-bit support for both HEVC and VP9, which will deliver smooth 4K streaming. You also get support for HDR (high dynamic range) content and Rec. 2020 for wider color gamut.

The new processors feature Wi-Fi 6 support, previously known as 802.11ax, ushering in broad support for the new wireless standard. Wi-Fi 6 routers are still relative newcomers to the market, and haven't become ubiquitous due to the lack of compatible Wi-Fi 6 devices. Built-in Wi-Fi 6 support from Intel’s new processors should usher in wider support for the new standard and provide better access to its many benefits.

The processors themselves are also packed with impressive capabilities, with up to 40 PCIe lanes for use with graphics cards, CPU attached storage, and raid storage rays. Support for Thunderbolt 3 comes built in, including 3,000 megabit per second data bandwidth and a capability to handle 4K resolution and power via a single cable.

Intel 10th Gen H-Series: Pricing and availability

While the rollout for these new chips has been slowed slightly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Intel still anticipates systems being available for pre-order starting today, with those systems on store shelves by mid-April. Pricing of H-Series-equipped systems was not announced, but should be available shortly.

COVID-19 is having one impact on the Intel 10th Gen H-Series launch. Normally, Intel supplies early benchmarks with its processor announcements, but those are not available this time around since the chips have been delayed coming from China. We will update this story as those comparison numbers are announced.