Intel Tiger Lake is the latest generation of laptop processors from the renowned chipmaker. Based on an evolved version of the 10-nanometer process node found in the previous-generation Intel Ice Lake chips, Tiger Lake promises not only a boost in CPU performance but also comes with the company’s new XE graphics.
We are now seeing these 11th-gen chips pop up in increasing amounts of laptops. But they face stiff competition from the latest Ryzen 5000 mobile processors.
Intel delivered impressive performance with the Ice Lake chips that sported Iris Plus integrated GPUs. But with Intel’s new Xe graphics, Tiger Lake chips can deliver a notable upgrade in graphical grunt. With that in mind, here's everything we know about Intel Tiger Lake for laptops.
Intel Tiger Lake release date
Intel’s Tiger Lake processors are now out in the wild, having been revealed fully on September 2. Officially known as the Intel 11th Gen Core processors, the new family of chips come in Core i3, i5, and i7 variants and most have access to Intel’s new Xe integrated graphics, which promise a hike in GPU power over the Intel Iris Plus graphics in the 10th Gen Core chips.
At the reveal event, Tiger Lake-powered laptops were shown off, such as the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 5G and the Asus Expertbook 14. Some Tiger Lake laptops have already been released, such has the Asus ZenBook Flip S.
But Apple has made it clear that it’s moving away from Intel chips with the Apple Silicon initiative. And we've already seen the latest MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops ditch Intel processors in favor of the Apple M1 chip.
Intel Tiger Lake specs and performance
|Processor||Cores/Threads||Graphics||Base clock speed||Max clock speed (single core)||Max clock speed (all cores)||Cache||Power range|
|Core i7-1185G7||4/8||Intel Iris Xe 96 EUs||3.0GHz||4.8GHz||4.3GHz||12MB||12-28W|
|Core i7-1165G7||4/8||Intel Iris Xe 96 EUs||2.8GHz||4.7GHz||4.1GHz||12MB||12-28W|
|Core i5-1135G7||4/8||Intel Iris Xe 80 EUs||2.4Ghz||4.2Ghz||3.8GHz||8MB||12-28W|
|Core i3-1125G4||4/8||Intel UHD Graphics 48 EUs||2.0Ghz||3.7Ghz||3.3GHz||8MB||12-28W|
|Core i3-i3-1115G4||2/4||Intel UHD Graphics 48 EUs||3.0GHz||4.1GHz||4.1GHz||6MB||12-28W|
|Core i7-1160G7||4/8||Intel Iris Xe 96 EUs||1.2GHz||4.4GHz||3.6GHz||12MB||7-15W|
|Core i5-1130G7||4/8||Intel Iris Xe 96 EUs||1.1GHz||4.0GHz||3.4GHz||8MB||7-15W|
|Core i3-1120G4||4/8||Intel UHD Graphics 48 EUs||1.1GHz||3.5GHz||3.0GHz||8MB||7-15W|
|Core i3-1110G4||2/4||Intel UHD Graphics 48 EUs||1.8GHz||3.9GHz||3.9GHz||6MB||7-15W|
Intel Tiger Lake chips build upon the 10nm process node that the Ice Lake CPUs introduced last year. But this time the chips come with improved CPU - more than a 20 percent hike - and two times the GPU performance, courtesy of the new Intel Iris Xe graphics.
Much like Ice Lake, the Tiger Lake laptop chips are split into two families, one for ultraportable laptops that want to tread the line between sustained performance nad power consumption, and another for thin-and-light laptop that don’t need as much performance all the time but need to spend a long time away from a power source.
With Tiger Lake, Intel is sticking with the same Core i7, i5, and i3 configurations. But these will vary in clock speed, graphics performance, and thermal design power (TFP) depending on where they sit in the Tiger Lake lineup.
Top of the pack is the Core i7-1185G7, a quad-core, eight-thread CPU that clocks up to 4.8GHz on a single core and 4.3GHz across all cores. With 12MB of cache memory this is the most powerful Tiger Lake CPU. It also comes with the most powerful Xe graphics accelerator, sporting 96 execution units (EUs), which is nearly double that of the top-end Ice Lake Iris Plus GPU, which has 64 EUs. The Core i7-1165G7 is pretty much the same but with slightly slower clock speeds.
The Core i5-1135G7 comes with the same four-core, eight-thread design of it’s Core i7 siblings, but has a max single-core clock speed of 4.2GHz and multi-core speed of 3.8GHz. It comes with 8MB of cache and its Xe graphic sports 80 EUs. Expect this chip to be a mainstream part for the likes of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4.
All three of these chips come with support for LPDDR4x-4266 memory and come with a power draw that ranges between 12-28W.
The Core i3-1125G4 is pretty similar to its Core i5 counterpart only it doesn't have the Iris Xe graphics and instead uses Intel UHD Graphics. It also supports LPDDR4x-3733 RAM and only hits 3.7GHz on a single core and 3.3GHz on all four cores. It has a dual-core, quad-thread sibling in the form of the Core i3-1115G4, which comes with 6MB of cache memory and runs up to 4.1GHz on both its cores. Both these chips also have a 12-28W power draw.
3DMARK 11i7-1165G7 (new score)VS AMD Ryzen 7 4800U pic.twitter.com/lc0gAehZ3rJune 4, 2020
For laptops with lower performance needs, Tiger Lake has four chips with a power range of 7W to 15W. The Core i7-1160G7 and Core i5-1130G7 are both quad-core, eight-thread chips with Iris XE graphics with 96 EUs. And the Core i7 has 12MB of cache while the Core i5 has 8MB. But as the chips have a lower TDP than the ones above, they will only hit top speeds of 4.4GHz and 4GHz on a single core respectively.
The Core i3-1120G4 has a similar story only it uses Intel UHD Graphics and maxes out at 3.5GHz. The dual-core, four-thread Core i3-1110G4 is the weakest chip, with 6MB of cache and a top speed of 3.9GHz. All four chip support LPDDR4x-4266 RAM.
Intel Tiger Lake graphics
It’s on the graphics font that the Tiger Lake chips really come into their own, at least the ones with the new Iris Xe integrated GPUs. Based on Intel Xe-LP architecture, the new GPUs deliver two times the graphics performance of the Iris Plus GPUs in the Ice Lake chips.
Ice Lake chips topped out at 64 EUs while the top-end Tiger Lake chips have an Xe GPU with 96 EUs. In our experience, Iris Plus could just about run some modern games, albeit with some severe lowering of settings and rather weak frame rates. But Iris Xe can apparently run modern games at 1080p resolution and at playable frame rates.
Intel showed off a video of someone playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on an ultraportable with Iris Xe graphics. And games like Hitman 2, Far Cry New Dawn and Borderlands 3 will all be playable at 1080p. Intel didn’t say what setting such games would be running, but they appeared to be delivering acceptable graphics’ expect to game at 30 frames per second not 60fps in demanding game.
Intel also claimed that Iris Xe beats the integrated graphics of the AMD Ryzen 7 4800U, which comes with Radeon graphics. And Iris Xe also outperforms laptops with Nvidia’s MX350 discrete GPU when paired with a 10th Gen Intel Core processor. Now these are going by Intel’s own benchmarks, so we’d need to do our own testing to see if Iris Xe holds up to Intel’s claims, though the signs are positive.
All this means that if you get an ultraportable laptop with a Tiger Lake chip that comes with the most powerful Iris Xe graphics accelerator, you’ll be able to do a bit of modern 1080p gaming. Such laptops aren’t going to replace a dedicated gaming machine, but they give thin and light machines a bit more power and flexibility. And for people who do a bit of video or photo editing on the go, the boost in integrated graphics could be a boon.
Intel Tiger Lake laptops
As Intel Tiger Lake chips are released into the wild, we can expect to see them arrive in more ultraportable laptops from the likes of Dell, Acer, Asus, MSI and Microsoft.
The Dell XPS 13 for example, has received a Tiger Lake upgrade bringing in boosted Core i5 and Core i7 processors to the stellar little laptop, as well as access to the new Xe graphics. And the Razer Blade 13 has also got a Tiger Lake upgrade along with the new productivity-centric Razer Book 13.
Intel Tiger Lake outlook
Intel Tiger Lake chips are becoming more prolific as laptop makers undergo their late-year refresh cycles, with more machines coming with Core i5 and Core i7 slices of silicon with Intel’s Xe graphics onboard.
And so far, these chips have been reasonably well-received, though they’ve yet to set a new paradigm for laptop performance.
However, as more laptop makers make the jump to Tiger Lake we could see optimizations in design and drivers that really allow Intel’s new silicon to sing. For the time being, we’ll have to keep playing the wait-and-see card, but we’re quietly optimistic.