Intel Tiger Lake is the codename given to the latest range of laptop-grade chips from the computing giant. Now in their eleventh generation, the Core processor range offers a solid upgrade to a family of processors that have long been the mainstay slices of silicon for ultraportable laptops.
But stiff competition has come from the latest Ryzen 4000 mobile processors, meaning Intel’s Tiger Lake chips need to bring their A-game to the laptop world. They are now appearing in the latest laptops from the likes of Dell, Acer, Asus, and Lenovo.
Intel delivered impressive performance with the Ice Lake chips and their Iris Plus integrated GPUs. But the Tiger Lake chips come with Intel’s new Xe graphics, which promise a notable upgrade in graphical grunt. Here's everything we know about Intel Tiger Lake for laptops, including the CPU's release date, specs and more.
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.
Apple has made it clear that it’s moving away from Intel chips with the Apple Silicon initiative. That means it might be one of the few laptop makers that will avoid using the Tiger Lake-generation processors, if it manages to get its own ARM-based chips ready to for the next MacBook Air and new MacBook Pro models. We’d not be surprised if some MacBooks come with Intel chip options while the transition to Apple’s own silicon slices ramps up.
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.
In short, all the chips offer a performance upgrade over the Ice Lake family. Whether you’ll notice a big difference in processor performance outside of benchmarks is debatable, and we’ll have to try a few laptops with the new chips to see if Tiger Lake can boost everyday computing.
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
When Intel released the Ice Lake chips last year, within weeks new laptops started popping up with the new chips inside them. And we expect exactly the same with Tiger Lake.
For example, we heard back in June that the Acer Swift 5 will come with Tiger Lake CPUs, though Intel hasn't officially taken the covers off the processors at the time. And we know that MSI has a new professional range of laptops called the Summit range that will come with Tiger Lake CPUs.
One top of those that have been revealed, we’re expecting refreshes of the Dell XPS 13 and XPS 13 2-in-1 laptops to get the Tiger Lake treatment. And we’d also expect ultraportable laptops from the likes of Asus to come with 11th Gen chips, as well as refreshed versions of Lenovo’s ThinkPad and Yoga laptops.
We also have the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 tipped to get Core i5 and Core i7 Tiger Lake CPU options. And we’re interested to see how well the Xe graphics perform in the next Microsoft ultraportable.
Intel Tiger Lake outlook
Intel Tiger Lake’s big selling point will be its graphics acceleration upgrade. We’re hoping to see some genuine acceptable gaming performance from its integrated graphics. A lot of this will be down to driver optimization and how well heat is managed within thin and light laptops. As such, we’d be prepared to accept that early tests and results from Tiger Lake chips won’t blow us away on the graphics front.
And the same is likely to be true on the CPU side as Tiger Lake will deliver a performance upgrade on Ice Lake, but it’s unlikely to result in a night-and-day difference. As such, if you have a laptop with an Intel 10th Gen chip you’re probably not going to find it hugely compelling to upgrade to a Tiger Lake machine. But for those with older laptops, the upgrade is likely to be more profound.
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 play the wait-and-see card, but we’re quietly optimistic.