Intel Tiger Lake-H Core i9-11980HK 'beats' AMD's 5900HX in first official benchmarks

Intel Tiger Lake-H
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel's Tiger Lake-H is the company's new family of power-minded processors for laptops, and after some post-CES teasing, the company has finally revealed its benchmarks and partners for this performance-focused mobile CPU.

Built on an evolved version of the 10-nanometer Willow Cove core microarchitecture found in existing Tiger Lake CPUs, these new H-series chips promise serious performance improvements that could potentially blow AMD's latest Ryzen 5000 CPUs out of the water. 

Intel Tiger Lake-H release date

This new H series of Tiger Lake processors are now at large, having been teased at CES and now released into the wild. 

Intel says it began shipping the chips to OEMs May 4th, noting that many of its partners started taking pre-orders on May 11th and shipping to customers on May 17th. Partners who have signed on to offer laptops with these latest H-series chips include Acer, Dell, Lenovo, Razer, HP, Gigabyte and more.

Intel Tiger Lake-H specs and performance

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ProcessorCores/ThreadsGraphics Base clock speedMax clock speed (single core)Max clock speed (all cores) Cache
Core i9-11980HK8/16Intel UHD Graphics 32EUs2.6GHz5.0GHz4.5GHz24MB
Core i9-11900H8/16Intel UHD Graphics 32EUs2.5GHz4.9GHz4.4GHz24MB
Core i7-11800H8/16Intel UHD Graphics 32EUs2.3Ghz4.6Ghz4.2GHz24MB
Core i5-11400H6/12Intel UHD Graphics 32EUs2.7Ghz4.5Ghz4.1GHz12MB
Core i5-11260H6/12Intel UHD Graphics 32EUs2.6GHz4.4GHz4.0GHz12MB

These new H-series 11th Gen Tiger Lake CPUs come in Core i5 through Core i9 variants, and all will ship with integrated Intel UHD graphics based on Intel's new Xe graphics architecture.

While pure speed is the focus of Intel's marketing around these chips, the company is also eager to point out that these Tiger Lake-H series CPUs support Thunderbolt 4 and Intel's gaming-focused Killer Wi-Fi 6E (Gig+) technology. 

Intel Tiger Lake-H

Intel's own benchmarks peg the 11th Gen Tiger Lake-H Core i9 CPU as delivering 5-15% better game performance over its 10th Gen predecessor (Image credit: Intel)

The heavy hitter in this group of chips is Intel's new Core i9-11980HK, an unlocked octocore CPU for laptops that clocks up to 5.0GHz on a single core (using Intel's Turbo Boost Max tehcnology) or 4.5GHz across all cores. 

Intel claims the Core i9-11980HK now delivers the world's fastest single-threaded performance on a laptop, though that's based only on the company's own in-house testing vs. the competition. Specifically, Intel claims that a pre-production OEM system built with a Core i9-11980HK delivered better framerates in games like Far Cry New Dawn and Hitman 3 than a Lenovo Legion R9000K with an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU, with both systems packing an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU. 

The new Core i9-11900H chip is a slight step down that offers very similar performance, though it's not unlocked and has slightly lower clock speeds than its bigger brother.

Intel-provided performance benchmarks of the most powerful H-series Core i9-11980HK w/ RTX 3080 vs. AMD's Ryzen 9 5900HX in a Lenovo Legion R9000K w/ RTX 3080 (Image credit: Intel)

The new Tiger Lake-H series Core i7 CPU (Core i7-11800H) packs the same 8 core/16 thread design of the Core i9 CPUs, but delivers lower clock speeds. Intel says to expect a max single-core clock speed of 4.6GHz and a multi-core max of 4.2GHz.

Filling out the lower end of this chip family are two Tiger Lake-H series Core i5 CPUs, the Core i5-11400H and the Core i5-11260H. Both are hexacore chips with base clock speeds of 2.7GHz/2.6GHz, respectively, and Intel says to expect max single-core speeds of 4.5GHz/4.4GHz and max multi-core speeds of 4.1GHz/4.0GHz.

All of these new chips come with 24MB of cache memory save the Core i5 variants, which each sport 12MB instead.

Intel-provided performance benchmarks of the most powerful H-series Core i5 w/ RTX 3060 MaxQ vs. AMD's Ryzen 9 5900HS in an Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 w/ RTX 3060 (Image credit: Intel)

Notably, all of these chips include Intel's latest integrated UHD Graphics technology, which is built on Intel's new Xe graphics architecture.

Intel also provided some internal benchmarks pitting the new Core i9-11980HK CPU against its 10th Gen predecessor (the Core i9-10980HK), with results of up to 5% more FPS in Far Cry New Dawn, 6% more FPS in Hitman 3, and up to 11% more FPS in Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege.

The company also provided some internal benchmarks evaluating the new top-line Tiger Lake-H CPU's performance in common content creation workflows. In video editing workflow tests using Adobe After Effects, Intel claims the Core i9-11980HK CPU was up to 20% faster than its predecessor, and up to 22% faster in photo editing workflow tests using Adobe Photoshop Elements. If documents and spreadsheets are more in your wheelhouse, know that in a Microsoft Office 365 workflow test the system sporting a new Core i9-11980HK CPU proved 14% faster than one with a 10th Gen Core i9-10980HK. 

Intel Tiger Lake-H laptops

As these new Tiger Lake H-series CPUs enter the market you should expect to see them appearing in more ultraportable laptops, as Intel says partners like Acer, Lenovo, Dell, HP, Razer, MSI and ROG are all expected to start shipping notebooks with Tiger Lake H-series CPUs in the near future. 

Intel Tiger Lake-H outlook

With these new Tiger Lake-H series chips Intel appears to have raised the ceiling for performance on its 11th Gen laptop CPUs, which is good news for anyone who likes to play games on the go. 

These new chips also promise significant improvements for those who use their laptops for video editing or other forms of CPU-intensive content creation, packing higher clock speeds in alongside Tiger Lake's support for PCIe 4.0 and Thunderbolt 4. 

What remains to be seen is whether or not real-world performance testing will support Intel's big claims about the performance capabilities of these new CPUs. We're also eager to see how they stack up against the latest AMD Ryzen CPUs, not to mention the beefy Apple M1 chip — though with a rumored Apple M2 chip in development, the mobile CPU market is poised to heat up in 2021. 

Alex Wawro
Senior Editor Computing

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.