Intel Unveils 11th Gen Tiger Lake 10nm Core CPUs With Next-Gen Xe GPU – Taking The Fight To AMD In The Notebook Segment

Sep 2
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Today, Intel officially launches its 11th Generation Tiger Lake processors featuring a brand new CPU and GPU architecture. The Intel Tiger Lake CPUs are based on the company's latest 10nm++ process node which offers improved performance efficiency than 10th Gen Ice Lake processors.

Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake CPUs With 10nm++ Willow Cove & Xe Architecture Official - Compete Directly Against AMD's Ryzen 4000 Renoir APUs

The Intel Tiger Lake CPUs will be branded under the 11th Generation Core family branding. There have been several leaks regarding the family but today is the day that Intel finally unveils it all for the public. The Intel Tiger Lake 11th Generation CPUs are focused on the mobility space and also adopt an entirely brand new look and feel. There is a lot to talk about so let's get started.

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A few highlights of today's launch (via Intel):

  • Intel launches 11th Gen Intel Core processors with Intel Iris Xe graphics, the world’s best processors for thin-and-light laptops, delivering up to 2.7x faster content creation, more than 20% faster office productivity, and more than 2x faster gaming plus streaming in real-world workflows over competitive products.
  • Intel Evo platform brand introduced for designs based on 11th Gen Intel Core processors with Intel Iris Xe graphics and verified through the Project Athena innovation program’s second-edition specification and key experience indicators (KEIs).
  • More than 150 designs based on 11th Gen Intel Core processors are expected from Acer, Asus, Dell, Dynabook, HP, Lenovo, LG, MSI, Razer, Samsung, and others.

Intel's 10nm SuperFin & SuperMIM Design For Tiger Lake

The Intel Tiger Lake CPUs are based on the 10nm++ process node and feature the company's latest Willow Cove cores. The Willow Cove core architecture is based on the same foundations as the last generation Sunny Cove architecture. It can be seen as a refinement of Sunny Cove in all of the ways possible but at the same time, Willow Cove cores also feature a redesigned chip hierarchy for faster performance throughput.

The 10nm++ process node is being termed by Intel as the 10nm SuperFin transistor design. Intel itself claims that the SuperFin process delivers the same uplift in performance as a proper node shrink.

The SuperFin design leverages the FinFET architecture by delivering an improved gate process, additional gate pitch, and enhanced expiation source/drain. In addition to the SuperFin design, there's also the SuperMIM capacitors which deliver an increment of 5x to the MIM (metal-insulator-metal) capacitance and reduce the overall capacitor resistance by 30%. Intel also points out that its SuperFin and SuperMIM design is an essential technology to uplift performance & add innovations such as enhanced interconnects for data centers. It is likely that Intel's Ice Lake-SP is going to use a similar fabrication process to deliver higher throughput.

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Intel stated that it had achieved around 17-18% performance uplift over the standard 10nm process node featured on 10th Generation Ice Lake chips while delivering much faster frequencies. Now that's a huge claim, one that can only be tested when the actual CPU is in the hands of testers but this more or less points out that Intel is confident that its 10nm process will be able to match or even exceed TSMC's 7nm process node which is used on the competing AMD Ryzen 4000 'Renoir' APUs.

Intel's 10nm Willow Cove CPU & Xe GPU Cores For Tiger Lake

The next two key technologies for Intel's Tiger Lake processors are its CPU & GPU core technologies which are powered by Willow Cove and Xe. The Intel Willow Cove architecture is the second newest architecture based on the 10nm process node with the first one being Sunny Cove for Ice Lake CPU generation.

The Willow Cove cores are expected to deliver a double-digit IPC gain over Sunny Cove cores. The Willow Cove cores feature a brand new cache design with 1.25 MB of L2 cache and 3 MB of L3 per core.  Along with the new cores, we will get cache redesigns as stated above, new transistor-level optimizations, and enhanced security features. One of the key features pointed out for Willow Cove is that it will feature much higher frequencies than Sunny Cove cores at lower voltages.

Intel will also be featuring their Xe GPUs on Tiger Lake chips which would deliver a 2x increase in perf over the Gen 11 GPU featured currently on Ice Lake chips. The Intel Xe graphics architecture will be featuring 96 Execution units or 768 cores along with 3.8 MB of L3 cache. These are just tiny details we know at the moment but can expect more to be presented by Raja himself on the 17th of August for the Xe graphics engine.

Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake CPU Block Diagram

Coming to the newly unveiled details, Intel has presented both a block diagram and a die shot of its Tiger Lake CPUs. The block diagram mentions everything that is new over Ice Lake chips & also the parts which have been kept the same.

First, let's take a look at the similarities between Ice Lake and Tiger Lake CPUs. There are a few that include the DDR4 memory controller which supports 3200 MHz speeds with up to 64 GB capacities. Other controllers such as SGX, Fuse, JTAG, SVID, and OPIO are also similar to the ones used on the Ice Lake chips. The display USB Type-C controller also includes DP 1.4 which was also featured last gen.

Tiger Lake CPUs have only a few blocks that are kept similar to Ice Lake. The rest of the chip is all brand new and that can clearly be seen in the block diagram. The major new additions to Tiger Lake CPUs are the Willow Cove cores, Xe LP graphics, and media engine, 12 MB of L3 (last-level cache), a new display engine with support for 8K display (4 pipelines/ 64 GB/s read bandwidth), IPU6 with 6 camera sensors (video up to 4K90, initially at 4K30) and added support for LPDDR5 memory with speeds of up to 5400 MHz (32 GB capacities). The rest of the blocks have received major and minor upgrades over Ice Lake.

Intel Tiger Lake vs AMD Renoir Mobility CPU Comparisons:

CPU Family NameIntel Tiger Lake-UAMD Renoir U-Series
Family BrandingIntel 11th Gen Core (U-series)AMD Ryzen 4000 (U-Series)
Process Node10nm++7nm
CPU Core ArchitectureWillow CoveZen 2
CPU Cores/Threads (Max)4/88/16
Max CPU Clocks4.8 GHz (Core i7-1185G7)4.2 GHz (Ryzen 7 4800U)
GPU Core ArchitectureXe Graphics EngineVega Enhanced 7nm
Max GPU Cores96 EUs (768 cores)8 CUs (512 cores)
Max GPU Clocks1350 MHz1750 MHz
TDP (cTDP Down/Up)15W (12W-28W)15W (10W-25W)
LaunchMid 2020March 2020

Intel Tiger Lake CPU SKUs - Core i7-1185G7 With Up To 4.8 GHz Clocks

The Intel Tiger Lake CPU family is made up of a total of 9 SKUs, 7 of which will be available this year, and two more variants that will be available next year. The standard variants feature 4 cores and 8 threads and there will also be two 2 core and 4 thread variants. The flagship model is the Core i7-1185G7 which features 4 cores and 8 threads with 5 MB of L2 and 12 MB of L3 cache. The CPU will come with TDPs of 12-28W (Configurable) and feature a base clock of 3.0 GHz, a single-core boost of 4.8 GHz, and an all-core boost clock of 4.3 GHz. The CPU will ship with the Iris Xe GPU with 96 EU or 768 cores that will be operating at a clock speed of 1350 MHz.

All G7 variants feature consistent specifications and come in 7/12/15/28W TDPs with the major differences being the clock speeds. Certain G7 models will feature 80 EU GPUs while the G4 CPUs will house just 48 EUs. Following is the complete specifications list for the Intel Tiger Lake 11th Gen CPU family.

Intel 11th Generation Tiger Lake CPU Specs Official:

CPU NameCPU ArchitectureCores/ThreadsBase ClockBoost ClockCacheGPU (Xe) CoresGPU (Xe) ClockTDP
Intel Core i7-1185G710nm Tiger Lake SuperFin4/83.0 GHz4.8 GHz12 MB96 EUs (768 Cores)1350 MHz15W (cTDP 28W UP)
Intel Core i7-1165G710nm Tiger Lake SuperFin4/82.8 GHz4.7 GHz12 MB96 EUs (768 Cores)1300 MHz15W (cTDP 28W UP)
Intel Core i5-1135G710nm Tiger Lake SuperFin4/82.4 GHz4.2 GHz8 MB80 EUs (640 Cores)1300 MHz15W (cTDP 28W UP)
Intel Core i3-1125G410nm Tiger Lake SuperFin4/82.0 GHz3.7 GHz8 MB96 EUs (768 Cores)1250 MHz15W (cTDP 28W UP)
Intel Core i3-1115G410nm Tiger Lake SuperFin2/43.0 GHz4.1 GHz6 MB48 EUs (384 Cores)1250 MHz15W (cTDP 28W UP)
Intel Core i7-1160G710nm Tiger Lake SuperFin4/81,2 GHz4.4 GHz12 MB96 EUs (768 Cores)1100 MHz7W (cTDP 15W UP)
Intel Core i5-1130G710nm Tiger Lake SuperFin4/81.1 GHz4.0 GHz8 MB80 EUs (640 Cores)1100 MHz7W (cTDP 15W UP)
Intel Core i3-1120G410nm Tiger Lake SuperFin4/81.1 GHz3.5 GHz8 MB48 EUs (384 Cores)1100 MHz7W (cTDP 15W UP)
Intel Core i3-1110G410nm Tiger Lake SuperFin2/41.8 GHz3.9 GHz6 MB48 EUs (384 Cores)1100 MHz7W (cTDP 15W UP)

Intel Tiger Lake CPU Performance Versus Ice Lake & AMD Renoir

Intel has also shared a whole bunch of performance metrics where they compare the standard compute, graphics, and also the AI performance of its next-generation Tiger Lake CPUs. Intel is claiming up to an average of 35% faster performance for standard office applications, up to 4.4x faster creation performance, up to 76% faster gaming performance, and also enhanced connect capabilities versus AMD Ryzen 4000 Renoir APUs.

But we have to dissect each segment bit by bit to get a clear picture of where the performance actually stands so let's start with gaming.

Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake vs 10th Gen Ice Lake, AMD Ryzen 4000 Renoir & NVIDIA's GeForce MX in Gaming

Compared to its Gen 11 based Ice Lake CPUs, the Gen 12 based Tiger Lake Xe CPUs feature up to 2x performance improvements. This is also made possible through certain optimizations that are made purely for Tiger Lake CPUs in the said title. Gears Tactics was recently announced as an Intel partnered title with optimizations carried out specifically for 11th Gen Tiger Lake CPUs. The Intel CPUs also utilize VRS which adds more performance, something that is missing on Ice Lake's Gen 9.5 graphics chips. CS:GO is another outlier with a massive performance jump with FPS over the 100 mark versus Ice Lake CPUs which are unable to deliver a consistent 60 FPS gameplay.

Looking at the overall gaming performance scenario, the Tiger Lake Xe GPU delivers playable FPS across most titles at 1080p which is impressive for an integrated GPU. Intel also showcases GPU capabilities of its Xe graphics engine versus AMD's Ryzen 7 4800U with Vega graphics at 1750 MHz and a GeForce MX350 discrete graphics chip with a rated TDP of around 25-30W. The Intel Xe GPU consistently outperforms the AMD Ryzen 7 4800U and even outperforms the GeForce MX350 in several if not all games that were tested.

It isn't just gaming performance that is being improved upon. Intel's Xe GPU also provides faster encode and decode capabilities that are embedded within it as a part of its media engine. Tiger Lake CPUs provide low-power 4K HDR10 and Doby Vision playback, dedicated AV1 hardware for decode, 12-bit end-to-end video pipeline, and a blend of other technologies. Intel's claims that the Xe graphics engine offers better game streaming capabilities than the Ryzen 4000 Renoir APUs.

Intel Tiger Lake 11th Gen CPU General Performance Benchmarks:

Intel Tiger Lake CPU I/O - LPDDR5, PCIe 4.0 & Display Capabilities

Lastly, we have to talk about the I/O that the Tiger Lake CPUs will be offering. The 11th Gen CPUs will be utilizing a dual coherent fabric for interconnect & are designed purely for high bandwidth operations. As such, the Tiger Lake CPUs will support LPDDR5-5400, LPDDR4X-4667 & DDR4-3200 MHz memory. This will make Tiger Lake CPUs the first x86 mobility platform with support for next-generation LPDDR5 memory (not to be mistaken with DDR5 memory).

In addition to that, Tiger Lake CPUs will also feature Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4 support. There will also be PCIe Gen 4.0 support with a full 8 GB/s link provided to the memory interface. Overall, the Tiger Lake CPUs sound very compelling and we can't wait to see the final performance & products that make use of the 11th Generation CPU family from Intel.

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