Today, Intel is announcing its H-series processors from the Tiger Lake family. This is the latest piece of the 11th-gen puzzle, as the firm has already been offering a 35W, quad-core flavor for ultraportable gaming PCs. That was called Tiger Lake-H35, but this is full-blown Tiger Lake-H, which will power some of the best gaming laptops.
At the top of the lineup is the Core i9-11980HK, which is actually the only one that’s fully unlocked for overclocking. It has eight cores, 16 threads, a 2.6GHz base frequency, and a 5GHz single-core Turbo frequency. It supports FHD screens up to 360Hz or 4K displays up to 120Hz. However, Intel said it aims to make QHD the standard for gaming instead of FHD.
The rest of the models go down from there, down to the hexa-core Core i5-11260H. Beyond that, you’d have to look at Tiger Lake-H35.
There’s a lot that’s new here, especially since 10th-gen H-series processors were built on a 14nm process. These chips are on the all-new Willow Cove Core architecture, using the 10nm SuperFin process. Indeed, if you’re familiar with the Tiger Lake chips that are going in laptops, you already know a lot of the stuff that’s new here.
Another big change is that it supports PCIe Gen 4, supporting up to 20 lanes. PCIe Gen 4 has double the bandwidth of PCIe Gen 3 at 16GT/s per lane. If you don’t know what that means, all you need to know is that pretty much everything is going to be faster with PCIe Gen 4.
Naturally, this family of processors also comes with support for Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, with 40Gbps data transfer speeds and support for dual 4K displays on a single port. Also along the lines of connectivity is discrete Killer Wi-Fi 6E.
They come with the Iris Xe graphics architecture, although almost all models that ship with these CPUs will have dedicated graphics. The UHD Graphics come with up to 32EUs, while the graphics in ultrabook processors (Tiger Lake UP3) have up to 96EUs.
Again, most of this stuff is already pretty familiar, which is totally to be expected. What’s more exciting is the kind of performance that you can expect from these CPUs. There are overclocking improvements, and while the Core i9-11980HK is completely unlocked, some chips are partially unlocked. The processors come with per-core voltage control, XTE feature improvements, and a CPU internal BCLK option.
Tiger Lake-H also comes with Intel Speed Optimizer. This is meant to be a simple way to overclock. As opposed to per-core control, this is going to improve multithreaded performance by boosting all core frequencies. Finally, Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 is another way to squeeze some extra juice out of the CPU by identifying which cores to boost performance.
Next up are performance comparisons, which Intel provided plenty of. Comparing the Core i9-11980HK to last year’s Core i9-10980HK, you shouldn’t be surprised to find big improvements in every way. Far Cry: New Dawn offers a 5% improvement, Grid 2019 offers a 15% improvement, Hitman 3 offers a 6% improvement, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege gets an 11% improvement, Total War: Three Kingdoms offers an 11% improvement, Troy: A Total War Saga: Siege gets a 14% improvement, and War Thunder gets a 21% improvement.
Perhaps even more important as gamers are choosing between Intel Tiger Lake-H and AMD Ryzen 5000 is the Core i9-11980HK against the Ryzen 9 5900HX. This also showed big gains for Intel. Far Cry New Dawn is up by 17%, Grid 2019 is up by 26%, Hitman 3 is up by 15%, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is up by 21%, Total War: Three Kingdoms is up by 11%, Troy: A Total War Saga: Siege is up by 24%, and War Thunder is up by 22%. Intel also compared the Core i5-11400H to the Ryzen 9 5900HS, and the results were mixed. To be fair, that’s comparing Intel’s mainstream product against a high-end one from AMD.
We’re not done yet, because Intel also announced commercial products. First of all, there’s vPro H-series chips. That’s for business PCs that need hardware-baked security features like Intel Hardware Shield. Hardware Shield comes with new threat detection technology, which promises to be the first hardware-baked AI threat detection. In fact, Intel says that with Control-floe Enforcement Technology, it’s able to stop an array of attacks that couldn’t be stopped with software solutions.
Along with Tiger Lake-H processors, there are also a couple of new Xeon processors, the Xeon W-11955M and Xeon W-11855M. These are chips that you’re more likely to find in mobile workstations instead of gaming laptops.
As for when you’ll be able to get your hands on laptops with the new chips, some OEMs are starting pre-orders as early as today. There are announcements coming from Acer, ASUS ROG, Dell, Gigabyte, HP, Lenovo, MSI, and Razer.