The processors have integrated GPUs designed on Intel’s new Xe graphics architecture to bring what the company hopes will help it – and its OEM partners – compete in the ultrabook market against increasing competition from AMD’s Ryzen line and Apple, after the latter recently announced it would soon stop using Intel processors in its Mac line-up in favour of its own.
Tiger Lake boasts integrated Thunderbolt 4 compatibility via USB-C, a new PCIe Gen 4 interface, and full support for the Wi-Fi 6 standard. More than 150 designs incorporating Tiger Lake are in the pipeline from companies such as Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Razer, and others, according to Intel.
It also hopes that the added AI capabilities afforded by Tiger Lake will give the platform a boost over AMD, with new ambiguously-named features such as Deep Learning Boost and Open Vino that are hard to unpack at first look, but will no doubt be pushed by the company to OEMs and developers to better streamline AI performance on the platform.
Unveiled alongside Tiger Lake was Intel Evo, a platform the company will use to distinguish premium, thin laptops that fall under the less-marketable Project Athena label.
Project Athena was launched last year and is Intel’s umbrella for slim, high-end notebooks that instantly wake, have all-day battery, are always connected, and look good to boot. It’s also being used for folding PCs.
In an attempt to convey Intel’s mobile PC future to regular consumers, Intel VP of Client Computing Group, Josh Newman, told a media call that Intel Evo is the consumer-facing name, with all laptops bearing the new (literal) sticker meeting the requirements of the Project Athena program. It’s like Intel Inside for the 2020s.
Talking about the Evo range, Newman said the “first 20 laptops will be in the market this year”, with Intel keen to establish Evo as a consumer-oriented brand. Executives on the call said Evo laptops could expect to get nine hours of battery use on Full HD mode, with support for up to 4K or 8K @ 60fps playback.
Away from Evo specifically, Intel Fellow, Tom Petersen, said Tiger Lake sees “a two times gen-on-gen performance increase on approximately the same power budget and approximately the same area as previous generation.” If this true it would be a notable gain over the 10th-gen Ice Lake generation.
If the clock speeds of Tiger Lake are anything to go by, it seems like Intel has put its money where its mouth is. The flagship four-core eight-thread Core i7-1185G7’s base block speed is 3.0GHz and has a single-core turbo speed of 4.8GHz. The base clock speeds and single-core turbo speeds are higher for all of the Tiger Lake range compared to the Ice Lake equivalents.
Intel also claimed Tiger Like is up to 2.7 times as fast as competing products for video editing, all the while adding around an hour of battery on top of what Ice Lake could achieve for laptops. The new range boils down to nine Tiger Lake processor for notebooks, the higher spec of which contain the new Xe integrated GPUs.
The Xe units bear branding reserved for the performance gains represented, but Intel said the lower end Core i3 processors without Xe are based on the same architecture as the Xe-toting i5 and i7 CPUs.
Intel is banking on its new SuperFin transistor tech that is packed into its Tiger Lake range to help take the fight to AMD. We will have to wait until we can get our hands on a Tiger Lake-toting laptop before we can see if it has achieved its goal.