Today, Intel is releasing its 11th-gen Core H-series for laptops. Codenamed Tiger Lake-H, this is an important release from Intel on two levels. First, it represents a major influx of new silicon at a time when component shortages are rife, and secondly because it makes for a much easier to comprehend landscape for anyone looking to buy a new laptop.
Intel's laptop offerings haven't always been the most straightforward—prior to today's release, there were two entirely different chip families vying for your greenbacks, depending on what sort of your machine you were looking for. For high-performance gaming laptops, you were looking at its 10th Gen Core H-series (Comet Lake-H) chips, while ultraportables could draw on its 11th Gen Core Tiger Lake chips, which topped out at quad-cores.
The good news is that with the release of Tiger Lake-H you are now looking at a single processor family that spans the whole market. There's still room for some oddities in there of course, with Intel's previously announced ultraportable H35 line managing to survive the shuffle. That's a new segment that Intel is trying to create though, so we'll forgive it the one exception. And besides, that is a Tiger Lake chip anyway.
Tiger Lake-H employs Intel's Willow Cove Core microarchitecture built using its 10nm SuperFin production process. The headline-grabbing figure here is that it supports turbo clocks up to 5.0GHz, which is impressive for a gaming laptop, and there's even the option to handle overclocking on some SKUs too. You'll need some serious cooling on such machines though.
Intel Speed Optimizer means you're looking at impressive multi-threaded performance thanks to being able to increase all core frequencies. Turbo Boost Max 3.0 meanwhile is capable of identifying the best cores for the highest frequencies, while still making sure everything is kept within spec.
Overall Tiger Lake-H offers up a 19% improvement in multithreaded operations over the previous generation. Intel is also claiming it has the world's fastest single-threaded mobile processor, although we're going to have to wait and see how that plays out in specific laptops. And also what difference that makes to actual games.
The good news here is that Intel and AMD are slugging it out in the mobile arena just as furiously as they are on the desktop, and that means there are plenty of options for any laptop buyers out there. Well, there should be at any rate, as Intel says one million units have been shipped to OEMs for the launch of Tiger Lake-H.
Intel is also in a good place with the Tiger Lake-H platform as a whole too, with support for PCIe 4.0 for next-gen storage and for the latest GPUs, although admittedly there are few obvious benefits for PCIe 4.0 graphics cards right now. There are 20 PCIe 4.0 lanes directly from the CPU itself, with 24 PCIe 3.0 lanes from the 500 series chipset. These new laptops will also have access to Thunderbolt 4.0 and Wi-Fi 6/6E.
The top of the new Tiger Lake-H range is the Core i9 11980HK, an 8-core, 16-thread CPU with a base clock of 2.6GHz and a maximum turbo of 5GHz. According to Intel's own figures, it represents a decent uplift over the 10980HK, which is to be expected. It also believes it has AMD's Ryzen 9 5900HX beat, although we'll have to wait and see what system builders do with these chips and test them ourselves before we'll pass judgment.
|Processor||Cores / Threads (Cache)||DDR4 (MT/s)||Base Freq (GHz)||Max 1-Core Turbo (GHz)||Graphics Base/Max (MHz)||Tj (deg C)|
|Core i9 11980HK||8 / 16 (24MB)||3200||2.6||5.0||350 / 1450||100|
|Core i9 11900H||8 / 16 (24MB)||3200||2.5||4.9||350 / 1450||100|
|Core i7 11800H||8 / 16 (24MB)||3200||2.3||4.6||350 / 1450||100|
|Core i5 11400H||6 / 12 (12MB)||3200||2.7||4.5||350 / 1450||100|
|Core i5 11260H||6 / 12 (12MB)||3200||2.6||4.4||350 / 1450||100|
There are five chips being launched today, three 8-core, 16-thread chips, and a pair of 6-core, 12-thread Core i5s as well. All these chips use Intel's UHD graphics, which is a bit of a shame given its Xe GPUs now exist, but these are chips you're going to want to pair with discrete graphics for gaming anyway, so it's not the end of the world.
Nvidia is announced new mobile graphics at the same time as Tiger Lake-H appearing, which means we're looking at plenty of new laptops from the likes of Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, Lenovo, Alienware, etc. Basically everyone. If you've been putting off buying a new laptop, your patience could be about to pay off. We'll be looking at these refreshes shortly.