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Intel Launches 11th Gen CPUs Based on Tiger Lake, New Evo Platform

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Today, Intel is formally launching its Tiger Lake family of CPUs, alongside its first public iteration of the Xe graphics architecture.

We’ve covered Tiger Lake and its Xe GPU in previous deep dives, so I’ll refer you back to that coverage if you want additional details on the CPU and its overall product family. Tiger Lake is built using Intel’s 10nm “Superfin” technology and delivers significant frequency uplift. Willow Cove is otherwise largely identical to Intel’s previous design, Sunny Cove, but it uses a larger, non-inclusive L2 cache.

Intel is claiming various performance benefits, like 2.7x content creation speed and up to 20 percent in office productivity. Gaming performance is also expected to rise substantially. To celebrate the event, Intel is also launching these chips alongside a new platform: Intel Evo.

Centrino, Mark 2

The reason I’m bringing up the old Intel Centrino program is that Intel’s new Evo platform initiative seems to share a lot of conceptual similarities with it. For those of you who weren’t hip to the laptop market of the early 2000s, Centrino was a brand initiative that Intel launched around its mobile CPUs like Banias and Dothan. In order to win Centrino branding, a system had to use certain components and commit to certain quality standards.

Intel has only publicly listed four high-level requirements for a Project Athena system (we may find out more during deep dives at Intel’s launch event today). They are:

  • Consistent responsiveness on battery (being on battery can’t make the system too laggy)
  • System wake time of under one second
  • 9 or more hours of real-world battery life in systems with FHD (1080p) displays*
  • Fast charging on FHD systems, with a 4-hour run-time achieved in 30 minutes with the system powered off.

The footnote is worth including verbatim, since battery life comparison criteria can vary widely:

Time taken to drain from 100% to critical battery level while performing workflows under a typical-use environment, comprising multiple cloud-based and local apps and web pages including Google Chrome, Google GSuite, Microsoft Office 365, YouTube and Zoom.

That seems fairly reasonable. At the very least, it seems like an arguable workflow that would fairly represent some light office and browser work.

Overall, Tiger Lake is expected to be a strong debut for Intel, with competitive performance against AMD. AMD, in turn, will re-challenge Intel with its own Zen 3 refresh later this year. Overall, I expect Tiger Lake to provide strong AMD competition in the mobile market. It’s possible Intel has even leapfrogged AMD in graphics performance — and that’s the best thing that could happen to integrated GPUs overall.

Competition between Intel and AMD on the CPU side of things has produced excellent results every time we’ve had a competitive scenario to compare. Intel improving its GPU technology might put some pressure on AMD’s iGPU team, but the end result will be better products for everyone.

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