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Intel launches nine 10nm Tiger Lake processors

Sep 2, 2020 — by Eric Brown 1,119 views

Intel unveiled its 11th Gen, 10nm fabricated Tiger Lake U- and Y-series processors with greatly improved Intel Iris Xe graphics and Thunderbolt 4 and PCIe 4.0 support, split into 12-28W UP3 and 7-15W UP4 models.

A month ago Aaeon and Kontron announced the first SBCs based on Intel’s Tiger Lake CPUs, but without listing any specifics on CPU models. As promised, Intel has followed up with more details about the 11th Gen Tiger Lake design, including five UP3 models with 12-28W TDPs and four UP4 models at 7-15W.

Intel also announced an Intel Evo reference design and branding program for Tiger Lake laptops that follow power management requirements such as 9-hour typical battery life and 1-second wake-from-sleep. More than 20 verified designs are expected this year, including Acer Swift 5, Asus Zenbook Flip S, Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 5Gl, and the newly revealed Lenovo Yoga 9i.


Intel’s 11th Gen Tiger Lake

Although the initial Tiger Lake-U processors are aimed at laptops, we expect considerable adoption from embedded vendors thanks to their improved performance and low TDPs. Like the 10th Gen Ice Lake, the 11th Gen Tiger Lake is a 10nm fabricated Core CPU, although Intel refers to Tiger Lake’s process as 10nm++ and “10nm SuperFin.” Most of the models are quad-core, octa-thread models, but there is one dual-core, quad-thread model in both the UP3 and UP4 categories.

Tiger Lake switches to Intel’s Willow Cove microarchitecture, which offers a redesigned cache, new security features, and transistor optimization compared to Ice Lake’s Sunny Cove. Tiger lake has 50 percent higher L3 cache per core, with up to 12MB L3.

Tiger Lake UP3 (left) and UP4 models
(click images to enlarge)

More significantly, Tiger Lake advances to Intel Gen12 Iris Xe graphics, which offers 96 EUs compared to 64 on Ice Lake’s Intel Gen11 graphics. Intel claims Tiger Lake offers twice the graphic performance. Like AMD’s Vega GPU found on the Ryzen and Ryzen Embedded V1000 processors, it supports up to 4x independent displays running at 4K @ 60fps. It also supports 8K HDR displays.

Lenovo Yoga 9i

Tiger Lake appears to be the first processor in which Intel links AI acceleration directly to the GPU rather than the CPU. According to Intel, Iris Xe, which is available on about half the 11th Gen models, offers “the first instruction set for neural network inferencing on integrated graphics with Intel DL Boost: DP4a and the first with native support for INT8 data type, delivering up to 5x better AI performance.”

As promised, Tiger Lake provides support for Thunderbolt 4 (USB 4), with up to 4x the throughput of USB 3.x. The 11th Gen chips also offer built-in support for 802.11a/n/ac/ax (WiFi 6). The big news is that the PCIe Gen 4 rumors are true: Tiger Lake is “the first mobile client SoC with CPU-attached PCIe Gen 4 interface and with up to four lanes,” says Intel.

Intel provides numerous performance claims and comparisons with “competitive processors,” which we’ll let you sort through on your own. We already know via an earlier Tom’s Hardware report that analyzed a leaked benchmark comparison chart published by SiSoftware that Tiger Lake offers a massive increase in media performance over Ice Lake. Iris Xe may even be on par with AMD’s Vega GPU on the Ryzen 7.

The quad-core, 2.8GHz/4.7GHz Core i7-1165G7 from the Tiger Lake family scored 564.87 Mpix/s on a processor multimedia test compared to 378.63 Mpix/s for a similar Ice Lake Core i7-1065G7. The benchmarks did not even use the top-of-the-line UP3 model: the 3.0GHz/4.8GHz Core i7-1085G7 with faster 1.35GHz Iris Ge graphics with 96 EUs.

Despite the UP4 name, these lower-power models are referred to as Y-series processors in a report from The Verge. The UP4 series, which is led by a quad-core, 1.2GHz/4.4GHz Core i7-1160G7, offer lower-powered 1.1GHz Iris Xe or Intel UHD Graphics. They use lower-power LPDDR4-4266 rather than the DDR4 support available on the UP3 models.

Tiger Lake will be followed by an 11th Gen Rocket Lake design due to be unveiled later this year or early in 2021. Rocket Lake reverts to a 14nm process but is rumored to backport elements of Tiger Lake’s Willow Cove architecture. After that comes a 12th Gen 10nm Alder Lake CPU family, which will debut a heterogeneous core orchestration technology similar to Arm’s Big.Little. Alder Lake may even support DDR5 RAM.

Further information

Intel’s 11th Gen Tiger Lake CPUs appear to be available now and will roll out in products before the end of the year. More information may be found in Intel’s announcement.

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