Updated: Aug 20, 2021
The Tiger has finally woken from its slumber… Just kidding. You all know what we’re talking about, and that’s the new 11th Gen Intel Core H-Series Mobile Processors. Back at CES earlier this year, Intel announced a few new processors (H35) that are a part of the Tiger Lake family, but even though they were amazing and quite the step up compared to 10th Gen, those were still ultimately designed for ultraportable laptops in mind.
But now, the main Tigers are coming, in full force no less.
Performance For The Masses
With this new slew of processors, Intel has clearly defined their intended target audience and segment of the market. As we mentioned earlier, the H35 series of processors will still be around and are intended for ultraportable laptops. These new processors are going to encompass the rest of the market, all the way from basic and entry-level laptops which Intel classifies as Essential, to the utmost in extreme gaming which Intel classifies as Halo Enthusiast. But be it any of the segments, you can be sure that you will be able to enjoy new features such as PCI Express 4.0 (PCIe Gen 4), Thunderbolt 4 and Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6/6E.
By the time you are reading this article, Intel claims that they have already shipped over a million units of these processors to their OEMs, so you can pretty much expect the 11th Gen refresh to hit most laptops and be available for you to purchase very shortly.
But what exactly do these new processors entail?
All The New Features & Enhancements
There’s a lot that’s new with these processors and you can read all about it in the image above. For now, we are just going to focus on some key features and we are going to explain it in such a way that even if you are not too well versed in tech in general, you will know what you are getting.
First and arguably, the most important feature is PCIe Gen 4, and you will be getting a total of 20 lanes of it which is directly connected to the CPU and also supports Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST) with support for bootable RAID 0. If you can’t yet imagine, this is pretty amazing. With 20 lanes of PCIe Gen 4, OEMs have the option to do a variety of different configurations.
A laptop can be kitted with a GPU utilising up to the maximum of 16 lanes for best performance while still having 4 lanes for a PCIe Gen 4 SSD or the GPU can be configured for 8 lanes instead (which is the same bandwidth as PCIe Gen 3 x16) and have 12 lanes leftover, which can be configured for a triple PCIe Gen 4 SSD setup, so on and so forth. Not to mention that these SSDs can be used with Intel RST for accelerated performance and also allow you to boot the system directly from that same SSD even in RAID 0 with RST enabled.
But that is just only on the CPU. The chipset will be able to support an additional 24 lanes of PCIe Gen 3, which will further open up even more configuration possibilities.
The second is overclocking specific SKUs. Using Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU), you get features like Per Core Voltage Control and CPU Internal BCLK Option. Intel Speed Optimiser is also included which provides you with a simple method to overclock without too much hassle and it also works with Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 which works automatically in the background, identifying the best performing cores which leads to a slight increase in performance while staying within operating specifications.
Lastly would be support for Wi-Fi 6E (Gig+) which introduces a whole new 6GHz band for even faster connection speeds and high reliability, simply because laptops with Wi-Fi 6E need not compete in the same congested channels with Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5.
The New King – Intel Core i9-11980HK
Fully unlocked. That is the first thing about the Core i9-11980HK which features 8 cores and 16 threads. Of course, that means it works fully with Intel XTU, has support for Intel Speed Optimiser and Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0. Based on these graphs Intel has provided, the Core i9-11980HK does provide a fair amount of performance gain over the previous generation Core i9-10980HK in a variety of games. Both chips were tested with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 with a maximum power draw of 155W.
Intel even went ahead and compared against their rival, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX and in the games that they have tested, it does show a sizable lead in performance, anywhere from 10% to 25% or so.
But of course, take these tests with a grain of salt, for there aren’t any actual frames-per-second (FPS) numbers, so the percentage in itself may not translate to huge differences.
According to the last graph, it shows comparable gaming performance between the Core i5-11400H and the Ryzen 9 5900HS. Now if this is true, that is quite the achievement. It definitely piqued our interests but again, take it with a bit of salt.
Gaming aside, another reason why people tend to purchase gaming laptops are actually for creative work. Intel is definitely supported by a majority of creative applications out there such as the likes of Adobe, Autodesk and Unreal Engine. You can expect slight performance gains compared to the previous 10th Gen while still being really competitive against AMD Ryzen 9 5000-series.
The List of Processors
For now, expect two variants of Core i5, a single Core i7 and two variants for Core i9. Each chip is configured for a TDP of 35W with the exception of the flagship Core i9-11980HK which will be configured for 65W and can hit the max single-core turbo frequency of 5.0GHz and a max eight-core turbo frequency of 4.5GHz.
All these new processors will be hitting the market very soon, so do stay tuned for the latest updates from all the major brands such as Razer, Lenovo, Asus and more. If you are looking to buy a laptop now, you might want to hold off for a while. The numbers now are currently quite promising, but we shall wait until we get review units and put them through their paces.
Written by Soon Kai Hong