Intel throws sand in the face of 'musclebooks' with 10nm Tiger Lake tech

11th-gen Core H has nice new touches, but pitch is usual 'a new PC will be faster and smaller and lighter than an old PC' promise


Intel is talking up a new generation of laptop and mobile workstation CPUs that it says will deliver modest performance gains and lighten laptops for power users.

The new Tiger Lake processor range – officially the 11th-generation Core H – is built on a 10nm process and employs Willow Cove cores. PCIe4 and Wi-Fi 6 are omnipresent. Some models offer per-core voltage control and the kind of overclocking opportunities previously found only on CPUs destined for desktops.

Chipzilla pitched most of the new models at "enthusiasts" – a word describing folks who like gaming on their portable PCs in this case, feel confident enough to twiddle a few nerd knobs, and so on.

There's also some new options for Reg readers at work, and those you serve from nine to five and beyond.

The Core i9-11980HK, for example, is an eight-core 2.6GHz-4.9GHz component touted as outpacing a comparable AMD by around 20 per cent on the kind of video and photo-processing chores that a creative professional might perform. And it needs 65W to make that happen.

Such users are also set to get the option to boot from a RAID array, Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, and fast Intel UHD graphics.

Workstation users are promised error-correcting memory, some of the security features Intel bakes into Xeons for desktop workstations or servers, and management tech like memory encryption. You'll find those in the new Core i9-11950H, an eight-core, 16-thread beast that spends most of its time at 2.6GHz and happily jumps to 4.9GHz while requiring 35W.

Intel pledged performance gains of 75 per cent on some financial services related workloads and more modest but still welcome gains on other workloads.

Intel has long since acknowledged that it is its own toughest competitor because its products work well enough that replacements aren't often needed.

In the presentation delivered to The Register, the company's most potent pitch was its characterisation of laptops offered to creative types and workstations as "musclebooks".

Tiger Lake means laptops for such users are now more svelte, hence more portable and useful. And they get this year's speed boost.

Yet battery life hardly rated a mention in Intel's pitch. The Register suspects that's because it's not stellar so mobilising power users will remain something of a chore. ®

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