Intel’s 11th generation H45 chips are here. Are they disappointed?

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After a long wait, Intel has finally unveiled the 11th generation of Tiger Lake portable processors for gaming and content production devices. With the H-Series tag, these are 45-watt processors based on the company’s new 10nm microarchitecture, previously reserved for low-power laptops.

These new 11th generation H-series processors range from the Core i5-11260H to the unlocked Core i9-11980HK, powerful gaming laptops and content creation devices. The Core i5 has six Willow Cove cores and 12 threads, while the Core i9 has eight Willow Cove cores and 16 threads. Intel says the devices with the flagship Core i9 inside are still “the fastest single-threaded laptops.” Intel also claims 19% generation multi-threaded performance.

These new chips are based on the same platform as other 11th generation Tiger Lake mobile processors, both 28 watts (U-series) and 35 watt versions (H35).

Technical information

Cores / wires Graphics L3 cache Basic clock 1-2 core Turbo 4-core turbo 6-core turbo 8-core turbo
Intel Core i9-11980HK 8/16 Intel UHD 24 Mt. 2.6 GHz 5.0 GHz * 4.9 GHz 4.7 GHz 4.5 GHz
Intel Core i9-11900H 8/16 Intel UHD 24 Mt. 2.5 GHz 4.9 GHz * 4.8 GHz 4.6 GHz 4.4 GHz
Intel Core i7-11800H 8/16 Intel UHD 24 Mt. 2.3 GHz 4.6 GHz 4.5 GHz 4.4 GHz 4.2 GHz
Intel Core i5-11400H 6/12 Intel UHD 12 Mt. 2.7 GHz 4.5 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.1 GHz N / A
Intel Core i5-11260H 6/12 Intel UHD 12 Mt. 2.6 GHz 4.4 GHz 4.2 GHz 4.0 GHz N / A

As you can see from the chart above, there are now two versions of the Core i9 and one version of the Core i7, the previous generation. It’s just a brand, but with another Core i9, Intel can sell its “flagship” chipset in thinner and lighter gaming laptops that can’t be overclocked. Intel has labeled this new gaming notebook category as the “thin enthusiast” segment and includes laptops less than 0.79 inches. These laptops also feature displays up to 240 Hz and 4K gaming at 60 frames per second (fps) in Medium or High settings.

Overall, Intel has now provided detailed specifications for what kind of incremental frequencies you can expect from these processors. For single- or dual-core turbos, the Core i9-11980HK can reach 5.0 GHz using Thermal Velocity Boost 3.0. These are not intended for continuous loads, but rather for a rapid frequency burst during very specific tasks.

Still, it is 0.3 GHz behind the previous generation Core i9-10980HK. However, the fundamental frequencies have risen in 8-core processors, which balances the difference. Keeping frequencies high is one of Intel’s top 10 nm challenges, which is one reason why the product has been delayed for so long. Intel has admitted earlier that 10 nm would never be its best node, but SuperFin transistors are redesigned in Tiger Lake really improved performance. Whether they will be able to replicate high clock frequencies in its first 10nm desktop sections later this year is the ultimate challenge.

However, there is good news at the bottom of the stack. Both Core i5 components are now in six cores, which is up from the four cores of the 10th generation Core i5. However, in terms of frequency, Core i5 circuits are almost identical to the previous generation.

Presentation

Intel showed a direct comparison of game performance to the previous generation in several PC games. Performance growth will range from 5% in 2007 Far Cry New Dawn up to 21% per annum War thunder. Both units were tested with the Nvidia RTX 3080, which had a maximum graphics power of 155 watts.

Intel was also pleased to be able to show increased performance over its Core i9 competitor AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX. In the same titles, Intel showed the Core i9-11980HK to beat the Ryzen 9 5900HX by as much as 26%, as in the 2019 version Grid.

Intel carefully selects the games it uses in these comparisons, omitting a lot of titles that critics often use in direct performance comparisons.

As usual, Intel also introduced AI-supported optimizations for very specific applications such as Adobe After Effects. For example, Intel highlighted performance by using this app’s content-aware fill tool, which removes an image from a video and automatically fills the background. Thanks to DL Boost enhancements, Intel claims that 11th-generation H-Series chips are now 13% faster to accomplish this task.

We don’t know how all this happens in terms of actual performance until we’ve tested it ourselves. Depending on how it lands, this can give us a preview of how Intel’s first 10nm desktop chips are called 12th generation Leppäjärvi, appear later this year.

PCIe 4, UHD graphics and more

These new chips have 20 PCIe Gen 4 bands that can be used by both the video card and the system storage. Intel says with PCIe Gen 4 that these 11th generation chips are 70% faster in the PCMark 10 Storage test. These PCIe 4 SSDs also support booting in RAID 0 mode using Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology (RST). In addition, you also get 24 bands of PCIe Gen 3.

In terms of graphics, Intel’s new integrated UHD graphics cards use the Xe architecture and have 32 performance units. This is clearly behind the more powerful Xe-integrated graphics found in other Tiger Lake processors, but Intel assumes these H-Series chips are connected to a separate graphics card.

Finally, 11th generation chips now support faster DDR4 memory, up to 3200 MHz.

Intel says more than 80 models will be imported to support these new chips and will cover populations such as “gamers, content producers and amateur professionals.” All major manufacturers have supported Intel’s new product, including Razer, Acer, Dell, MSI and more.

These 11th generation chips also have updated connectivity, including support for Thunderbolt 4 and Wi-Fi 6 / 6E.

Intel says it has already delivered the chips to partners and announced that the systems will be launched before the end of the quarter, depending on the region.

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