Intel has done a great job of keeping us waiting on big advancements to its processor architecture, but Tiger Lake could start to change that. The first generation of 10nm Core processors was effectively a no-show, and the second generation of 10nm with Intel Ice Lake processors only recently hit Ultrabooks, but stands out as more of an efficient alternative to the high performance Comet Lake processors that still come on Intel’s undying 14nm architecture.
But at CES 2020, Intel gave plenty of attention to its upcoming Tiger Lake processors, so it's time to start getting ready for the next generation of mobile processors. Especially because Intel will have its competition cut out for it with AMD Ryzen 4000 mobile processors, which verge on desktop performance.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Intel’s 10nm+ Core processor architecture
- When is it out? Late 2020 at the soonest
- How much is it? There may be no consumer-facing price
Intel Tiger Lake release date
Intel hasn’t confirmed a release date for Tiger Lake but if you listened closely at the Intel press conference from CES 2020, you may have heard mention of Tiger Lake units shipping to OEMs “this summer,” which means late Q2 or Q3.
If it’s shipping to OEMs then, that means it will come later on. So, it won’t be until the latter half of 2020, and could easily take until Q4 before laptops start shipping with Tiger Lake processors inside.
Intel Tiger Lake price
We can’t expect to get individual pricing for Intel’s Tiger Lake processors because, for now anyway, they appear to be going straight to OEMs for laptop builds. That means the actual price of the chips will never really be paid by consumers.
We can guess they may end up in a similar ballpark to Intel Ice Lake chips, though. And, even if consumers aren’t buying those directly, Intel does supply some suggested pricing. Here are the prices Intel suggested for a range of Ice Lake processors when purchased in bulk:
- Intel Core i7-1065G7: $426 (about £325, AU$620)
- Intel Core i5-1035G7: $320 (about £245, AU$465)
- Intel Core i3-1005G1: $281 (about £215, AU$410)
Intel Tiger Lake specs
Intel’s Tiger Lake chips are described as 10nm+, though they’re Intel’s third iteration of a 10nm chip. It appears Intel doesn’t make much of its first 10nm Cannon Lake, which was as good as a phantom.
In any case, we expect Intel Tiger Lake to come with further refinements to the 10nm process used, which will likely allow for decent performance from a low base clock (somewhere in the ballpark of 1.0-1.2GHz), and extra headroom for boost clocks (over 4.0GHz for Core i7 models).
We’ll likely see dual-core and quad-core variants of the Intel Tiger Lake chips, but it’s not clear whether we’ll see any higher core counts. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. Some early leaked benchmarks shared by leaker @TUM_APISAK suggest a quad-core Tiger Lake chip can outperform a six-core Comet Lake chip, Wccftech reports. Intel claimed double-digit performance gains over previous generation chips. But, Tiger Lake will be going against AMD’s eight-core Ryzen mobile processors, and that match-up may be a different story.
There’s been some speculation that Tiger Lake processors would support a new generation of RAM, specifically LPDDR5. If that were the case, it would double transfers, reduce power consumption, and enable a “deep sleep” power-saving mode. But, given that DDR5 is just getting into the sampling phase, according to our friends at PCGamer, it’s likely Tiger Lake will be sticking to DDR4 unless it gets a Cannon Lake-style series of delays.
There are a few confirmed specs for Tiger Lake, though. For one, the chips will come with integrated Wi-Fi 6, giving them more advanced wireless connectivity. They also get integrated Thunderbolt 4, which offers the same 40Gbps bandwidth as Thunderbolt 3 and the new USB 4.0 standard, according to clarification from Intel to our mates at Tom’s Hardware.
Intel could also get some faster connections if Tiger Lake supports PCIe 4.0, as suggested by TechPowerUp. PCIe 4.0-support was expected to come alongside Comet Lake desktop processors, according to Tom’s Hardware, but Intel had issues getting it to work. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Tiger Lake architecture will run into similar difficulties. If Intel Introduces PCIe 4.0, it match what AMD is offering with its Zen 2 architecture, but ultimately wouldn’t change a whole lot for consumers if Tiger Lake never escapes the mobile processor space (though could be more beneficial in something like the Ghost Canyon NUC).
The Tiger Lake processors will also get support from AI and Intel Xe Graphics. That AI will optimize performance, and may have a special trick that can shift the balance of power to the CPU and GPU to give either a boost when needed.
We’ll keep this page updated as we learn more about Tiger Lake.
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