It feels like we have been talking about Tiger Lake quite a bit lately. Intel is launching its new 11th generation Core processor codenamed “Tiger Lake.” While Intel’s initial launch is focused on mobile, the repercussions go far beyond mobile. This is not Intel’s first 10nm processor, but it is Intel’s first 10nm processor with Xe graphics and the company’s enhanced 10nm process. Since it effectively brings a new process and a new GPU line to an Intel product, it is a big deal.
Intel 11th Gen Core Brings SuperFin and Xe Graphics
With the new 11th Gen Core launch, we get a mainstream 10nm processor from Intel. Specifically, the new process is the Intel 10nm SuperFin technology that we covered previously. Here, Intel is introducing a number of 10nm process enhancements to get more from the 10nm node. We covered how the Intel Ice Lake-SP next-gen Xeon Architecture will use an enhanced 10nm process with SuperFin.
While this is in many ways the debut of Intel Xe graphics, Intel is showing off the Iris version. We recently covered that we will see Intel Xe SG1 HP and DG1 at Architecture Day 2020. The Intel Xe GPU architecture will also scale to supercomputers with the Intel Xe HPC GPU.
A new microarchitecture for the CPU is great, as is a new 10nm process, but if Intel is successful in the GPU market, we will have another player competing with NVIDIA and AMD.
Going well beyond the CPU and GPU, there are other major features. For example, Tiger Lake is bringing PCIe Gen4 to Intel, something that AMD has been shipping in volume since 2019. We get features such as Thunderbolt 4 and also importantly WiFi 6. The new WiFi 6 generation offers speeds well in excess of 1Gb wired Ethernet. For businesses, the new WiFi 6 standard will mean that they can upgrade AP’s and handle more clients at higher speeds further marginalizing wired 1GbE networking for client PCs. It also means that the AP’s need 2.5GbE back-hauls to the network to achieve full bandwidth which will help to push the industry to deploy more 2.5GbE ports in the next 18 months.
Intel also touted AI acceleration. This is going to be leveraged by applications such as Microsoft Teams and does not require an external GPU. NVIDIA showed off its version of this in the company’s suite yesterday at the company’s NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3000 Series Launch. NVIDIA seems to be a bit ahead here in terms of offering a suite for ambient noise elimination and background replacement, but Intel is showing an embedded solution that makes it more deployable at a lower footprint and power cost.
For STH, we have been running our Project TinyMiniMicro series for corporate desktops. The processors used in those machines are often close relatives to the Tiger Lake variants Intel released today. Between these new chips and the AMD Ryzen Pro 4000 series parts, there is a lot to get excited about as what may be the biggest step-change in this segment for years. We are also excited about what 10nm and Xe will do beyond the client segment in Intel’s portfolio.
To our readers, there is the immediate impact of this year’s notebook refresh cycle machines being a significant capability boost. We wanted to look beyond the devices themselves, and have our readers start to think about the impact in terms of infrastructure. Companies and even individuals working from home will want WiFi 6 AP’s and routers, potentially 2.5GbE for the backhaul of the wireless network. Also, external devices are going to get a big boost as we move to new PCIe, USB, and Thunderbolt generations so there is a lot to consider.