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What is Tiger Lake Processor?
The term Tiger Lake signifies the codename of the 11th generation Intel Core mobile processors. These processors are built on the Willow Cove Core microarchitecture and a 10 nm SuperFin process node.
These CPUs also follow the PAO or Process Architecture Optimization model and consist of 2 to 8 cores, offering a maximum operating speed of up to 5 GHz. These processors are available in different models on and from September 2, 2020.
- The Intel Tiger Lake processors are designed on an advanced version of the 10 nanometer process node found in most of the processors today.
- These specific processors do not only enhance the performance of the CPU-intensive tasks but also augment GPU-intensive tasks with the integrated Intel Xe graphics.
- The Tiger Lake processors are good to use for both the ultraportable laptops as well as the thin and light models due to their enhanced performance and lower power consumption.
- These CPUs offer quite reliable and strong connectivity options which include Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 support, depending on the models.
- The Intel Tiger Lake processors are available under different brand names or families such as Intel Celeron, Pentium Gold, Core i3, i5, i7, i9, and Xeon W.
Understanding Tiger Lake Processor
The Tiger Lake processors refer to the 11th generation Intel Core processors that are designed specifically for use in the laptop computers, especially in the ultrabook and the thin-and-light types.
The different components of the architecture of this particular processor play their individual part well to add in order to the combined performance and provide the desired results fast, all due to their useful and varied features.
Here are the features summarized for you.
The CPU or Central Processing Unit comes with the following features:
- Intel Willow Cove cores
- Full encryption of the Random Access Memory
- Indirect branch tracking
- Control-flow Enforcement Technology (CET) shadow stack
- Intel Key Locker
On the other hand, the Graphics Processing Unit or GPU comes with the following features:
- Integrated Intel Gen 12 Xe-LP
- Up to 96 execution units
- Fixed-function hardware decoding for High Efficiency Video Coding or HEVC 12-bit
- 4:2:2/4:4:4, VP9 12-bit 4:4:4, and AV1 8K 10-bit 4:2:0 support
- High Dynamic Range (HDR) display support for a single 8K 12-bit or two 4K 10-bit displays
- Support for sampler feedback
- Hardware accelerated Dolby Vision
- Dual queue support
For higher and better I/O performance, the processors also support the following:
- Peripheral Component Interconnect Express or PCIe 4.0 in all models apart from Pentium and Celeron processors that support PCI Express 3.0
- Integrated Thunderbolt 4
- Support for Low Power Double Data Rate Extended or LPDDR4X 4267 memory
- LPDDR5 5400 architecture potential
- A miniature CPU and small circuit board which is as small as the size of an M.2 SSD
- Hardware telemetry with additional Intel Platform Monitoring Technology
In addition to the above, there is an Image Processing Unit (IPU) in the Tiger Lake processors as well, which is a special type of co-processor that improves the quality of the images and video capture. However, this is not available in the embedded models.
There are different model names of the Intel Tiger Lake processors available.
For example, the mobile processor segment includes the following:
- Tiger Lake H that supports DDR4 3200 memory and 20 reconfigurable PCIe 4.0 lanes
- Tiger Lake H35 that supports DDR4 3200 or LPDDR4X 4267 memory
- UP3-class mobile processors to use in IoT devices for time-sensitive, low-latency, deep learning, and AI applications on a single platform
- UP4-class mobile processors
- UP3-class embedded mobile processors
There are also Tiger Lake B processors available that are used in desktop computers and tablets and come with the following features:
- Intel Xe UHD Graphics
- An FCBGA 1787 socket
- DDR4 3200 memory support of up to 128 GB
Here are some general specifications of the Intel Tiger Lake processors that may come in handy:
- Launch date – September 2, 2020
- Maximum CPU clock rate – 5.0 GHz
- Level 1 cache – 80 KB per core with 32 for instructions and 48 for data
- Level 2 cache – 1.25 MB per core
- Level 3 cache – Shared up to 24 MB
- Technology node – Intel 10 nm SuperFin
- Architecture and instructions – x86-64
- Microarchitecture – Willow Cove
- Number of cores – 2 to 8
- GPU – Integrated Intel Xe graphics
- Sockets – BGA 1449, BGA 1787
- Brand names – Intel Celeron, Intel Pentium Gold, Core i3, i5, i7, i9, and Intel Xeon W
- Predecessors – Mobile variants of Ice Lake and mobile and desktop variants of Comet Lake processors
- Successor – Alder Lake
The Intel Tiger Lake processors come with different features to offer reasonably high performance and the desired cost of ownership.
Though most of the variants come with the features and specs mentioned above, there are a few specific ones that have features that are slightly different and more advanced.
For example, some of the notable features of the Tiger Lake H processors in particular are:
- Ability to handle IoT workloads offers a higher computing experience for both single-threaded performance of up to 32% as well as multi-threaded performance of up to 65% along with 70% quicker graphics performance
- Higher PCIe 4 lanes on the CPU offer higher bandwidth and speed for I/O performance and allow for expansion of peripherals
- Four Thunderbolt 4 (USB 4) ports are integrated into the architecture that offer support for additional monitors and peripherals
- Intel Time Coordinated Computing (TCC) and Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) to support real-time computing workloads in real-time use cases
- The Intel Functional Safety Essential Design Package (FSEDP) offers much better and more functional safety solutions, technical documentation and certifications for developing safety-critical platforms in accordance with the safety standards of the industry.
Apart from that, there are also up to 30 high-speed and programmable I/O lanes on the Platform Controller Hub (PCH) that offer additional USB 3.1, PCIe Gen 3.0, and SATA 6 GB/s. These provide support for several different, extensive, high-speed controllers and accelerators such as:
- Storage controller
- Discrete graphics controller
- Ethernet controllers
Intel also provides different Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), tools, and libraries to help simplify real-time tuning of the open-source and proprietary systems.
Some of the few operating systems and real-time hypervisors include:
- ACRN hypervisor stack
- Kernel-based Virtual Machine or KVM
- Wind River VxWorks
- Real Time Systems
A few other top-line specifications of the processors include:
- Third-generation Intel 10 nm SuperFin technology node
- Up to 8 CPU cores with a maximum frequency of 4.7 GHz
- Industrial-rated embedded SKUs
- Up to 32 execution units
- Four 4K displays and one 8K display support up to 2 VD Boxes
- AI support
- Intel Deep Learning Boost support
- Wi-Fi 6E support
- Bluetooth 5.2 support
- Hardware-based device management and security
- Open source and commercial operating system support such as Linux and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise RS5
Is Tiger Lake a Good Processor?
Yes, the Tiger Lake processor is quite good to use for doing some serious and complex computing tasks that involve crunching in a lot of data and numbers or to handle heavy video encoding, if you are not playing games on it.
Though preferences may vary from one individual to another, here are some good reasons that make the Intel Tiger Lake CPUs a great option.
- Graphics – These processors use the Willow Cove architecture of Intel and most of them also come with the Intel Xe graphics integrated in them which enhances the GPU performance much more than the Intel Iris Plus graphics that are integrated into the 10th generation core chips.
- Use cases – These CPUs are specially designed to offer powerful performance when used in laptop computers.
- Connectivity – The chips offer better and more stable connectivity options in the form of Thunderbolt 4 and Wi-Fi 6.
- Upgraded architecture – Even with a 10 nm technology node similar to other generations, these processors come with an upgraded Willow Core architecture.
- Power and performance – The SuperFin design and its microarchitecture allow Tiger Lake to offer higher performance with much lower power consumption. This makes it perfect to use in the notebooks, extending their battery life.
- Speed – According to a statement from Intel, the Tiger Lake processors offer 20% faster performance, whether it is for doing basic or daily computing tasks, watching movies or web browsing, or for AI-related jobs using its AI engine.
- Display – The support offered by these processors for up to 8K HDR displays, apart from using up to four 4K displays together, gives another strong reason to use them.
Is Intel Tiger Lake Good for Gaming?
Yes, the Intel Tiger Lake processors are quite good for gaming, and in some cases, they may even support playing games at more than 60 Frames per Second (FPS) at a resolution as high as 1080p.
In fact, it is due to the ability of these CPUs to support gaming and other complex tasks based on AI that they have found a stronghold in the gaming laptop segment.
Several test results and benchmarks show that these processors are not only extraordinarily capable to handle gaming needs, but are also capable of supporting a lot of different CPU and GPU intensive content creation jobs, which the gamers are often likely to perform.
Tiger Lake vs Rocket Lake
- The Intel Tiger Lake processors are a bit older technology as compared to the Intel Rocket Lake processors, having a release date in September 2020 as opposed to March 2021 for the latter.
- The maximum CPU clock speed of the Intel Tiger Lake processors is up to 5 GHz, but in comparison, the maximum CPU clock speed offered by the Intel Rocket Lake processors is 5.3 GHz.
- The Level 2 cache size of the Intel Tiger Lake processors is 1.25 MB per core. On the other hand, the L2 cache of the Rocket Lake processors from Intel measures 512 KB per core.
- The shared Level 3 cache size of the Intel Tiger Lake processors is up to 24 MB, but in comparison, the L3 cache of the Intel Rocket Lake processors is up to 16 MB.
- The technology node of the Intel Tiger Lake processors is Intel’s 10 nm SuperFin, but in comparison, that of the Intel Rocket Lake processors is Intel’s 14 nm FinFET.
- The microarchitecture of the Tiger Lake CPUs from Intel is Willow Cove, but in comparison, the microarchitecture of the Intel Rocket Lake processors is Cypress Cove.
- The instruction set supported by the Intel Tiger Lake processors is x86-64 only, but in comparison, the Intel Rocket Lake processors support both x86 as well as x86-64 instruction set architectures.
- The Intel Tiger Lake processors support both BGA 1449 and BGA 1787 socket types. On the other hand, the Intel Rocket Lake processors support LGA 1200 sockets.
- The different brand names of the Intel Tiger Lake processors are Intel Celeron, Pentium Gold, Intel Core, and Xeon W. On the other hand, the brand names of the Intel Rocket Lake CPUs are Intel Core and Intel Xeon W.
- The predecessor of the mobile variants of the Intel Tiger Lake processors is Intel Ice Lake and for the mobile and desktop variants is Comet Lake. On the other hand, the predecessor of the Intel Rocket Lake processors is the Intel Comet Lake processors.
Tiger Lake Generation
The Intel Tiger Lake processors are officially known as the 11th generation Core CPUs available in Core i3, i5, i7, Core i9 and other variants.
As you can see from the article, Intel has made some major progress in the architecture of the Tiger Lake CPUs to offer high performance fast.
The features and functionalities of these processors are well received by the users, especially by laptop users, since they get reasonably high CPU and GPU performance.