Intel finally launched its 10nm chips in the form of the Ice Lake mobile chips last year. Based on the Sunny Cove core and the Gen11 graphics, these CPUs are a major step up from the older 14nm Skylake design. You’ve got a markedly higher IPC, better graphics performance and improved AI capabilities. There are some drawbacks as well. For example, the power draw is higher than it should be and the operating clocks are not quite up to the mark either. This can be attributed to poor yields, something that should improve with time. Succeeding Ice lake will be Tiger Lake, another 10nm++ based design.
Tiger Lake will also be exclusive to the mobile market with the U and Y series. It’ll feature the Willow Cove core and the Gen12 Xe graphics architectures. That basically means even higher IPC, discrete GPU level graphics performance and thanks to the 14nm++ node, higher boost clocks, and improved power draw compared to Ice Lake. But what about the specifications?
Like its predecessor, expect Tiger Lake to be a quad-core chip, with up to 8 threads thanks to Hyperthreading. Where Ice Lake tops out at 3.9GHz (Core i7-1065G7), thanks to the more mature 10nm++ node, Tiger Lake should be able to reach speeds up to 4.4GHz using the same 25W power envelope.
The cache will also be increased to 12MB L3 and 1.25MB L2, per core for a total of 5MB. The L1 cache will be 48KB per core and 32KB per core instruction cache. This is a big step up from Intel’s traditional cache policy (50% more L3 cache compared to Ice lake). The company has been very stringent when it comes to the CPU cache size. AMD recently introduced something called GameCache with its Ryzen 3000 processors. Higher cache sizes direct link to improved gaming performance and lower latencies. The latter helps improve performance and reduce the power draw which is crucial in notebooks and small form factor devices.
The coming to the graphics. Tiger Lake will feature the Gen12 UHD graphics or the first iteration of the Xe architecture, with as many as 96 Execution Units. That will be a nifty boost of almost 50% over the Gen11 graphics featured in Ice Lake. The gaming performance should be in proximity to NVIDIA’s GTX 1050. This is the first time that a 15-25W lowe power notebook SoC will pack an iGPU this powerful. It should allow gaming at 720p to 1080p with ease. That’s all we know Tiger Lake at the moment. We’ll keep you posted as we hear more.