Intel and Nvidia announce new 11th-gen laptop CPUs and RTX GPUs -
May 11, 2021 2 mins, 54 secs
Tiger Lake H!

Bad news: your gaming laptop is officially last-gen.

Intel is debuting their Tiger Lake H CPUs, bringing their 10nm process to high-performance 45W processors ideal for gaming or content creation, while Nvidia announced two new mobile graphics cards, the RTX 3050 and 3050 Ti.

Let's cover Nvidia's announcements first, as the company is doing something a bit unusual here: they're announcing two new laptop GPUs with no desktop equivalents (yet).

Previously, you'd be lucky to find an RTX-equipped gaming laptop for much less than $1000, but now RTX machines will start at around $800 - and sales towards the end of the year, eg Black Friday, will no doubt bring that figure down even further.

In terms of performance, things will likely depend quite significantly on the TDP of the part, which can be adjusted by laptop makers anywhere from 35W to 80W.

With the Max-P and Max-Q branding used by past generations put out to pasture, it will be important for potential buyers of these laptops to look at reviews from trusted sources or to at least scope out these power and frequency numbers to get a sense of the performance they can expect.

We don't have a full sense of actual performance right now, with Nvidia sharing just a few fps numbers for a handful of games at 1080p, medium settings with RT and DLSS enabled.

The theme for RTX 30-series laptop cards has generally been offering the same performance at a lower tier, so with any luck the 3050 Ti will resemble the RTX 2060 Super and the 3050 in turn the 2060, but we'll have to wait until these laptops hit the desks of reviewers before we see how representative Nvidia's numbers really are.

The launch of Nvidia's 30-series laptop GPUs earlier this year left the company in something of an awkward spot, as they didn't have a new 45W part ready to compete against AMD's Ryzen 5000 for laptops - so instead, the company had to continue offering its 10th-generation CPUs.

These chips still performed fine, but it's only now that Team Blue has a proper counter to Ryzen 5000: Tiger Lake H.

Combined with new techniques to keep sustained clock speeds higher, despite lower maximum boost clocks, the company is claiming that 11th-gen will be quite a significant upgrade for gaming in particular.

The Core i9s are probably the most likely to be configured at that 65W "ultimate performance" level, and also have access to Turbo Boost Max 3.0, a technology that identifies and boosts the two best-performing cores - up to 5.0GHz for the 11980HK and 4.9GHz for the 11900H.

As well as faster out-and-out CPU performance, Tiger Lake H also includes support for PCIe 4.0 (something missing from Ryzen 5000 on mobile), with 20 lanes available off the CPU (x16 for graphics and x4 for an SSD).

The graphics side of the equation has also been upgraded to use Intel's Xe architecture, although gaming laptops will likely use dedicated graphics like Nvidia's 30-series GPUs, above, and the graphics is still branded as 'UHD Graphics' with no mention of Xe.

If those results are emblematic of gaming performance more generally, then 11th-gen could be quite a rebuttal to AMD's burgeoning laptop empire.

So there we have it - new CPUs, new GPUs and plenty of specs and features to test in the future.

An earlier version of this article referred to Intel's new Tiger Lake H laptop CPUs by the wrong codename.

Intel and Nvidia announce new 11th-gen laptop CPUs and RTX GPUs

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