Intel promises that it’s 11th-gen Core “Tiger Lake” processors offer up to twice the graphics performance of the company’s 10th-gen chips, a more modest boost in CPU performance, and other improvements. But how well do they measure up in terms of real-world performance?
A few weeks ago the first reviews started to appear and things looked promising... but those reviews were all based on Intel reference design laptops using the most powerful Tiger Lake processor.
Now Asus the first real-world reviews of actual laptops you’ll be able to buy are starting to pop up, and things still look pretty good for Intel… but not quite as good as the reference design reviews might have led you to believe.
Here’s the thing: obviously a processor is one of the most important elements of any computer. But it’s not the only important thing, and decisions about which processor to use, how it’s cooled, what kind of memory, storage, and other hardware it’s paired with can all have an impact on real-world performance.
So can how you use it. And that might explain why The Verge reports that an Asus ZenBook 14 UX425 laptop with an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor gets 7 hours and 20 minutes of battery life during daily work, while Notebook Check got almost twice as much run time from the same laptop.
Both sites report better CPU performance than typical laptops with 10th-gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 processors, but laptops like the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 with AMD Ryzen 7 4800U chips seem to come out ahead in some CPU-specific or general performance tests.
The Asus laptops do seem to have the lead when it comes to graphics. Intel seems to have delivered on its promise to bring a huge improvement to its integrated GPU. But these still aren’t exactly gaming laptops. More demanding games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy XV are said to be a bit too much for the notebook. Older games are likely more playable, especially on reduced graphic settings.
And of course, not all Tiger Lake laptops will be equal.
Asus has at least 19 new laptops featuring 11th-gen Intel Core chips on the way, and in addition to the Asus ZenBook 14 UX425, the company has sent out review units of several other laptops to a handful of tech journalists. Here are some of the reviews I’ve found so far:
- Asus ZenBook S UX393EA review – UltraBook Review
- Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371 review – Tom’s Hardware
- Asus ZenBook 13 S review – Tom’s Hardware
Interestingly, all of these laptops feature the same Core i7-1165G7 processor, because PC makers have a habit of sending their best gear to reviewers rather than the entry-level or mid-range models that many customers might prefer to buy.
That means these reviews look at laptops that will sell for around $1000 to $1500 when they go on sale in the coming weeks. I’ll be curious to see what performance looks like on more affordable devices with less powerful Tiger Lake chips.
But even on laptops with the same high-end processor, performance seemed to vary – Tom’s Hardware found that its ZenBook 13 S got nearly 14 hours of battery life, for example, but it was slower than laptops with Core i7-1065G7 or Ryzen 7 4700U chips at transcoding a 4K video to 1080p.
Will you be posting any videos on youtube like you did with the GPD Win Max of you gaming which gave us a good laugh?
This is the tell-all:
“Performance sustainability is not that great as well. When running CineBench R15 xT in a loop, the high initial score of 863 points would drop by as much as 25 percent over time. The Core i7-1065G7 in the Dell XPS 13 7390 2-in-1 would behave almost identically.”
That quote comes straight out of the more flattering NotebookCheck article. All in all, Tiger Lake is Ice Lake with some process efficiency improvements and a much-needed graphics upgrade. Yet even games are a loss. Here again NotebookCheck doesn’t hold back:
“Frame rates when running Witcher 3, DOTA 2, or GTA V are all noticeably slower than the AMD-powered Yoga Slim 7 despite what our 3DMark results above suggest.”
I would bet anything they likely optimized their drivers to the benchmark but not to actual real-world gaming performance.
Tiger Lake is not at all the slam dunk checkmate win over Renoir-based Ryzen 4000 that Intel’s marketing department made it out to be. If anything, at best, it’s a stalemate, and if you need multicore performance, it’s an out-and-out complete loss.
And with Zen 3 laptops just half a year out, I would strongly discourage anyone from buying Tiger Lake. Unless you have a specific feature need that is only found on an Intel model of laptop, buy Zen 2/Renoir now or wait for Zen 3/Cezanne next year.
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