Intel’s 11th-generation Core Secret: This time it’s all big moves

Sajjad Hussain
Sep 23 · 6 min read

Intel officially launched the 11th-generation Core mobile processor in September this year. This time Intel will fully bring the 10-nanometer SuperFin process to mobile processors, as well as a new Willow Cove core, Iris Xe graphics card, a new Core and Intel Sign. What are the changes in Intel’s 11th generation Core mobile processors for the consumer market this time? Let’s sort it out together.

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Process upgrade, micro-architecture update: performance surge

For Intel, the 11th generation Core mobile processor is a very innovative generation of processor products. The 11th generation Core processor has almost reconstructed the core architecture of the processor and the South Bridge architecture. The higher integration allows the 11th generation Core Mobile The processor can be smaller and thinner. This time, Intel will integrate the CPU part of the 11th generation Core with the South Bridge chip and provide PCIe 4.0 x4 interface and 12 PCIe 3.0 buses. This time, Intel’s 11th-generation Core mobile processors seem to have a certain tacit agreement with Nvidia in terms of PCIe interface improvement, because Nvidia just launched the MX450 standalone display based on PCIe 4.0 x4 bus not long ago.

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Let’s take a look at the 10-nanometer SuperFin process. This process can be said to be Intel’s most innovative change in the past few years. This time, Intel has integrated enhanced FinFET crystals and Super MIM capacitors into the 11th-generation Core mobile processor. A process guarantees that the 11th generation Core products can improve performance by more than 15% compared to the original 10nm products.

Intel adopted the Sunny Cove microarchitecture on the 10th-generation Core Ice Lake architecture. This time, the 11th-generation Core Willow Cove is further improved on the basis of Sunny Cove. The Willow Cove microarchitecture allows the 11th-generation Core mobile processors to reach up to 4 cores and 8 threads. The highest frequency can reach 4.8GHz, which is close to the main frequency of the 10th generation Core high-performance processor. Compared with the maximum frequency of 3.9GHz based on Sunny Cove’s 10th generation Core Ice Lake architecture, the performance improvement brought by the 11th generation Core this time is Leapfrog.

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This advantage will also be introduced in the Tiger Lake H processor to be released next year. Intel Vice President and General Manager of Customer Engineering and System Architecture Client Division Boyd Phelps confirmed in the Medium forum that Tiger Lake H will be released in 2021 , The maximum number of cores/threads at the same time reaches 8 cores and 16 threads. Tiger Lake performance for the thin and light notebook market has been greatly improved, and Tiger Lake H will naturally be the focus of many users in the future.

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With the advent of the 11th generation of Core Duo, we see that higher integration has further reduced the size of the PCB version, and the integration of various chips and controllers with different functions has become higher and higher, which allows manufacturers to produce smaller volumes , Thin and light product with fewer parts and lower power consumption. The 11th generation Core processor South Bridge chip integrates a new generation of Thunderbolt 4, USB 4, power management, touch controller, Wi-Fi 6 controller and many other components. While ensuring the application of new technologies, it also further optimizes the structure of the chip. .

In order to better improve the overall performance of notebook products, the Tiger Lake bus further increases the bandwidth and adopts a brand-new memory controller that supports up to 32GB LPDDR4X-4266 and 64GB DDR4–3200 memory to eliminate the performance bottleneck caused by memory.

Improved Xe graphics and AI capabilities, light and thin all-round players debut

Nowadays, processor capabilities are not limited to data processing. Smarter acceleration capabilities and hardware scheduling capabilities are also important criteria for measuring processor capabilities. In response to this, Intel has been experimenting with thin and light products. From the Iris graphics core to the DL Boost engine, these continue to enrich other functions of Intel processor products.

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This time when Intel launched the 11th generation Core mobile processor, it also showed the Xe graphics core. The 11th generation Core mobile processor equipped with the new Iris Xe graphics core is aimed at thin and light notebooks. Intel is matching the 11th generation Core mobile processor. Compared with the HP or HPC version, the display core of the Xe LP low-power version has lower power consumption, and can also take into account performance and battery life.

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Specifically, the Iris Xe graphics core of the 11th-generation Core has been expanded to 96 execution units compared with the Iris Plus in the 10th-generation Core Ice Lake product, an increase of 50%. The texture and pixel rendering capabilities reach 48 and 24 respectively. In terms of floating point performance, the performance of Iris Xe has reached 2.07 TFLOPs. This performance is basically on par with some of the thin and light independent display products. With the assistance of Willow Cove, the 11th generation Core mobile processor will have a very significant improvement in graphics performance.

The 11th generation Core mobile processor is based on a brand-new display engine, which can support 4 4K displays or 1 8K display output. In addition, the new encoder supports 4K@60FPS 10bit and 8K@30FPS 10bit video encoding, and the new IPU6 image processing engine It can achieve up to 4K@90FPS video playback.

In terms of AI, Intel introduced the DL Boost function in the 10th generation Core Ice Lake, and this function continues on the 11th generation Core. DL Boost is a deep learning acceleration instruction set launched by Intel. This set of instructions can use GPU to accelerate neural networks and provide faster response speeds for image enhancement, photo retrieval and other scenarios. This time, Intel provides the first instruction set DP4a on the 11th generation Core mobile processor, and for the first time provides native support for the INT8 data type, which can bring up to 5 times improvement in AI performance.

Lower power consumption, richer usage scenarios

On the 11th-generation Core, Intel provides two different packaging methods, which are high-performance processors with TDP up to 28W for thin and light notebooks and the Athena project, and low-power processors with TDP up to 15W for fanless notebook computers.

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In terms of products, Intel has launched as many as 9 11th-generation Core mobile processors. Among them, the Core i7–1185G7 processor, which has the leading performance in the same generation, is equipped with Intel Iris Xe graphics with 96 execution units. It adopts a 4-core 8-thread design with a base frequency of 3.0GHz, a maximum turbo frequency of 4.8GHz, and supports Intel DL Boost and GNA 2.0 AI technology.

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he new 11th-generation Core has brought us a richer application scenario, innovative technology and a smaller size, which make Intel’s 11th-generation Core very attractive in the thin and light notebook market. Manufacturers do not need to be complicated when designing new notebook products. Fans and heat pipes can achieve higher performance.

On the external interface, the 11th generation Core introduced Wi-Fi 6, Thunderbolt 4 interface, USB 4 interface, etc., which laid the foundation for the expansion of more scenarios for future notebooks.

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