Intel Just Announced the 11th-Gen Mobile CPUs We’ve Been Waiting For

Intel Just Announced the 11th-Gen Mobile CPUs We’ve Been Waiting For
Image: Intel

Intel’s new 11th-gen H-Series mobile processors will join the ones it announced during CES 2021, bringing the total to six. The new mobile processors are designed for ultraportable gaming laptops, as well as content creation-focused machines and mobile workstations.

Unlike the Intel Core i7-11375H and the rest of the 11th-gen chips already in laptops like the Acer Predator Triton 300 and MSI Prestige 14 Evo, these CPUs will have more than four cores and eight threads. They’re designed to be direct successors to Intel’s 10th-gen mobile processors and are more powerful. In short, these are the 11th-gen mobile processors we’ve been waiting for.

These chips are built on the same 10nm SuperFin architecture, and they still support Resizeable BAR, Wi-Fi 6/6E, Thunderbolt 4, and PCIe 4.0. The top-of-the-line Core i9-11980HK is overclockable too, which should pair nicely with the simplified overclocking tools Intel announced previously for its desktop processors, including the ability to overclock your DRAM without going into the BIOS. Intel enabled that feature in its Extreme Tuning Utility with the release of its 11th-gen desktop CPUs.

The new processors will support up to 360Hz FHD displays and 120Hz 4K displays, as well.

Intel is releasing five new SKUs for the consumer market:

  • Core i9-11980HK: 8-core/16-thread, base clock 2.6GHz (max turbo boost 5.0GHz on 1-2 cores, 4.9GHz on four cores, 4.7GHz on six cores, 4.5GHz on eight cores), support for up to DDR4 3200Hz memory
  • Core i9-11980H: 8-core/16-thread, base clock 2.5GHz (max turbo boost 4.9GHz on 1-2 cores, 4.8GHz on four cores, 4.6GHz on six cores, 4.4GHz on eight cores), support for up to DDR4 3200Hz memory
  • Core i7-11800H: 8-core/16-thread, base clock 2.3GHz (max turbo boost 4.6GHz on 1-2 cores, 4.5GHz on four cores, 4.4GHz on six cores, 4.2GHz on eight cores), support for up to DDR4 3200Hz memory
  • Core i5-11400H: 6-core/12-thread, base clock 2.7GHz (max turbo boost 4.5GHz on 1-2 cores, 4.3GHz on four cores, 4.1GHz on six cores), support for up to DDR4 3200Hz memory
  • Core i5-11260H: 6-core/12-thread, base clock 2.6GHz (max turbo boost 4.4GHz on 1-2 cores, 4.2GHz on four cores, 4.0GHz on six cores), support for up to DDR4 3200Hz memory

None of these new processors will have Iris Xe graphics, which are the integrated graphics Intel offers on its 4-core 11th-gen processors for productivity laptops. Every CPU model will be outfitted with the less powerful UHD graphics (32 execution units compared to Iris’ 96 EUs). Seems a little strange not to use Iris Xe graphics, but considering these latest H-series chips will be paired with discrete graphics cards, it sort of makes sense to ditch Iris Xe, especially if it helps bring the cost down of the individual processor a bit.

However, in a press briefing, Intel clarified that the UHD graphics in its new 11th-gen mobile chips is actually based on Xe architecture, just not branded as Xe.

“It’s a UHD-branded product, but it’s using Xe architecture as its core and its base,” Intel said.

This could be because the EUs in the integrated UHD graphics have far less EUs than Iris, so it wouldn’t make sense to brand it as such if it’ll be less powerful. Regardless, these new chips will be put in gaming and portable workstation laptops, so a more powerful integrated GPU isn’t necessary.

In terms of overall performance, Intel said its Core i9-11980HK is 5-21% faster compared than its i9-10980HK, and claims it’s 11-26% faster than AMD’s Ryzen 9 5900HX. The company made an even bolder claim that its new Core i5-11400H is of near-equivalent performance to AMD’s Ryzen 9 5900HS. Seems like a nice improvement over Intel’s previous generation, although I do wonder how hot the 11th-gen chips will get. (The 10th-gen chips get quite toasty.)

I am a tad sceptical of Intel’s performance claims compared to AMD’s, considering the Ryzen 9 5900HS is an 8-core, 16-thread mobile processor with a base clock of 3.0GHz and a boost clock of 4.6GHz, which is higher than the Core i5-11400H. We pitted the Ryzen 9 5980HS against Intel’s Core i7 1185G7 in the past, and the Ryzen surpassed the Core chip in both single-core and multi-core processing. That Intel chip has a 4.8GHz boost clock too, the same as the 5900HS, but we’ll see how that pans out once we get our hands on a review unit.

Intel didn’t announce a release date, but that will be up to the laptop makers who include the new chips in their new models, so watch this space for some more announcements.