Skip to main content

Intel offers a first look at its next-gen Tiger Lake processors and Xe graphics

Intel offers a first look at its next-gen Tiger Lake processors and Xe graphics


Architecture Day 2020 offers a preview of Intel’s future

Share this story

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Intel’s Architecture Day 2020 brought a first look at the company’s upcoming Tiger Lake processors, along with a more detailed preview of Intel’s foray into building its own GPUs with its upcoming Xe graphics — both of which promise to offer higher performance and lower power consumption than ever before.

Intel needs a big win

These new products are a big deal for Intel for a few reasons. Intel’s been forced on the defensive the past few years, with heightened competition from AMD; its recent 7nm Ryzen 4000 chips are already ahead of Intel’s 10nm Ice Lake chips from a manufacturing standpoint and, in many cases, outperform Intel’s offerings in laptops. Intel is also facing pressure from ARM, which is starting to chip away at Intel’s control over the major computing space, with major companies like Microsoft, Samsung, and Apple beginning to offer ARM computers.

And of course, Intel recently announced that it’d be delaying its 7nm chips until at least 2022 — a major setback for its upcoming hardware releases. Intel needs a big win this fall, to show its partners and consumers alike why it’s still a force to be reckoned with in the processor world.

The company’s upcoming Tiger Lake chips (expected to be Intel’s 11th Gen Core processors under the company’s current branded scheme) are Intel’s attempt to fight back against its increased competition. It’s powered by the company’s new Willow Cove architecture, which is built on a new “SuperFin” transistor that the company promises will offer a generational type of increase that a full node shift would have offered. That’s a big promise to make, but if Tiger Lake can meet that, it could be critical for Intel, given the 7nm delay.

Tiger Lake chips will offer dramatically better frequency speeds, while also drawing considerably less power

The result of the new 10nm SuperFin design, though, is that Intel promises Tiger Lake chips will offer dramatically better frequency speeds, while also drawing considerably less power. That means Intel will be able to offer chips that provide big performance boosts at the same voltage levels as today’s Ice Lake chips or offer comparable frequency rates while reducing power consumption.

Tiger Lake will also support a variety of new I/O standards out of the box, including Thunderbolt 4 and USB4, DDR5 RAM at up to 5400MHz (in addition to DDR4 at up to 3200MHz and LPDDR4X at up to 4767MHz), and PCIe Gen 4.0 (offering speeds of up to 8GB per second to memory).

Intel is promising a major improvement for integrated graphics with Xe-LP

Tiger Lake will also be the public debut of Intel’s Xe graphics — specifically the first generation of Intel’s Xe-LP integrated graphics, which will offer up to 96 EUs (a 50 percent increase) and promises to provide similarly substantial increases over the current Gen11 graphics offered alongside its 10th Gen Ice Lake chips in both improved performance and lower power consumption.

The Xe-LP graphics will obviously offer big improvements to gaming across Intel’s lineup (especially on devices that aren’t typically focused on gaming). Intel showcased modern AAA games like PUBG, Grid, Doom Eternal, and Battlefield V running smoothly at 1080p on integrated Xe-LP graphics and noted that games that only ran on a 25W system with Gen11 were now achievable on a 15W system with Xe-LP.

Xe-LP also promises better performance for creators and display performance, with support for up to 8K UHD with HDR10 and Dolby vision panels, up to 360Hz refresh rates, and up to two times the performance for encoding and decoding video.

But Xe-LP is only a part of Intel’s graphics strategy. The company also offered an update on its Xe-HP, the higher-powered version of its graphics architecture, with a demo showing off its video-encoding skills and promising a 2021 release window. Intel announced another graphics microarchitecture: Xe-HPG, which will focus specifically on gaming and might represent Intel’s first foray into actively competing with AMD and Nvidia for gaming-focused GPUs. Xe-HPG looks to combine aspects of the other Xe architectures and will be able to offer GPU-accelerated ray tracing when it starts shipping next year.

The company also announced that it has started production of its DG1 discrete graphics card (based on the same Xe-LP technology that’ll be featured in Tiger Lake), which is set to ship later this year. That GPU isn’t really the kind of high-end graphics card that you’d typically associate with the name. It’s effectively just the integrated GPU that Intel will be shipping with Tiger Lake offered as an external card, allowing for better cooling. It’s more of a proof-of-concept for Intel’s discrete GPU ambitions (which, as mentioned above, are extensive) than the next big thing in graphics.

Lastly, Intel previewed the next wave of its roadmap for 2021. Up next for its traditional microarchitectures is its 10nm Golden Cove cores, which promises further performance improvements, AI and 5G optimization, and increased security. Golden Cove will be a key part of the newly announced Alder Lake series, which is a performance-focused hybrid chipset that will succeed the recently released Lakefield hybrid chips.

The current Lakefield chips take a similar approach to ARM’s BIG.little technology, combining a mix of faster, more power-hungry core for performance with smaller cores for better efficiency. Today’s single Core-class Sunny Cove core (the same 10nm architecture the 10th Gen Ice Lake chips are based on) with four low-power Atom-class Tremont cores, Alder Lake will combine Golden Cove cores with Gracemont (the next-generation Atom cores, set to succeed Tremont) for even better performance and lower power consumption. That could potentially mean that Alder Lake could be coming to higher-powered laptops or even desktops in the future.

And remember: today’s news is only a high-level, technical look at Intel’s upcoming hardware. Expect a full reveal of the new Tiger Lake chips (which will feature integrated Xe-LP graphics) on September 2nd.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 24 Not just you

External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.

Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.

Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.

Andrew WebsterSep 24
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.

A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.

External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.

External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.