Something to look forward to: Counting is a difficult skill for companies that are made of scientists and mathematicians and programmers. You know that Microsoft got to 10 and gave up, and that Apple forgot that 10 is a number and not a letter. So historically 10 is the difficult number. But the word on the street is, Intel have figured out how to count past it – correctly.
You’ll recall that AMD have never, in fact, counted to 10. When the Athlon processors reached the 9000-series, they invented the Ryzen architecture so they could start over. Nvidia did manage to get to 10 with only a few minor hiccups (who needs 8?) but then they thought the next number was 20 so they had to go back and add 16.
Intel is presently at the turning point: they’re halfway through the release of their 10th generation processors. The pressure is on. What will they call their next generation? A new Intel processor has appeared in the 3DMark database called the i7-1185G7. If it truly is a member of the 11th generation, then Intel will be the only computer hardware company to have developed basic numeracy.
In name, the Core i7-1185G7 is a flagship Tiger Lake processor. Tiger Lake is the successor to Ice Lake and a response to AMD’s new Renoir APUs. Like the Renoir APUs, Tiger Lake combines a CPU and a GPU on one chip to optimize efficiency in graphic-intensive tasks, like gaming. Like Renoir again, the combined CPU and GPU performance is enough for esports titles and lightweight video editing, but only just competitive with budget discrete solutions.
i7-1185G7— APISAK (@TUM_APISAK) April 3, 2020
Graphics Score - 1296
CPU Score - 2922 pic.twitter.com/kxuptBpPoh
According to the variety of appearances the i7-1185G7 has put in (under codenames, until now) it makes use of four Willow Cove CPU cores and 96 Xe GPU EUs. CPU clock speeds remain unknown however the “5” in its name suggests the i7-1185G7 will use 25W, so it’ll probably have a base clock just under 3 GHz and a boost clock around 5 GHz. The GPU is expected to operate at up to 1.5 GHz.
From the specs alone this processor seems to lean more towards the GPU side than the CPU side, which is the opposite of Renoir, so we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out in the real world.
Of course, that’s not all Tiger Lake has to offer. With Intel’s newfound counting skills (not that they’ve admitted to it yet, trade secrets and all) they’ve unlocked a whole range of new technologies. For example, they’ve figured out that four comes after three so now there’s PCIe 4.0 support. And USB 4.0. And Thunderbolt 4. And five comes after four, so they’re upgrading from DDR4 to LPDDR5. That could bring very serious performance improvements, but it’s still early days for LPDDR5 so not every system will make use of it. Tiger Lake can also be paired with miniature motherboards, pictured top.
If only they could count down from 10 when designing the physical dimensions (in nm) of the internal components of their processors. It seemed like they had got it sorted when they realized 14+++ is not a smaller number than 14 and they switched to 10. But they’ll be using 10++ for Tiger Lake.
Given Tiger Lake processors are now appearing under their own names, their release can only be months away. We'll have to wait and see.