Intel are claiming some nice performance improvements with their new 11th gen Tigerlake processors. I’ve put this to the test by comparing the 10th gen Ice Lake i7-1065G7 against the 11th gen Tiger Lake i7-1165G67 in games and applications to see what the differences are, apart from the crazy names.
These are the differences in specs between these two processors. Both are 4 core 8 thread parts based on 10nm, however the newer 11th gen version uses an improved superfin architecture and has more cache, and is able to reach higher turbo speeds. The 11th gen chip also has a slightly higher 28 watt TDP compared to 25 watts for the 10th gen. 11th Gen also supports higher memory speeds.
I’ve done all my testing with the Razer Blade Stealth 13 gaming laptop, and in CPU only workloads I found both to run at Intel spec, so we should be in for a fair comparison, but please note these processors can have lower wattage in lower end laptops which will affect results. These lower wattage processors aren’t commonly used in gaming laptops, so using the Blade Stealth will also allow me to compare games as they’ve both got GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q graphics at 35w, plus it also means these CPUs are in the same chassis for a fair comparison.
We’ll start with some processor intensive applications like rendering and video editing first, then move onto gaming performance afterwards.
Starting off with everyone’s favourite Cinebench R20, we can see straight away that the 11th gen 1165G7 is offering some nice improvements. The multicore score was 33% higher despite both still being 4 core 8 thread configurations. The 11th gen chip was also scoring 19% better in single core, a decent boost in just one generation. Geekbench also has a single core test, and in this one the 11th gen chip was scoring almost 25% higher, so it seems that the higher clock speed is a bit more useful in this test. Multicore speed on the other hand was 19% faster on 11th gen, so not quite as good as Cinebench multicore but still good gains. V-Ray uses the processor to render out a scene. This is a multicore test and the 11th gen chip was scoring 26% higher than 10th gen, another nice improvement. The Corona benchmark also uses the processor to render a scene, and there was a similar difference with the 11th gen chip completing the task almost 29% faster than 10th gen. Handbrake was used to convert a 4K video file that I shot to 1080p. Like many of the other multicore workloads, the 11th gen processor was performing this task 26% faster than 10th gen. 7-Zip was used to test compression and decompression speeds. Again we can see 11th gen was doing better here, scoring 13% higher in decompression and 29% faster in compression. Adobe Premiere was tested by exporting one of my 4K laptop reviews, and the 11th gen laptop was completing the video export just 6% faster than the 10th gen, which was about a minute faster in this specific test, so not too much change. Adobe Premiere was also tested but with the Puget Systems benchmark tool, which tests for more things than just export times like live playback. This time there was a much larger difference, the 11th gen processor was reaching a 54% higher score here, so 11th gen will be more useful in the actual editing process but not so much in the export. I’ve also used the Puget Systems test with Adobe Photoshop. This test typically favours single core performance, which may help explain why the 11th gen laptop was scoring 69% higher than the 10th gen laptop, nice. Even so, this is a pretty huge difference, and the biggest I’ve seen out of any of my tests.
Difference in all Applications
These are the differences when looking at all of these tests, so overall there are definitely some nice gains present with the 11th gen chip, and it’s going to be interesting to see what happens if Intel moves this to higher core count chips, if that happens then Ryzen could have some competition.
To compare temperatures I’ve run the Aida64 CPU stress test on both laptops. Both have the same cooling design and were tested in a 21 degree celsius ambient room temp, so results should be comparable, and the 11th gen machine was running warmer. These are the clock speeds being reached during these tests, so although the 11th gen chip is 7 degrees Celsius warmer, it’s also running more than 700MHz higher over all 4 cores, a fairly significant improvement and one that I think justifies the extra heat - at least it’s a trade off I’d be happy making. This is all while only having a 3 watt higher TDP when compared to the 1065G7 which runs with the slightly lower 25 watt limit.
As both laptops have the same sized battery, we can also fairly compare battery life. The tiger lake system was lasting for longer, perhaps due to the efficiencies introduced with the newer platform.
Now let’s check out games. There aren’t actually all that many gaming laptops with these processors as they’re designed for thinner and lighter machines. This also means they’re generally paired with lower tier graphics. Both Razer Blade Stealth machines I’ve tested have Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q graphics capped at 35 watts. I’ve focussed on 720p results here as these are more relevant to CPU performance.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the games benchmark. I’ve got the older 10th gen 1065G7 shown by the purple bars, and the newer 11th gen 1165G7 shown by the red bars. The 11th gen laptop was doing better regardless of setting level. At max settings where we’re generally more GPU bound though, the 11th gen chip was 7% faster, however at minimum settings which often depends more on the processor 11th gen was 22% faster.
Control had basically no difference between the two processors regardless of the setting level in use. The 11th gen processor was just 2 FPS ahead of the 10th gen one at low settings, so just a 2% difference, but then they’re even closer together at higher setting levels, definitely not a difference you’ll notice in practice. CS:GO on the other hand is a game that depends more on the processor. Interestingly the 1% lows were actually a little higher with the 10th gen chip, however the average FPS was a fair bit higher on 11th gen, with a 17% boost at max settings, or larger 28% boost at minimum settings, the biggest change out of all 13 games tested. Dota 2 was tested in the middle lane with bots, and is another CPU dependent game that was doing much better on the 11th gen CPU, particularly at the highest setting level where it was reaching a 25% higher average frame rate. The gap was lower at the lower setting levels, with the 1165G7 less than 5% ahead of 10th gen. Overwatch is another esports title. Almost zero difference with both at the highest epic setting preset, both for 1% low and average FPS, however the gap widens as we step the setting level down. With low settings the 11th gen CPU was reaching 17% higher average FPS when compared to 10th gen. Apex Legends was tested with either minimum or max settings as it doesn’t have predefined setting presets. The 11th gen chip was 10% better at minimum settings in average FPS, however the difference in 1% low was larger, the 11th gen processor was 23% higher here. Call of Duty Modern Warfare was tested in the same manner, though the performance gap was much smaller this time, just a one FPS or so difference in the averages, so basically no change. I wasn’t able to test the newer Assassin’s Creed Valhalla as it came out after I returned the 10th gen laptop, but looking at the previous Odyssey game we can see there are fair improvements on 11th gen here, as this is more of a CPU heavy test. The 1165G7 was 13% faster at minimum settings, and 11% ahead at max.
Battlefield V was a bit strange. The performance from the 10th gen machine was very inconsistent at ultra for some reason and I’m not exactly sure why. The differences in other setting levels make more sense, so I’m going to treat the 1065G7 result at ultra settings as an outlier. Again I returned that machine a little while ago so couldn’t retest.
Borderlands 3 was tested with the games benchmark tool. The 11th gen CPU was ahead for both 1% lows and average FPS regardless of setting level, though like most other games the performance gap narrows in at higher setting levels, presumably as these are more GPU heavy.
Red Dead Redemption 2 was also tested with the games benchmark. This game needs more than 4 gig of VRAM to run at ultra settings which the 1650 Ti Max-Q graphics does not have, so that wasn’t tested. At high settings though the 11th gen system was 14% higher than 10th gen. Rainbow Six Siege had some above average improvements with 11th gen, mainly in the average frame rates, as 1% low changes were smaller. With the highest ultra setting preset, 11th gen was reaching 13% higher average FPS, or 12% higher at low settings. The Witcher 3 was basically the same in terms of average FPS regardless of the setting level in use. In general though 1% lows had an edge with the 11th gen system at lower setting levels.
Difference in all Games
On average out of all 13 games tested, at max settings the 11th gen CPU was 16% faster than the 10th gen CPU in terms of average FPS, however as we can see there’s definitely something wrong with that battlefield 5 performance on the 10th gen laptop. Unfortunately I don’t have it anymore for retesting, so by treating it as an outlier and removing it we’re instead looking at an 8% boost to average FPS with the 1165G7. Some CPU heavy titles like CS:GO and Dota 2 had large improvements, while many others like Control or The Witcher 3 had no change. I’ve also compared all 13 games but with minimum settings instead, as this is generally where the difference in CPU matters more. By comparing these results, the 11th gen processor was now almost 10% faster in average frame rate, so a little higher than the differences seen at max settings with the battlefield 5 result removed. I’m also going to compare these two processors with an eGPU setup in a future review, so make sure you’re subscribed for that one.
Intel 11th gen also introduces their newer Xe graphics. In the case of the Razer Blade Stealth, the integrated graphics doesn’t really matter as there are Nvidia discrete graphics, but for most other laptops with these chips that likely won’t be the case. Unfortunately I didn’t test the integrated graphics with the 10th gen Blade Stealth when I had it a few months ago, but I will instead compare the Xe graphics with AMD’s Vega graphics in the 4800U in an upcoming video, so again, make sure you’re subscribed for that.
When we look at the price differences of the specific laptop I’ve tested here, they’ve got the same $1800 USD price, however the 10th gen model is currently on sale for $200 less. If you’re doing CPU heavy work then paying 12.5% more money for sometimes 20% plus boosts to multicore workloads could be worthwhile.
At the same time, if you’re serious about processor performance on the go you could get a laptop with more cores that’s not too much bigger for less money, so it really depends what your priority is.
Intel has made some nice improvements with Tiger Lake compared to Ice Lake. This is in part due to the higher clock speeds and additional cache with Tiger Lake, but also the architecture improvements. When we first got 10nm parts, Ice Lake just wasn’t very impressive compared to what we had before. Tiger lake on the other hand is looking much better comparatively, hopefully we can get more than 4 core options in future. Let me know which of these two CPUs you’d pick in your next laptop and why down in the comments.