Intel Unveils 'World's Fastest' Laptop CPUs: 5 Things To Know

Intel brings 5 GHz boost clock speeds to the masses with its new 10th-generation Core H-Series processors for gaming and content creation laptops, which an executive says will create new refresh opportunities for the channel, especially as people are stuck at home due to the coronavirus.

Intel Says New H-Series Creates New Refresh Opportunities For Channel

With the new 10th-generation Intel Core H-Series, the chipmaker has revealed what it's calling the "world's fastest" mobile processors, allowing gaming and content creation laptops to reach clock speeds of up to 5.3 GHz while pushing eight cores for multi-threaded workloads.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company's new laptop processors, code-named Comet Lake H, are coming out as its rival, AMD, is more competitive than ever in the mobile space, with more than 100 laptops expected to include AMD's Ryzen 4000 processors this year.

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For its part, Intel expects 10th-gen Core H-Series parts to go into more than 100 laptops for 2020, but that doesn't include the laptops that launched with the Ice Lake and Comet Lake variants of Intel's 10th-gen Core processor family last year.

With many people stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, Intel's Fredrik Hamberger said now is a prime time for new laptops, especially those optimized for gaming.

"You look at everything that's happening, it is a good release for a lot of people being able to get online, play some games, socialize even if it's still within the right distance and keeping safe," Fredrik Hamberger, Intel's general manager of premium and gaming laptops, said in a recent briefing. "A super relevant category at this point in time," he added.

What follows are five things Intel's channel partners should know about the new H-Series processors, including specifications, features, benchmark comparisons and laptops that will use the processors as well as how the pandemic is impacting rollout and what the refresh opportunity is.

New Core i7, i9 Processors Push 5 GHz Boost Speeds

When Intel announced its ninth-generation Core H-Series mobile processors would push boost clock speeds to 5 GHz in 2019, it marked a new level of performance, but it was something that customers could only get in the most expensive model, the Core i9-9980HK.

Now with the 10th-generation Core H-Series a year later, Intel is bringing 5 GHz boost clock speeds to a broader spectrum of customers. Out of the six processors in the new H-Series, four of them will feature single-core turbo frequencies of up to 5 GHz, three of which are Core i7 models.

But even with the two sub-5 GHz Core i5 processors at the bottom of the stack, they are still faster than the 4.4 GHz max boost clock of AMD's new flagship Ryzen 9 4900H mobile processor. At the same time, however, AMD's Ryzen 4000 H-Series parts have higher base block speeds than Intel's H-Series.

These high clock speeds make the processors well-suited for most computer games, including popular esports titles, and frequency-dependent content creation workloads like photo editing, according to Hamberger, Intel's general manager of premium and gaming laptops.

The complete Comet Lake H lineup is as follows: Core i9-10980HK (2.4 GHz base clock, 5.3 GHz turbo clock, eight cores, 16 threads, 16 MB cache), Core i7-10875H (2.3 GHz base, 5.1 GHz turbo, eight cores, 16 threads, 16 MB cache), Core i7-10850H (2.7 base, 5.1 turbo, six cores, 12 threads, 12 MB cache), Core i7-10750H (2.6 GHz base, 5 GHz turbo, six cores, 12 threads, 12 MB cache), Core i5-10400H (2.6 GHz base, 4.6 GHz turbo, four cores, eight threads, 8 MB cache), and Core i5-10300H (2.5 GHz base, 4.5 GHz turbo, four cores, eight threads, 8 MB cache). All of them have a 45-watt thermal design power.

A Good Refresh Opportunity For Three-Year-Old Laptops

Intel expects customers with three-year gaming and content creation laptops will be looking to buy new notebooks with improved performance this year because they are two of the fastest refreshing segments in the market, according to Hamberger, Intel's head of gaming and premium laptops.

"We see across the world a roughly two- to three-year lifecycle for most people," he said. "They refresh because they want better gameplay. They want faster editing. They want a richer and more immersive experience, and that's what gets them into the store to go and buy."

Out of the customers buying gaming laptops, Intel research found that 50 percent of them also use the notebooks for content creation. At the same time, 25 percent of gaming laptop purchasers use the devices for content creation only.

"So if you had a performance need, that's naturally what you gravitated to," Hamberger said.

Beyond designing the processors for gaming and content creation, Intel also optimized the new H-Series for productivity workloads and social web as well as high battery life, all within smaller form factors than what previous generations of Intel mobile processors have generated.

"When they're not using those super demanding tasks, they want to have great battery life. They want to have things that aren't sort of hot to the touch so they can easily sit in the sofa in their lap and use the device," Hamberger said.

New Laptops With The H-Series And How Coronavirus Will Impact Rollout

The new 10th-generation Intel Core H-Series processors were announced alongside new GeForce RTX 2070 and 2080 Super mobile graphics cards unveiled by Nvidia, and several OEMs have already showed off new high-performance laptops that will combine the two.

In all, Intel said it expects more than 100 laptops across consumer, commercial and workstation segments that come out this year will use the new H-Series processors, with more than half of them expected to launch before July. More than 30 of the designs will be ultra-thin laptops while another 30-plus will be designed specifically for content creation.

The OEMs that have announced new laptops with Intel's H-Series processors and Nvidia's GeForce RTX Super GPUs include Acer, Asus, Gigabyte, Lenovo, MSI and Razer. Among the new laptops are Acer's Triton 500 and Nitro 5, Asus' Zephyrus S17 and Scar 17, Gigabytes Aorus 17X and Aero 17 HDR, Lenovo's Legion 7i, MSI's Creator 17 and GS66, and Razer's Blade 15.

Hamberger, Intel's head of gaming and premium laptops, said the release of new systems will be staggered more than normal due to the impact to the coronavirus pandemic on supply chains across the world. However, he emphasized that more than 50 percent for new systems are due by July.

How The New H-Series Compares To Three-Year-Old CPUs

With the expectation that customers with three-year-old laptops plan to make new purchases this year, Intel provided performance comparison between the new H-Series processors and Intel processors that went into laptops from three years ago.

For the new flagship Core i9-10980HK, Intel said the processor can offer a 23-54 percent increase in frames per second for popular games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Assassin's Creed Odyssey when compared to the Core i7-7820HK, which didn't have an i9 counterpart in its generation. For overall performance, the new i9 can offer up to a 44 percent improvement while providing a up to a two-fold increase in 4K video rending and exporting compared to the same three-year-old CPU.

As for the Core i7-10750H, Intel said the processor can offer a 44 percent increase in frames per second for Assassin's Creed Odyssey, a 38 percent increase for Total War: Three Kingdoms, a 38 percent increase for F1 2019 and a 31 percent increase for World of Tanks encore when compared to the Core i7-7700HQ, which is the comparable product for the seventh generation of H-Series. For content creation, the new i7 can offer up to 70 percent faster 4K video exporting while providing up to a 33 percent improvement in overall performance compared to the same processor.

Hamberger noted that the performance improvement for gaming wasn't just from the CPU but the GPU as well since the comparisons weren't done using the same graphics cards.

New H-Series Features New Ways To Optimize CPU Performance

Among the new features of the 10th-generation Intel Core H-Series processors is Intel Turbo Max Technology 3.0, which automatically chooses the best performing cores in the processor to maximize performance for "bursty" workloads, as Intel calls it.

The new processors also come with Intel Speed Optimizer, which comes with a simple one-click method for overclocking the processor to maximize multi-threaded performance. In addition, they feature integrated Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 support for the first time in the H-Series.

As for other features, the H-Series will come with Intel Adaptix Tuning Technology and Intel Extreme Tuning Utility to dynamically tune the balance between performance and battery life. It will also support up to 128 GB in DDR4-2933 memory, up to 40 platform PCIe lanes, Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, Intel Optane memory and optimizations for discrete graphics cards.