New Ultra-Thin Gaming Laptops Target Balance Of Power And Portability

Intel doesn't think gaming has to mean clunky rigs anymore, and has a bunch of ultraportable laptops on the way in 2021 to prove it.

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When it comes to gaming hardware, 'big' is the description that most often applies, whether it's the original Xbox or the latest Nvidia RTX 3090 card. High-fidelity gaming takes a lot of horsepower, which often means you'll also be dealing with large hardware. But Intel is trying to change our minds at CES 2021 with its next set of laptop processors, enabling gaming on the thinnest and lightest laptops yet.

Intel hopes to do this with its 11th-gen Tiger Lake-H CPUs and Intel's own Xe graphics tech. Intel has three chips on the way that will make up this segment of its market: The Core i7-11375H Special Edition, i7-11370H, and i5-11300H. These are four-core, eight-thread CPUs that each draw 28-35W of power, compared to 35-45W for the 10th-gen laptop processors. The four-core count is a reduction from the previous generation's six-core models, which Intel says was necessary to fit the chip into the same space.

These chips are built on Intel's Tiger Lake H35 10nm architecture, which means that they support Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, Intel's Xe graphics architecture, Wi-Fi 6/6E, PCIe Gen 4, and Resizable BAR. If you follow PC tech, you may have come across this with AMD's Smart Access Memory. Similarly, Resizable BAR allows the CPU to allocate an optimal amount of video memory instead of having to do it in smaller 256MB chunks. That lets the CPU and discrete GPU move data around more quickly, which translates to better graphics performance and loading times. Nvidia recently announced its plans to support Resizable BAR, too. The Core i7-11375H SE also features Intel Turbo Boost 3.0, which lets the CPU shoot up to 5GHz frequency on a single core.

Compared to previous generations, these systems will squeeze more power out of each watt, which allows them to be thinner and lighter. They won't be the most powerful systems on the market; Intel says it has 8-core CPUs shipping "later this quarter" which will likely fill that market segment. The focus here is on marrying gaming and portability.

Intel says to expect to see these CPUs in laptops from Asus, MSI, HP, Dell, and more.

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