The combination of Intel’s ability to drive 10nm product onto the shelves coupled with silicon supply chain shortages has put into question exactly what might be coming into the market later this year on the client side of the business. A few weeks ago Intel stated that across the company five CPU platforms would be coming to market in 2021: Rocket Lake, Jasper Lake, Ice Lake Xeon, Alder Lake, and the Tiger Lake-H series of processors. Tiger Lake-H at 45W+ will come to market in Q2, however AnandTech has learned and confirmed that later in 2021 Intel will also be launching a refresh of its notebook 15-28W Tiger Lake-U processors as well, called TGL-R.

The original Tiger Lake-U family was launched in September 2020 using Intel’s 10nm SuperFin manufacturing process. The silicon design used four of Intel’s latest Willow Cove processor cores, with the top 28 W model offering a turbo frequency up to 4.8 GHz and a base frequency of 3.0 GHz. Tiger Lake also enables 96 execution units of the new Xe-LP graphics technology, up to 1350 MHz, with support for DDR4-3200 and LPDDR4X-4266.

Technically Intel stated that Tiger Lake-U also supported LPDDR5-5400 when the product was launched, however we have not seen a Tiger Lake-U design with this feature. A Tiger Lake-Refresh might have this key feature enabled with a new family of processors, alongside minor frequency increases as Intel is able to optimize its 10nm SuperFin manufacturing process.

During Intel’s presentation where TGL-U refresh was mentioned, it was specified that the refresh will only apply for 15-28 W processors. Earlier this year Intel launched TGL-H35, which is a misleading name as it uses the U-series processors but brings them up to 35 W (the name suggests a 45W H-series processor reduced in power, but it isn’t). Going on what was presented, these 35W versions of the U-series silicon will not get an equivalent refresh, at least based on this slide talking specifically about 2021.

There are two ways to think about Intel launching TGL-R.

First is that Intel has already announced that its next-generation Alder Lake processors, using a Core + Atom hybrid design, will be coming out later this year for mobile and desktop. That platform would seem to benefit heavily from having the high-efficiency Atom cores in notebook designs more than a TGL refresh. It would seem odd for Intel to offer a Tiger Lake-U refresh if Alder Lake was close to being ready; and so one might conclude that the mobile versions of Alder Lake are more of a late Q4 discussion.

The second is the LPDDR5 angle, assuming that is working. Intel may now have validated the silicon for LPDDR5-5600 which might not have been possible when TGL-U was launched, or LPDDR5 availability may now be at a level that Intel’s OEM partners can deploy it at a reasonable cost. A fully populated LPDDR5-5600 mobile processor would enable a peak memory bandwidth of 89.6 GB/s, which is 75% above DDR4-3200 or 31% above LPDDR4X-4267. For graphics workloads, this would surely boost performance.

If Intel doesn't have LPDDR5 systems with TGL-R, then we fully expect the new line of processors to solely have frequency updates.

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  • GoldenBullet - Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - link

    " A fully populated LPDDR5-5600 mobile processor would enable a peak memory bandwidth of 89.6 GB/s, which is 75% above DDR4-3200 or 31% above LPDDR4X-4267. For graphics workloads, this would surely boost performance."

    The increase in performance could be immaterial or negative. A ryzen Mobile cpu in general performs better with 3200 ddr instead of lp 4200mhx ddr because the later has horrible latency. It's a shame the article doesn't mention the importance of latency. Just YouTube search for this, that's how I found out.
  • cyrusfox - Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - link

    Is Xe as latency sensitive as Ryzen iGPU? I haven't seen that. Ryzen has always had some interesting memory dependencies that Intel doesn't seem to respond to as strongly. I am looking forward to reviews and launch of the 8 cores TGL. Also what iGPU is going to come with Alder? we looking at the same 96EU top end? Really want to see Intels plan on the GPU space on the consumer side, we all need the competition.
  • Spunjji - Wednesday, April 28, 2021 - link

    I understand that Alder will have 96EU for the "U" class devices and 48EU for the "H" class devices.
  • Santoval - Saturday, May 1, 2021 - link

    Alder Lake will have a variant of Xe iGPU which will probably also max at 96 EUs. I doubt Intel can add more EUs since the dies will be large enough already due to the extra cores.
  • Spunjji - Wednesday, April 28, 2021 - link

    CPU or GPU performance? AFAIK the GPU on these chips benefits from the higher bandwidth of LPDDR while the CPU prefers the lower latency of DDR. They'd likely not lose much on the CPU side, but the GPU might get closer to the performance levels they were claiming before TL released.

    We don't know how the changes made to LPDDR5 would affect this picture, either.
  • Fulljack - Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - link

    that's cool and all but where is Tiger Lake-H with 8 cores?

    PS: no Intel, Tiger Lake-H35 doesn't count. you know full well it's just amped up version of Tiger Lake-U
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - link

    That was always going to be a Q2’21 launch. Typically the H press embargo date is in April, so either it will happen by the end of this week, or the launch will slide to May-June. The latter seems likely given Intel’s record with 10nm product launches.
  • drothgery - Wednesday, April 28, 2021 - link

    FWIW, an article just popped up at Tom's strongly suggesting a May 11 launch.
  • Yojimbo - Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - link

    Alder Lake is on 10 nm enhanced superfin, Tiger Lake is on 10 nm superfin. That's most likely the reason for the Tiger Lake refresh. Intel sees a market for what Tiger Lake can offer. That is, they expect these chips to be bought no matter if they are Tiger Lake or Alder Lake, but if they are Tiger Lake they don't have to upgrade the process to advanced superfin. So they make more money. It most likely doesn't have much to do with Alder Lake's performance or potential.
  • defaultluser - Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - link

    And meanwhile, Intel would ;like you to look over here and forget that it' going to be another three months before you can buy Tiger Lake H

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