Intel officially confirmed plans to launch high-performance Tiger Lake-H processors with up to eight cores back in September, and while we are eager to learn more about their specifications, the main question about these CPUs is when they will be available. Recently an anonymous tester from Taiwan ran a benchmark of an engineering sample of the chip, indicating these processors are already in the wild and being tested by various companies from the supply chain.
As discovered by technology enthusiast Tum_Apisak, someone from Taiwan ran UserBenchmark on a system called Insyde TigerLake based on an eight-core CPU. The 'U3E1' processor is said to feature a 3.10 GHz base clock and a 2.75 GHz turbo clock, which cannot be correct. Given the wrong frequencies and generally mixed reputation that UserBenchmark has among enthusiasts, actual benchmark results are barely important (since they are most probably wrong). What is important is that someone from Taiwan is already testing a laptop based on an eight-core Tiger Lake-H processor.
Intel's Tiger Lake-H processors with up to eight Willow Cove cores feature a massive (up to) 24 MB LLC to maximize effective memory bandwidth as well as single-thread performance. Like all modern 'H'-series CPUs, Tiger Lake-H will feature a very basic version of Xe-powered UHD Graphics with all the advantages this architecture offers when it comes to media encoding/decoding and display outputs. The TGL-H CPUs are designed for high-end laptops and low-power compact desktops, so expect them to feature a 45 W TDP, which will peak at 65 W (based on Intel's claims about capabilities of the Tiger Lake design). The peak TDP will be particularly useful for compact desktops as well as desktop replacement notebooks.
This is the first confirmation that Intel has started to sample its codenamed Tiger Lake-H processors to partners. At present, it is hard to say when exactly the company plans to officially launch its eight-core Tiger Lake-H CPUs, but it is reasonable to expect these chips to arrive sometime in 2021.
Intel traditionally feels relatively comfortable on the laptop market. However, the company's position got significantly weaker after AMD launched its Zen 2-based Ryzen Mobile 4000H-series processors, which offer great performance compared to Intel's Comet Lake-H CPUs. Without any doubt, Ryzen Mobile 4000 (both H and U-series), in general, was a massive success for AMD. But since Intel spends a great deal of time and money helping PC makers design their laptops and because of certain inertness of decision making, the company's sales were barely hit by AMD's H-series Ryzen Mobile 4000 processors.
But now that PC makers have experience with AMD's high-end mobile platform, the number of design wins with the Ryzen Mobile 4000H CPUs and their successors will increase significantly in the upcoming cycle. That said, to maintain sales of its mobile CPUs for higher-end notebooks, Intel will have to offer something better than the Comet Lake-H, which essentially makes Tiger Lake-H a rather important product for the company.