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Intel’s new chips will power the next-gen M1 MacBook Air rivals

Published May 31st, 2021 7:31AM EDT
11th-Gen Intel Core U-Series
Image: Intel

Intel announced a few weeks ago the brand new 11th-gen Intel Core H-series processors (Tiger Lake-H) that will power plenty of laptop models this year. Various notebook vendors have already announced new designs based on the new Core H-Series chips, which will compete directly against the MacBooks featuring Apple’s M-series processors.

Intel announced at Computex 2021 on Monday two additions to the list of 11th-gen Intel chips, the new U-series processors that will power “thin-and-light” Windows laptops this year. These devices will go head to head against the M1 MacBook Air, which is the thinnest and lightest MacBook there is — Apple is already rumored to launch a redesigned Air model this year, featuring a brand new M-series processor.

Intel added the Core i7-1195G7 and Intel Core i5-1155G7 to its family of 11th-gen Intel Core processors, labeling the chip the “world’s best processor for thin and light Windows laptops.”

The Core i7 variation will deliver speeds of up to 5GHz in thin and light designs, a first for the industry. Intel says the new U-series chips will also offer a 25% overall application performance advantage compared to the competition. But it’s important to note that the competition here is made of AMD designs that can also power thin and light Windows devices.

New Intel 5G Solution 5000 modem specs. Image source: Intel

The M1 System-on-Chip (SoC) powers macOS laptops and notebooks. While Intel doesn’t provide any comparisons between the new 11th-gen Intel Core U-series chips and Apple’s SoC, it’s likely such comparisons will follow as soon as vendors start selling new U-series-powered machines.

The new chips will also come with Intel Iris Xe graphics built-in, Wi-Fi 6/6E support, and optional 5G connectivity. Intel may have gotten out of the 5G modem business, but it’s still looking at offering 5G experiences to buyers. The Intel 5G Solution 5000 is the first “first 5G product for the next generation of PC experiences.” The M2 5G modem seen above is made in collaboration with MediaTek and Fibocom.

Various laptop makers will incorporate the new chips in new designs this year, complete with 5G connectivity, including Acer, Asus, and HP. More than 60 designs based on the two new chips are expected in stores by this holiday season. Nearly 250 designs powered by the 11th-gen Intel Core U-series are expected by this holiday season.

11th-gen Intel Core U-series gaming performance vs. AMD Ryzen 7. Image source: Intel

Finally, these new MacBook Air rivals running on the Intel Core i7-1195G7 and Intel Core i5-1155G7 processors are expected to support 1080p gameplay and better gaming performance than their AMD Ryzen 7-based counterparts. Again, there’s no comparison with M1 MacBooks in Intel’s presentation. But gaming hasn’t exactly been a standout feature on MacBooks, regardless of processor type.

Intel’s performance benchmark results and comparisons are available at this link.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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