Why Intel’s Tiger Lake CPUs will make laptops more confusing to buy

How it can be that two Intel 11th-gen Tiger Lake notebook PCs, with exactly the same chip inside, can offer performance that differs by up to 37 percent? And more importantly, how can you tell the difference?

The short answer is: You can’t. An unfortunate side effect of how Intel develops processors like Tiger Lake will make it more difficult for consumers to determine the actual performance of a laptop just by reading a list of its features, and it will probably get harder over time.

The problem is that Intel is designing mobile microprocessors like Tiger Lake to allow laptop makers greater flexibility in how they choose to “clock” them, or at what frequency they’re assigned to run. A laptop that uses a specific processor could run 37 percent faster than a second laptop that includes exactly the same chip, Intel executives say.

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