Intel Core i7-11370H Evaluation: Quad-Cores Aren’t Sufficient in 2021

Today we have another benchmark test for a mobile processor, and admittedly, this one is a bit strange. The Intel Core i7-11370H is part of the Tiger Lake H35 lineup announced at CES 2021. Tiger Lake H35 bridges the gap between the Tiger Lake UP3 series for ultraportables and their regular 45W H series chips, which are used for manufacturing laptops and gaming machines.

The i7-11370H is weird in that it's basically the same silicon used in ultraportable laptops but is overclocked. It uses the same 4-core and 8-thread layout, but increases the standard power limit from 28W to 35W and increases the base clock from 3.0 to 3.3 GHz compared to the Core i7-1185G7. There is also 12MB of L3 cache, an Iris Xe GPU with 96 execution units, and the same memory support as Tiger Lake UP3.

In marketing this chip, Intel's performance slips are focused on single-thread performance increases compared to the 10th generation. However, when Intel talks about multithreaded processors, Intel compares Tiger Lake H35 to its 11th generation 15W processors – not exactly the same class of system – it's highly unlikely that a larger gaming system will show up between the 11370H and 1185G7. Intel's focus on integrated graphics is strange too, as most H-series laptops use a discrete GPU.

We suspect this is partly due to the fact that Tiger Lake H35 and the Core i7-11370H don't have as many cores as Intel's previous-generation Comet Lake H-series CPUs, which are in the 6-core Core i7 line started and also had 8 -core options.

We'll soon find out how they stack up.

That start honestly gets more bizarre when you look at the systems with the 11370H. For this chip, Intel planned to create a new "ultra-portable" gaming laptop segment that would result in thin 14-15-inch systems suitable for 1080p gaming and taking advantage of the chip's lower TDP.

It's not really a new segment as Ryzen laptops have been doing this for a while in systems like the Asus Zephyrus G14 and Flow X13, but it's understandable that Intel wanted to compete here too.

However, OEMs do not use the 11370H in this way. The main system on the market today is the Asus TUF Dash F15, the laptop we benchmark with today.

It may even be the only system using this CPU right now. In any case, this is a far cry from the 14-inch laptop with a Z-height of less than 18mm that Intel was talking about. This is just your regular 15.6-inch entry-level to mid-range gaming system with a 20mm Z height and weighing 2kg.

In the case of a surface assessment, this is a perfectly fine system. It has adequate ventilation for the fans below, a decent 1080p IPS display with up to 240 Hz, 16 GB DDR4-3200 in my test device and a GeForce RTX 3070 with 80-85 W, which we also received. This is all standard gaming laptop stuff, and I really like the design that can be found here at this price point.

Confusingly, however, Asus decides to operate the 11370H with a long-term power limit of 48 W, not the standard TDP of 35 W set by Intel. The TUF Dash F15 is not only not really the new "ultraportable" gaming system Also, it doesn't bother using the chip at 35W, which begs the question of why Asus used it instead of Intel's standard 45WH series parts, the 10750H or 10870H. I can't answer that question, but maybe we'll find out in the performance tests.

Since the chip operates immediately with 48 W and a short boost time of up to 60 W, we will compare it today with other 45 W processors in our diagrams that are operated with a long-term limit of 45 W. This gives the 11370H a small performance advantage over other chips in our diagrams. However, this is the limitation of testing with this platform and laptop. Let's start the benchmarks with some productivity tests.

Benchmarks

In Cinebench R20, the performance of the Core i7-11370H in the multithread test is roughly on par with the Intel Core i7-10750H. This represents a significant gain in per-core performance since the 10750H is a six-core chip, versus only four for the 11370H, but still performs relatively poorly compared to other parts in this table.

Intel's own 8-core processors like the 10870H significantly outperform, and the 11370H is about 20% slower than the last-gen AMD Ryzen 5 4600H quad-core. It is expected to be faster than Tiger Lake U-series processors.

In the single-thread test, as expected, we see that the 11370H significantly outperforms the Comet Lake parts including the Core i9-10980HK and improves performance by about 25%. That is very extensive and shows what we can see across the board with Tiger Lake H45 chips.

The 11370H is slightly faster than the 1185G7 and roughly corresponds to the AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS. So if you compare AMD to Intel in current generation processors, it is tied for this workload.

In Handbrake, the Core i7-11370H is slightly slower than Intel's lowest prior-generation Core i7 SKU, the Core i7-10750H. While this isn't a huge margin, when comparing these parts at 45W and even considering the small performance advantage of the 11370H, it's not a good result to see a performance regression. This CPU is 17% slower than the Core i7-10870H commonly used in upgraded gaming laptops from early 2021, and 18% behind the AMD Ryzen 5 4600H.

Very similar results for Blender, which has almost identical margins as the handbrake test just considered. As a production system for those heavy CPU-limited multi-core workloads, the 11370H struggles admirably with just a quad-core design, but ultimately lags behind other Core i7 processors and AMD's entire line of AMD from last year.

Code compilation reveals a larger performance delta between 11370H and 10750H, with the newer Tiger Lake processor lagging 7 percent behind the last-gen Core i7 option. While it's faster than previous Skylake-era quad cores that operate in this performance range, any higher core count parts are better suited for Chromium compilation based on what we've tested.

In MATLAB, the 11370H can perform quite well and achieve a performance that is in the range of the Core i7-10875H and slightly ahead of the Ryzen 5 4600H from AMD.

In our Microsoft Excel workload, on the other hand, the performance of the 11370H is declining compared to the 10750H and 25% slower than the Ryzen 5 4600H.

One of the strongest results for the 11370H is the PCMark 10 application test, which measures Microsoft Office and Edge web browser performance. Thanks to the high single-thread performance increase compared to Comet Lake, this new Tiger Lake part can outperform the Core i7-10870H, even though only half of the CPU cores are present.

It's faster than AMD's new Ryzen 5000 35W parts, but not as fast as the Ryzen 9 5900HX. In general, the performance is similar to what Tiger Lake previously produced in the ultra-portable class.

The 7-zip compression performance is disappointing and not quite as fast as our Core i7-1185G7 laptop. This is because the TUF F15 only boosts up to 60W, which is slightly less than what our 1185G7 test system achieved. Either way, this is another workload that experiences a performance regression when comparing the 11370H to the 10750H, where the 11370H is over 20 percent slower.

In fact, the spacing between these Core i7 CPUs is pretty similar when it comes to decompression as well. 7-Zip benefits significantly from additional cores and threads, so the quad-core design of the 11370H is a disadvantage here despite the increase in performance of each core.

Acrobat PDF export is another strong result for the 11370H. The CPU's ability to reach up to 4.8 GHz makes it the fastest CPU we tested in our mobile test suite, slightly ahead of AMD's new Ryzen 5000 CPUs like the Ryzen 9 5980HS.

In Adobe Photoshop, using the Puget Systems workload, the 11370H can compete with previous generation Intel Core i7 processors. However, the increase in performance wasn't quite as good as previous Tiger Lake systems I tested, and in addition, memory bandwidth can have some impact as well. The TUF F15 uses DDR4 memory instead of the higher bandwidth LPDDR4X that Tiger Lake can take advantage of for some of these workloads.

In DaVinci Resolve, we see the impact of the Core i7-11370H combined with a powerful discrete GPU. While the RTX 3070 is generally one of the fastest 80W GPUs you can get, the 11370H seems to hold it back a bit in Puget System's Resolve benchmark.

It ends up no faster than the Core i7-10750H paired with the RTX 2070 Max-Q, and behind eight-core CPUs that use either the RTX 3060 or the RTX 3070. It seems that the CPU is the limiting factor here, not the GPU, and ultimately that performance is just modest.

In Adobe Premiere with the export test from Puget Systems, the Core i7-11370H delivers a disappointing performance. Premiere has a heavier CPU and benefits from parts with a higher core count. Most of the H-series processors we tested in this workload are 8-core models that offer significantly higher performance. This makes the 11370H a weak option as a Premiere-ready laptop CPU.

Gaming performance

Next up, we have some game tests. The big point of comparison here is between the Core i7-11370H and the Core i7-10870H with the same RTX 3070 80W GPU. Both CPUs are used in this first wave of updated RTX 30 series gaming laptops, so we can see how they stack up right away.

I tested these games with 1080p Ultra settings and Nvidia Optimus enabled. This is the most reasonable CPU-limited setup you could possibly use a gaming laptop for right now.

First, I'd like to start with some GPU-restricted titles to warm us up. One of them is Dirt 5. We can see here that with the RTX 3070, the 11370H and 10870H systems are performing roughly the same as expected. Another title where this occurs is Metro Exodus. The previous generation system is a bit faster, but overall performance is pretty similar.

But when we then move into more CPU-constrained titles, the situation changes completely. Here we have Resident Evil 2 with the balanced preset, which is largely CPU-limited on these systems with 1080p. The laptop equipped with the eight-core 10870H is much faster. We're talking 54% faster, which is a crazy margin for any type of CPU-limited hardware. Fortunately, this is a worst case scenario for the TUF F15 and 11370H. So let's go on.

In Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, we still see a huge performance difference between the 10870H and 11370H configurations, but we're only talking about a 29% difference here, which looks much better than in the previous table. That's still a big difference, but in a CPU constrained game like this, the performance delta isn't that far from what we've seen in some productivity benchmarks like Blender or Chromium compilation. When you pack in such a powerful GPU, having that extra CPU headroom makes a huge difference.

In Borderlands 3, we get a bit of relief. While the 10870H configuration is still faster, it is now only 11% ahead of us. This is a much more manageable margin and lower than some of the productivity deltas we've seen. However, with the new RTX 3070, it's still slower than a common laptop configuration.

We're going to show a few more benchmarks here, one of which is Watch Dogs Legion. Again, we see a performance mismatch between the newer quad-core design and the older 8-core design, with the 10870H having a 16% lead in this game. Again, everything is tested with Optimus activated in an apple-to-apple configuration. If you disable Optimus and run the display directly from the dGPU you will get performance as it will reduce the CPU bottleneck somewhat, however other systems will perform well with direct dGPU connections and our goal here is to be in the environment with test most of the CPU limitations as we do all CPU checks.

And the last diagram I'll show here is Death Stranding, with the 11370H system experiencing a serious CPU bottleneck again. The 10870H configuration was 36% faster as the quad-core CPU layout is a significant performance limiting factor when playing at 1080p. Given that running at 1080p is the default with Optimus enabled, this is not particularly good.

We tested a total of 17 games on the TUF F15 and the performance numbers are not particularly good compared to our Core i7-10870H laptop with the same RTX 3070 80W GPU. In some games that were extremely GPU limited, the performance delta between the two was small, 5% or less. There was another set of results where the newer Tiger Lake design was 10 to 15 percent slower, and in the worst case scenario, we had a couple of results that were over 35 percent slower where the games were very CPU limited and basically the CPU made about all beyond a maximum of four cores.

At this point, I don't think we need to show any more benchmarks for the Intel Core i7-11370H as we have a pretty good idea of ​​how it is doing in terms of both productivity and gaming. We have something to say in this conclusion, so let's start with the positive aspects.

What we learned

Currently, the Core i7-11370H is Intel's fastest H-series processor for low-threading workloads. This is largely a by-product of Intel's six- and eight-core Tiger Lake H45 designs that have not yet been announced or released. Nevertheless, the 11370H can clock up to 4.8 GHz and thus adapt Ryzen 5000 processors in a number of single-threaded processors tests. It's not an absolute win for Intel, but it does significantly improve performance over the 10th generation.

With better IPC and better per-core performance, the 11370H is also much faster than previous quad-core designs from Intel in multithreading. However, this is precisely where the positive results for this processor end.

The main problem with the 11370H is that lightly threaded productivity applications are not the primary use case for an H-series laptop. People who buy these types of systems – designs like the Asus TUF Dash F15 – either want greater multi-core and GPU performance for things like video editing, 3D rendering, and compilation. or they want a system to play with. And the 11370H fails in both areas.

For workloads with multi-threaded productivity, the best I can say about the 11370H is that it is as fast as Intel's last-gen mainstream Core i7, the Core i7-10750H, depending on the benchmark. However, in many cases it is slower than this part because Intel provides fewer CPU cores. This means that when comparing Intel's new base Core i7 model to Intel's previous base Core i7 model, there is a multi-core performance regression on average at roughly the same performance.

And that's the cheapest comparison we have in the Core i7 range. If you pit the i7-11370H against the eight-core i7-10870H, the newer 11th generation processor loses 15% or more. Put it against AMD's last-gen entry-level Ryzen 5 and it loses even more. There is a clear trend that with these workloads, a significant increase in IPC cannot offset the decrease in CPU core count.

In terms of gaming, the Core i7-11370H is frankly not well suited for this. This results in significant CPU bottlenecks on many titles, similar to what we've seen before with Intel quad-core parts. Now we only have faster laptop GPUs like the RTX 3070 on hand. Today's gaming laptops with a high-end part like the 3070 require at least a decent six-core CPU, if not a better one.

The 11370H, an overclocked part of the U-series, doesn't cut off here. I think Intel's attempt to make a low-power CPU part of the H-series for gaming laptops has failed.

The key to success is that the Core i7-11370H is a CPU to avoid.

If you stick with the previous generation Core i7 CPUs or Ryzen 4000 or later, you will generally get a superior experience. The risk of a serious bottleneck in an RTX 3070 with this inadequate quad-core CPU is far too high for my taste.

I also have a significant problem with the name Intel used here. I have no idea how this ended up being a Core i7 part, as you'll have to go back to 7th Gen parts from Kaby Lake in early 2017 to find the final H-series quad core Core i7 CPU: the Core i7- 7700HQ as an example. Since then, the Core i7 series has referred to six-core CPUs or, more recently, eight-core CPUs. Adding the 11370H to the Core i7 series will both water down the Intel Core i7 brand and mislead less tech-savvy customers that if they weren't, they'd get a powerful processor.

Simply put, the Core i7-11370H should be a Core i3 processor. Instead, Intel seems to be looking to add four, six, and eight core pieces to the Core i7 range. If and when this happens, what's the point in having i3, i5, and i7 areas for laptops?

Finally, the Asus TUF Dash F15 is a good laptop in most respects. If your CPU choice was a suitable 10th Gen Core i7 part or a Ryzen processor, we could definitely recommend you take a look. We don't understand why Asus used this CPU instead, as most of the other OEMs seem to have passed it on for their early updates in 2021. Did you want to experiment and see what the result was? We can't say for sure, but unfortunately the 11370H holds the F15 back from bigger things.

Purchasing links
  • GeForce RTX 3060 Laptops on Amazon
  • GeForce RTX 3080 laptops on Amazon
  • Ryzen 7 5800U Laptops on Amazon
  • Core i7-1165G7 Tiger Lake Laptops at Amazon
  • Core i7-1185G7 Tiger Lake Laptops at Amazon
  • Ryzen 9 5900HX Laptops on Amazon
  • Ryzen 7 5800H Laptops on Amazon

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