Meet Tiger Lake H35, Intel’s new bid for ultraportable gaming laptops

Intel is carving out a new ultraportable gaming segment with a specific variant of its 11th-gen Tiger Lake Core chips, known as the H35—complemented by a new “Special Edition” brand and even a desktop-like, 8-core H-series chip that will debut later this quarter, promising massive bandwidth.

Intel also said that it would bring Tiger Lake to Chromebooks, complete with Thunderbolt capabilities. Intel rounded out its notebook PC announcements for CES 2021 by adding some more options to its existing 10th-gen processor lineup.

Traditionally, Intel’s notebook offerings have broken down into Y-series chips for the thinnest of notebooks, and tablets; U-series processors for mainstream notebooks, and the H-series processors for thicker, heavier gaming machines. In general, gaming laptops have followed the budget/midrange/premium breakdown, using price as a guide. With the H35, however, Intel is trying to segment gaming notebooks by their physical characteristics. 

Ultraportable gaming is here with Intel’s H35

According to Frederik Hamberger, the general manager of premium and gaming notebook segments at Intel, even as the most powerful laptops have become thinner, the demand for thin-and-light ultraportable PCs has accelerated. Customers like students want both: a notebook they can carry around with them during the day, “and then, during a break, or during the evenings, they want to be able to get enthusiast-level gameplay,” he said. That was the genesis of Intel’s 4-core, 8-thread H35 series, manufactured on Intel’s 10nm process.

The category is somewhat arbitrary. Intel defines “ultraportable gaming” as a laptop with a 14-inch to 15-inch display, and less than 18mm thick. More importantly is what the H35 (an “H”-series part operating at 35W) can offer: The target is 1080p gaming at 70 frames per second or higher, and at “high” graphics settings.

In Intel’s definition, ultraportable gaming notebooks are synonymous with the 14- to 15-inch screen size. The bigger 15-inch notebooks can split the difference between ultraportables and what Intel calls a “thin enthusiast” class of notebooks, with up to 17-inch displays at 1080p/240Hz or 4K/60Hz. 


Intel’s new ultraportable gaming segment, which it has filled with the new H35 chips.

Prices for the H35 gaming ultraportables will range from about $999 to over $2,000. Intel said it had commitments for about forty H35 designs from its top manufacturing partners during the first half of 2021, with Acer, Asus, MSI and Vaio leading the way.

Intel was somewhat vague about the specifications of the new 4-core/8-thread, 10nm H35 processors in advance of the launch. We do know, however, that they’ll finally feature PCI Express Gen 4 (PCIe 4.0) , complete with four lanes off of the CPU to connect discrete graphics—whatngraphics, we don’t know, though Intel pointedly did not mention its own Xe graphics. Not surprisingly, the chip will support fast components: up to DDR4-3200 and LPDDR4x-4266, Thunderbolt 4 connections, plus Intel’s Killer WiFi 6 and 6E.

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