The Intel Core i5-1135G7: A Perfect Fit for Ultra-Light Laptops and Tablets

Core i5

The Intel Core i5-1135G7 is a quad-core, mid-range SoC designed for use in ultra-light laptops. The Tiger Lake-UP3 processor was introduced in September 2020, featuring four Willow Cove CPU cores running at 2.4 GHz (base clock speed @ 28 W TDP) with the ability to boost up to 4.2 GHz (1-core Boost). The all-core Boost clock speed sits at 3.8 GHz, making it a Hyper-Threading-enabled CPU, allowing for up to 8 concurrent processing threads.

One of the biggest strengths of Tiger Lake compared to the older Ice Lake and Comet Lake product families is the increased performance-per-MHz. The Core i5-1135G7 is compatible with dual-channel DDR4-3200 or quad-channel LPDDR4x-4267 RAM, supports PCI-Express 4.0 (4 lanes) and is capable of HW-accelerating AI workloads. Thunderbolt 4, USB 4, and Wi-Fi 6 support are also built into the chip. The four PCI-Express 4.0 lanes allow for read/write rates of up to 7.9 GB/s, provided a suitably fast NVMe SSD is used.

The i5 is manufactured on Intel's second-gen 10 nm process, marketed as SuperFin, which is said to be comparable to TSMC's 7 nm process that Ryzen 4000 series laptop-grade processors are manufactured on. Both the CPU cores and the iGPU enjoy access to 8 MB of L3 cache. Higher-end Core i7-11x5 processors have a larger Level 3 cache (12 MB versus 8 MB), faster iGPUs, and higher clock speeds. The Core i5-1135G7 is permanently soldered to the motherboard (BGA1449 socket interface) and is not user-replaceable.

In terms of performance, the Core i5-1135G7 is just as fast as the Intel Core i7-10810U, Core i5-1145G7, Core i5-1230U, and AMD Ryzen 7 3780U in multi-thread benchmarks. The performance may not be groundbreaking, but it is still on the sunny side. This Core i5 will have no difficulty coping with some light gaming and video editing on the go, and the usual web browsing and spreadsheet editing will pose no problem to it either.

The 80 EU Iris Xe Graphics G7 is based on Intel's Gen 12 architecture. The iGPU is faster than the older Iris Plus G7 (Ice Lake) and much faster than the UHD 620 (Comet Lake). The 80 EUs are clocked at 400 MHz to 1,300 MHz. This graphics adapter can drive up to 4 monitors in resolutions up to SUHD 4320p@60 and hardware decode AVC, HEVC, VP9, and AV1 video streams. The iGPU's gaming performance is close to what a typical GeForce MX250 has in store; casual gamers will be happy with the Xe as it will easily handle most titles at 720p on low or medium quality settings. An important thing to keep in mind is that the iGPU has no video memory of its own, making fast RAM a necessity.

In terms of power consumption, the 10 nm manufacturing process and low core count render this Core i5 a relatively energy-efficient CPU. Just like all other Tiger Lake-UP3 processors, the Core i5-1135G7 has a long-term Power Limit of 12 W to 28 W (OEMs get to set the value according to their needs). This makes the i5 a good fit for thinner, lighter systems as well as occasional Windows tablets. The CPU's long-term performance sustainability is likely to be very poor in passively cooled setups.

To compare, the Intel Core i7-1195G7 has a clock speed range of 2.9 - 5 GHz, 4/8 cores, and 12 MB L3 cache. The Core i7-1185G7 has a clock speed range of 3 - 4.8 GHz, 4/8 cores, and 12 MB L3 cache. The Core i7-1165G7 has a clock speed range of 2.8 - 4.7 GHz, 4/8 cores, and 12 MB L3 cache. The Core i5-1155G7 has a clock speed range of 2.5 - 4.5 GHz, 4/8 cores, and 8 MB L3 cache. The Core i5-1145G7 has a clock speed range of 2.6 - 4.4 GHz, 4/8 cores, and 8 MB L3 cache.

Overall, the Intel Core i5-1135G7 is a solid choice for those looking for a mid-range SoC for their ultra-light laptops. It offers good performance, energy efficiency, and support for modern technologies such as Thunderbolt 4, USB 4, and Wi-Fi 6. The integrated graphics are also a step up from previous generations, making it a suitable option for casual gaming and video editing on the go. However, it is important to keep in mind that the CPU is permanently soldered to the motherboard and may not be user-replaceable.

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