Intel announces first mobile processors capable of greater than 5GHz clock speeds

For photographers, one of the most important components of their computer is the processor (CPU). When considering how software such as Adobe Lightroom performs, maximum single and multi-core CPU performance is critical. This makes Intel’s announcement today that it is releasing the world’s fastest mobile processor particularly exciting for creatives on the go.

The 10th generation Intel Core H-Series introduces half a dozen H-Series mobile processors, including four which can surpass 5 GHz frequency from a single core in Turbo performance mode. These chips are built using Intel’s 14nm Comet Lake architecture, rather than the 10nm process that Intel teased at CES earlier this year. The top of the line processor, the Intel Core i9-10980HK, has a base clock speed of 2.4 GHz and can reach 5.3 GHz speeds at its maximum performance. This processor, along with the 5.1 GHz i7-10875H, delivers 16 threads across 8 cores and include a 16 MB Intel Smart Cache.

Another pair of new i7 processors, the 10850H and 10750H, can reach 5.1 and 5.0 GHz respectively. These processors are both 6-core CPUs with a dozen threads. Rounding out the new lineup are the Intel Core i5-10400H and i5-10300H. These four-core CPUs have eight threads and have maximum speeds of 4.6 and 4.5 GHz respectively.

You can view a comparison of the six Intel 10th generation mobile processors in the chart below:

Image credit: Intel Corporation. Click for a larger view.

What do all these numbers mean for creatives? On the photography side of things, Photoshop and other photography applications heavily utilize your computer’s CPU relative to the GPU. Software such as Photoshop is getting better at using a computer’s GPU to accelerate certain tasks, but the CPU is particularly important. Further, the maximum frequency of CPU chips is more important than the number of cores for most photo editing tasks. All else equal, a faster CPU results in better performance when importing, processing and editing image files.

Thus, the new 10th generation Intel i9 processors represent a very powerful CPU for CPU-intensive applications such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Lightroom, for example, is optimized to utilize multiple cores for handling tasks, so Intel’s eight-core chips are exciting. The quicker your computer’s CPU can work through tasks, the less time you must spend waiting.

For video editors, Intel has published specific performance gain numbers. When compared to a similar Intel chip from three years ago, the top-of-the-line i9-10980HK can render and export 4K resolution video up to twice as fast. The i7-10750H fares well too, exporting 4K video up to 70 percent faster compared to its predecessor from three years ago. It will be interesting to see how the new chips perform in the real world when rendering 4K and even 8K video.

This image shows the wafer of Intel’s 10th generation H-series processors. Image credit: Intel Corporation

Of the Intel Core i9-10980HK, Intel states that it features ‘unparalleled performance across the board with up to 5.3 GHz Turbo, eight cores, 16 threads and 16MB of Intel Smart Cache. The unlocked 10th Gen Intel Core i9-10980HK processor powers the ultimate laptops for gamers and creators, allowing further customization, optimization and tuning of the CPU’s performance.’

Additional features of the Intel 10th generation chips include Intel’s proprietary Speed Optimizer one-click overclocking feature, Thermal Velocity Boost and Adaptix Dynamic Tuning. For a full breakdown of all the key features in the new Intel chips, you can download a PDF briefing by clicking here.