New Branding: Intel, Intel Iris Xe, and Intel EVO

Since the introduction of Ice Lake, Intel’s logo design has seemed a bit off-kilter. The company changed how it named its processors, ditching the U and Y designations, instead of focusing on the ‘G7 and G4’ elements as well as the graphics. While those were Intel’s 10th Generation Core processors, they were categorized in a seemingly different way. Now a year later, changes are once again afoot. With the introduction of Xe graphics into the mix with Tiger Lake, the company is putting new logos and branding into the mix.

The new stickers on the laptops will look something like this. Intel has decided that its logos need to have a mix of lower case letters and capital letters for Core and Iris, despite the Intel part being in complete lower case and the ‘Graphics’ or ‘Powered By’ are all capitalized (at least it isn’t with backwards letters?). The Xe has that e in superscript as well, for the ‘eXascale for Everyone’ element of the graphics portfolio.

There is also Intel Evo, the new name for Intel’s Project Athena program, which we talk about later.

Beyond this is a full change for the Intel logo. It was stated that Intel only ever changes its logo when there is a big shift inside the industry. Today is apparently that shift, despite Intel's presentation being fairly minimal - I would have expected a logo change to occur during a large event or such. Intel says this is the third time it has fundamentally changed its logo.

Project Athena Becomes Intel Evo

With the launch of the previous generation of products, Intel introduced its Project Athena verification program. Similar to how it tried to push for ultraportable notebooks back in the day, Project Athena was a set of specifications that Intel believed were important to the premium notebook owners in the current day. This included things like minimum battery life requirements, support for Thunderbolt and Wi-Fi 6, a good display, support for AI, and a specific level of responsiveness.

In order for a laptop to be designated as a Project Athena design, it had to be validated by Intel. More often than not, Athena notebooks were co-developed with Intel anyway, making validation not much more than a formality. At the time Intel stated that Project Athena was more of an OEM standard to help push the industry along the leading edge – version 1.0 of the specification was ultimately a stepping stone to more stringent updates to the standard we learned.


Because Athena was a program designed for the OEMs rather than the customer, Intel had not necessarily worked out the marketing side of the equation. At a simple level, it was expected that these devices would, if they followed the specification, speak for themselves in offering better-than-normal user experiences equipped with the latest technology. However, at some point, we expected Athena to become end-user visible as well.

So for this Tiger Lake launch, Athena is now getting that splash of marketing, and Intel is calling any device that qualifies under the latest updates as ‘Intel Evo’. The Evo part of the name is clearly meant to be a calling to the evolution of the future generation of products.

What surprises me a bit is that the first generation of Athena was meant to be, at least on some level, CPU vendor agnostic – some of the special sauce from Intel made it easier for Intel devices to meet the specification, such as built in Thunderbolt and CNVi-based Wi-Fi 6 reduces the power consumption. With Intel Evo branding, any semblance of it being an industry-wide specification to work towards now goes out the window. While any Evo qualification is still a good thing to have, with the promise of a good user experience and the latest technology, there’s no escaping the fact that this program is now honed in for Intel-specific systems.

Intel 11th Gen Core Tiger Lake Performance

As usual, posting performance numbers isn’t really our thing – we prefer to get the hardware on hand and test for ourselves. Intel has a habit of not stating full system configurations during its presentations, and rather directing the press to look at a section on a website after the fact. To that end, we’re not going to republish reams of Intel’s own numbers here. The high level numbers that are perhaps with promoting are as follows.

When comparing an Intel Core i7-1165G7 Tiger Lake system to an AMD Ryzen 7 4800U system (both configurations unknown at this point), Intel states it has the following performance advantages:

  • +28% Compute (SYSmark 25)
  • +67% Graphics (3DMark Fire Strike)
  • +300% AI (MLPerf)

As always, Intel’s need to promote ‘performance using real world benchmarks’ rubs up against the fact that it also posts these sorts of synthetic tests as well – especially when system configurations are no longer provided directly where the numbers are in the presentation. Intel does have ‘real world benchmarks’, directly in the next slide, but for slide #4 in a day of announcements, offering synthetics – especially ones that are known to favor Intel – is a bit frustrating. Surely an aggregate number of those real-world tests would be a better starting point for any presentation.

We will be doing our own testing when we get a Tiger Lake system in for testing.

Coming Next: Devices and Future Intel Announcements

Now that Intel’s Tiger Lake mobile processors are announced, OEM partners will also be announcing notebooks and laptops in the upcoming weeks – in fact a few will do so today. The other half of Tiger Lake still needs to be disclosed – at Architecture Day we were told that Tiger Lake scales to 65 watts, so most of us has assumed that this means a 45W to 65W range of processors, up to 8 cores, is coming. No word on that from Intel as of yet.

As a final slide from Intel’s deck, the company has clarified what to expect from its next few announcements (which we assume is from now through to the end of the year, at least from the client side of the business).

We should expect to see Intel Pentium and Celeron notebook processors later this year, along with the vPro versions of the Tiger Lake processors announced today. Perhaps more exciting is the DG1 discrete graphics platform, which is also promising to show its head. Given the recent high-end graphics announcements, it’s going to be fun playing with something more mid-range.

Intel Launches 11th Gen Core
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  • oleyska - Thursday, September 3, 2020 - link

    what's awful about them ?
    I have no issues, I will say on my laptop the radeon settings panel doesn't work, the nvidia control panel sucks horsecock, and on mobile even more so.. but atleast it starts but don't know what do to in it cause it's mostly empty..
    Intel's control panel for gpu on laptops I like, it works, their backend driver sucks but it's ok and I see them making great strides.
    I'm happy, and not the biggest loss of not having my control panel but would be nice.

    Chipset drivers for me have mostly just worked, even if I don't install them my system have just worked too... never really understood them either way.. windows just takes care of you really..
    Intel have some crusty gpu drivers, however I prefer them over nvidia.
    so on windows laptop intel drivers for gpu is by far the best imho.
    for linux AMD.
    For windows desktop amd.

    I've had games crash for months on nvidia so it's not like they're perfect, and a stupid geforce experience, ms store to download control panel and a control panel from 1999 doesn't cut it, fix that and they'll be windows desktop #1
  • alufan - Thursday, September 3, 2020 - link

    Actually AMD chipset drivers are fine the issue is folks dont do a clean install and delete the old installation drivers from the folder, that and the fact MS constantly meddles with the drivers with Windows update.
    This is a decent release from Intel and no doubt it will briefly go to the top on some games titles, however AMD already makes a Ryzen with the rdna2 built in, cant see it taking a lot of effort to expand that to mainstream, I imagine that is the next iteration anyway
  • WaltC - Friday, September 4, 2020 - link

    No trouble from chipset drivers--either. None.
  • Fritzkier - Friday, September 4, 2020 - link

    What the hell is a chipset driver...?
  • 5080 - Saturday, September 5, 2020 - link

    Here is an example of AMDs chipset drivers:
  • way2funni - Sunday, September 6, 2020 - link

    it's been 11-12 years since I fooled around with AMD (Bulldozer era) - I fell for the 6 core hype and found that the throughput on everything from their implementation of USB to SATA III resulted in benchmarks were anywhere from 25 -40% below intel. I've been sorely tempted at the RYZEN stuff , especially the brand new renoir stuff APU's - but your comment made me think back - are they really that bad at the chipset level?
  • Spunjji - Monday, September 7, 2020 - link

    @way2funni - No, they're really not that bad at the chipset level. The Bulldozer era was a horror show that has luckily long-since ended. vladx regularly makes claims against AMD and/or in favour of Intel/Nvidia that are unsupportable by facts - they like to mix it up with a few valid points every now and again, but you can assume that any decidedly negative statement is false.

    For context, I just (last Thursday) built a brand-new AMD (Ryzen 3 3100, RX 580 - my budget is LOW) system and have had no problems whatsoever with drivers. I moved over from an Intel/Nvidia system, for context. The CPU wasn't even supposed to be supported out-of-the-box by the crappy old A320 board I used, but it still managed to POST and get me to the BIOS screen where I could flash an update.
  • way2funni - Tuesday, September 8, 2020 - link

    thank you for taking time out to reply. appreciated.
  • Spunjji - Wednesday, September 9, 2020 - link

    @way2funni No problem! For what it's worth, from what I've heard, the mobile Ryzen stuff can be more of a fiddle in terms of chipset / GPU drivers. I have no experience there though, so I can't comment from a personal perspective.
  • alphatech - Friday, September 25, 2020 - link

    Onions and mustard please lol

    AMD chipsets never had issues wth are you talking about.
    Clearly trying to find any excuse to smash AMD to the ground.
    But let me remind you (concidering the level of stupidness in your comments) you must make peanuts while AMD makes billions and someone at AMD has the IQ to fabricate those monster CPU's. Maybe you should get a job at AMD and be their engineer instead.

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