Intel at CES 2020: Tiger Lake, upgradeable NUC, and more

Intel NUC 9
Intel NUC 9 (Image credit: Windows Central)

Intel didn't have the best 2019 with AMD continuing to bring to the market far better processors at prices to undercut its own offerings. While this certainly knocked the company in the eyes of the PC community, Intel certainly steadied itself for CES 2020, but it lacked anything mindblowing to steal AMD's thunder.

Here's everything Intel announced at CES 2020.

Introducing ... Tiger Lake

Intel Tiger Lake at CES 2020

Source: Intel (Image credit: Source: Intel)

Intel has recovered from being dealt a considerable blow from AMD in 2019 with the launch of Ryzen 3000 processors and new Threadripper beasts. The company answered with some questionable product releases, but 2020 looks to be the year for Intel to get back into its grove with the announcement of Tiger Lake.

Tiger Lake is quite the advancement for portable processing, doubling the graphics performance compared to current-gen laptop processors. This makes for capable thin and light laptops that won't shy away from more demanding tasks like gaming and video editing. The new Tiger Lake hardware will be built on Intel's Xe architecture, targetting sub-25W TDP.

It's not clear just how far away we are from Tiger Lake since the current generation of mobile processors from Intel haven't been out for very long, nor do we know if Intel will be using DG1 for the integrated graphics processing, but this is a good sign that Intel is doubling down on R&D now that the competition has heated up once again.

Teasing the DG1 discretely

As well as the new Tiger Lake processors, Intel has also been working hard on discrete graphics. Not content with letting NVIDIA and AMD battle it out alone within the dedicated mobile GPU space, Intel teased the DG1 on stage at CES 2020, the company's first discrete graphics card. Not much was shared other than a brief demo of it running Destiny 2.

We can expect to see more from Intel regarding the DG1 and architecture as we move through 2020. Just don't get your hopes up for a desktop-class dedicated GPU from Intel anytime soon.

NUC 9 'Ghost Canyon'

Razer Tomahawk

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

This was probably Intel's most exciting announcement, but this was mostly down to the demo units produced by partners like Razer. The Next Unit of Computing (NUC) is Intel's mini-PC that houses a CPU, motherboard, RAM, and everything else in a compact form factor. The only drawback to these NUCs has been the sub-par graphics performance.

That is until now. No longer are NUC models restricted by what you can do with them. You'll be able to replace the CPU, RAM, and throw in a speedy SSD and GPU for good measure. What's more, companies like Razer are rolling out their own NUC-based PCs with everything you need to play games flawlessly.

This is really cool tech and we can't wait to get our hands on one.

Other notable tidbits

Those were the major highlights from Intel, which accounts for not much if you're simply after new desktop CPUs or a dedicated GPU of some kind. Still, the company did announce some AI enhancements with 3D athlete tracking for Tokyo 2020.

There's also all the work being done with hardware partners on foldable devices and laptops with dual screens, further enhancing existing form factors with new features.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.