Intel 11th Gen Boosts eGPU Gaming Performance! i7-1165G7 vs i7-1065G7

Intel’s new 11th gen Tiger Lake laptops offer Thunderbolt 4,  so what sort of improvements can we expect with an external graphics or eGPU setup?  I’ve tested the Razer Blade Stealth 13 with Nvidia RTX 3090 graphics card to find out. I’ve tested both a 10th gen i7-1065G7 and 11th gen i7-1165G7 configuration of Blade Stealth 13,  so exact same laptop chassis with the only difference being the processor  and that 11th gen uses faster memory. Both CPUs have 4 cores and 8 threads,  however the 11th gen chip has more cache and a higher TDP which results in higher clock speed.  Both are based on Intel’s 10nm, however Tiger Lake uses SuperFin which actually offers some  good improvements over 10th gen, resulting in both higher single core and multi core performance. I’ve previously compared these two processors in the exact same laptops, but with their GTX 1650  Ti Max-Q graphics instead of an eGPU enclosure. On average in games the 11th gen processor was  10% faster than the 10th gen one, now it’s time to see what the difference is with an eGPU instead.

At first you might think that 11th gen will do better as a result of the newer Thunderbolt 4,  but I’m not expecting this to be the case. My eGPU enclosure still has a Thunderbolt 3 controller,  plus if we look at the differences between the two standards both still have a maximum 40Gb/s speed,  though the newer Thunderbolt 4 does offer some nice extras. I’ve done all testing with an external screen connected directly to the 3090 for best  performance, as using the laptops screen will be slower because thunderbolt bandwidth is  wasted sending the signal back to the laptop and having the iGPU process it. Anyway with that in mind let’s see how 10 different games compare at 4K,  1440p and 1080p resolutions with the RTX 3090 in the Mantiz Saturn Pro Gen II eGPU enclosure. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the games benchmark tool.

I’ve  got the results from the older 10th gen laptop shown by the purple bars,  and the newer 11th gen laptop shown by the red bars. This game saw one of the larger  performance differences out of the 10 titles tested, with the 11th gen machine reaching 20%  higher average FPS at 1080p and 1440p, and 14% higher at 4K. Battlefield V was tested in campaign mode by walking through the same part of the game on  both laptops.

Again the 11th gen machine was clearly ahead at all resolutions,  with a 13% higher average frame rate at 1080p and 4K, and 10% at 1440p, but regardless  the performance on offer with 10th gen is definitely more than playable with the 3090.

Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested with the games benchmark. The 10th gen machine was still able  to reach 60 FPS at 4K with the high setting preset, a task that’s quite difficult for a high  end gaming laptop to achieve, but the 11th gen machine still had a 13% lead at this resolution. It’s not all 11th gen gains though, in The Witcher 3 the 11th gen machine  was actually behind slightly in average FPS. It was only between 1 to 3 frames,  so nothing really serious and realistically kind of within margin of error ranges anyway. Metro Exodus was tested with the games benchmark tool, and was another example  of where the 11th gen machine was behind the older 10th gen version for the most part,  but again the differences are just 1 to 3 FPS so nothing major at the end of the day.

Control had some very interesting results. Starting with ray tracing off, the 11th gen  machine was always ahead, though the difference in average FPS increases at higher resolutions  despite the 1% low performance staying about the same on either laptop. With ray tracing and DLSS  enabled though, the 11th gen laptop was able to stay around 60 FPS regardless of the resolution  in use, while the 10th gen machines frame rate dropped back further at the higher resolutions,  so it would appear some part of ray tracing or DLSS likes the 11th gen improvements,  as this was the biggest difference out of all 10 titles covered.

Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the games benchmark tool with Vulkan. The 11th gen  machine was ahead in average FPS at 1080p or 1440p, but both were basically the same at  4K. 1% low results were inconsistent here, and for some reason far lower when compared to not  using an eGPU. Given this happened with both laptops with different eGPU enclosures, I’m  thinking it’s something to do with the specific benchmark perhaps not liking the eGPU setup. Call of Duty Modern Warfare was tested in campaign mode. The 11th gen laptop was ahead in all  instances here with some above average gains, 17% higher than the 10th gen configuration at 1080p,  15% faster at 1440p, then a smaller comparatively difference at 4K at just 8%, though there were  also some nice boosts to 1% lows with 11th gen, presumably due to the increased CPU horsepower.

Death Stranding also had some nice gains in the 1% lows,  which were 23% higher at 1080p, compared to the average FPS boost which was lower at 8%,  so overall the 11th gen platform is offering more stable gameplay here as a result. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was tested with the games benchmark. Although  I generally find this test to typically depend more on processor performance,  I wasn’t seeing that much of a difference between them here. At 4K they’re both about the same,  then at lower resolutions we’re looking at small gains with 11th gen. These are the differences over all 10 games tested at 1080p. On average,  the 11th gen i7-1165G7 was around 10% faster than the 10th gen i7-1065G7. Control with DLSS  enabled saw the largest difference, while control with ray tracing off was almost the same on both,  otherwise metro exodus and the witcher 3 were also about the same on either, just a little  ahead on the older 10th gen machine, but not enough for it to be a noticeable difference.

At 1440p the 11th gen laptop was now about 8.5% faster on average out of this same  selection of 10 games. Again some titles saw basically no change, while others like Shadow  of the Tomb Raider were close to performing 20% better with the newer 11th gen machine.

At 4K the 11th gen chip was now 9% faster on average, however the Control with ray tracing  and DLSS result is now far higher than all of the others. If we remove that as an outlier the  11th gen machine was 5% faster on average, so not that much of a difference all things considered. I’ve also tested some workloads outside of gaming. DaVinci Resolve was tested with the Puget Systems  benchmark tool. Despite being more of a GPU heavy test, it seems that we’re still getting some  reasonable gains with the 11th gen system, which was scoring 11% higher than the 10th gen one. V-Ray on the other hand basically offloads the whole workload to the GPU,  so there’s pretty much no difference between the two in tasks like this.

When I previously compared the 10th gen i7-1065G7 against the 10th gen i7-10750H in another video,  the Ice Lake laptop performed much better despite the Comet Lake H machine having 6 cores and  a higher power limit. This is because Ice Lake integrated the thunderbolt controller, improving  performance. This is also the case with 11th gen Tiger Lake too, and while I’m not absolutely  certain on all of the other improvements made with Thunderbolt 4 such as further integrations,  given we’re seeing a similar average percentage increase to what I saw just comparing these two  gaming laptops without an eGPU, it would seem that the improvements with the eGPU are likely down to  processor improvements rather than anything else like Thunderbolt implementation differences. It would have been great to also compare a thunderbolt 4 enclosure with a thunderbolt  3 enclosure to say for sure if there are any differences, perhaps that will happen in the  future, but based purely on the thunderbolt spec I wouldn’t count on it.

It just seems to be the case  that 11th gen offers nice performance improvements at the processor level compared to 10th gen ice  lake, and it’s no secret that the processor is often a bottleneck in an eGPU setup like this,  especially when paired with something crazy like the RTX 3090 at lower resolutions. Anyway let me know what you thought about the performance differences down in the comments,  and if you’re new then get subscribed for future laptop comparisons and tech videos like this one.

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