11th-gen Tiger Lake H vs Ryzen 5000: Which laptop CPU should you buy?

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For the buyer intent on the very latest and greatest CPU, your choice comes down to Intel’s 11th-gen Tiger Lake H, or AMD’s Ryzen 5000. Both families offer spectacular performance that steps away from that of their predecessors.

For deeper details, check our our Tiger Lake H review and our Ryzen 5000 review. But you’re probably here because you don’t want to read through several thousand words and a pile of comparison charts. That’s fine—we’ve put in the hours of testing and can give you the gist so you can make an informed buying decision.

While some want to see one CPU declared a winner, it’s never quite that easy. Instead, you need to think about what you want to do with this laptop. Do you play games 99 percent of the time? Work unplugged for hours? Do you do photo or video editing? Are you making your own movie with 3D animation? You’ll want to pick the CPU whose strengths overlap best with what you do. 

Which is best for general use?

If your idea of laptop use is to sit on the couch or kitchen and browse the web, watch videos, and run Microsoft Office or Google Docs all day, we would point you to the “U-class” of laptops. For AMD, these will be denoted with U at the end of a model number, such as Ryzen 7 5800U; and for Intel it’ll typically have a G7 or G4, such as Core i7-1165G7 or Core i3-1125G4. Both U and G indicate CPUs made for lower-power consumption roles and are typically found in very thin, ultra-light laptops.

These laptops almost always offer the very best balance of weight-to-performance ratio. While they aren’t quite as fast as “H-class” laptops, they’re surprisingly close for general use. Besides being lighter, they also tend to be quieter, as there’s less hardware to keep cool.

Both Intel’s 11th-gen Tiger Lake and AMD’s Ryzen 5000 are very closely matched for general use, but AMD’s Ryzen 5000U actually has the slight edge: In our tests, the top-end Ryzen 7 5800U is faster than the top-end Core i7-1185G7. Intel has since introduced a newer Core i7-1195G7 that may change that, but basically think for general use, you can’t lose with either Intel or AMD U-class CPUs. The more powerful H-class cousins of these CPUs, for heavier-duty laptops, are fully capable as well.

Recommendation: Both are good, but U-class Ryzen 5000 has a slight edge.

Which is best for video editing?

For a laptop used primarily for video editing, it’s actually a pretty close race. While you can indeed do a surprising amount of video editing on a U-class laptop compared to just a few years ago, we recommend that you stick to an H-class laptop CPU with a discrete graphics card.

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