What is the Intel Evo platform?

If you've shopped for laptops lately, you've surely seen the Intel® Evo badge. It marks systems built on the Intel Evo platform. You'll find it on some of Lenovo's thinnest, lightest, and fastest laptops – a promise of extreme processor speed, graphics performance, battery life, and more. But what, exactly, is the Intel Evo platform?

At its simplest, the Intel Evo platform is a defined hardware environment designed to achieve impressive performance benchmarks in new, highly portable laptops. At minimum, Evo-certified systems need an 11th generation Intel® Core processor, powerful Intel® Iris® Xe or Intel® Iris® Xe MAX graphics, and a long list of high-end storge, networking and other components. To earn Evo certification, manufacturers must prove not only that their laptop has these parts but that it meets or exceeds strict Evo standards for responsiveness, unplugged times, and so on.

This means a laptop built on the Evo platform is more than a collection of top technology. It's how all the pieces fit together that makes Intel Evo laptops so impressive. A thin-and-light laptop is one thing. A thin, light, and powerful laptop that's built to Intel Evo standards? It's what demanding laptop shoppers have been waiting for.

Lenovo laptops with Intel Evo certification

Several Lenovo laptops have already earned the Intel® Evo badge, with more on the way. Look for impressive Evo-certified laptops in each of these popular Lenovo brands:

  • Business-ready ThinkPad models: The most famous name in laptop technology
  • Stylish IdeaPad ultraportables: Light and powerful – with good looks, too
  • Flexible Yoga 2-in-1s: The laptop that flips into tablet mode and back again
  • Lightweight ThinkBooks: Highly portable laptops for business, home, and school

Are you ready for the Intel Evo platform? Keep reading to learn more.

Intel Evo platform 'Key Experience Indicators'

Some users determine the quality of a laptop based only on the specifications of the included processor, graphics, and other features. Does it have a highly rated Intel Core CPU? Are the graphics integrated or discrete? How fast is the Wi-Fi? But those who don't follow the latest trends in laptop components typically ask a different question: How will the laptop work for me?

For this latter group, Intel uses a set of Key Experience Indicators (KEIs) to both certify new Intel® Evo platform laptops and to describe their most important user benefits. These Intel Evo KEIs, Intel says, help consumers identify the "best laptops for getting things done."1

An Intel Evo platform-based laptop must deliver at least the following KEIs, all aimed at ensuring consistent high performance in the areas Intel believes laptop users value most:

  • Consistent responsiveness while on battery power2
  • Fast wake-from-sleep: Under 1 second
  • "Real world" battery life: 9+ hours3
  • Fast charging: 4-hour charge in under 30 minutes4

It's easy to see why Intel Evo-certified laptops have won wide acclaim. These Evo platform KEIs aim to measure system performance in "real-world" conditions, not the perfect laboratory environments that are often used – and which actual laptop users can never hope to achieve.

Intel Evo platform components

To achieve these strict KEIs, the Intel® Evo platform relies on a detailed set of required hardware and related components. A laptop can't earn the Evo badge unless it has at least these critical pieces:

  • Processor and graphics
    • 11th generation Intel® Core processor
    • Intel® Iris® Xe or Intel® Iris® Xe MAX graphics
  • Additional components
    • 12" to 15" FHD touch display
    • 256 GB PCIe NVMe SSD
    • 8 GB dual-channel RAM
    • Intel® Wi-Fi 6
    • Thunderbolt 4
  • Related capabilities
    • Biometric login
    • USB-C charging
    • Optional Gigabit LTE connectivity

So, Evo certification involves more than just top-notch processing and graphics that keep performing for long hours on battery power. Laptops with the Evo badge also sport high-resolution displays, fast solid-state storge, screaming fast connectivity and ports, and secure fingerprint- or face-recognition login capabilities. They're truly impressive systems.

More about 11th generation Intel Core mobile processors

Intel unveiled its 11th generation Intel® Core laptop processors in late 2020, promising higher levels of performance and – in a major move – linking the new CPUs with the company's innovative Intel® Iris® Xe graphics to create the Intel® Evo platform. Within weeks, laptop manufacturers, including Lenovo, released their first Intel Evo laptops to wide acclaim.

Using new SuperFin transistors, the first 11th gen Intel mobile processors delivered turbo clock speeds up to 4.8 GHz. They also included Intel® Wi-Fi 6 (Gig +), Thunderbolt 4, a CPU-attached PCIe Gen4 interface, and more – all "industry-first" and/or "best-in-class" features, according to Intel.

What do you get with an 11th gen Intel Core U Series mobile processor? Performance. And speed. Just look at these Intel-provided benchmarks:

  • Up to 2.7x faster content creation5
  • More than 20% faster office productivity6
  • More than 2x faster gaming plus streaming7

In addition to an 11th gen Core processor, Evo-certified laptops also need to have Intel Iris Xe graphics, which we address in the next section.

More about Intel Iris Xe graphics

Intel® Iris® Xe graphics work within the company's longstanding integrated processor-graphics architecture.* But they're designed to deliver the performance of discrete or dedicated graphics chips. This makes Iris Xe graphics perfect for the thin-and-light laptops that are so popular today.

Traditionally, heavy graphics users such as video gamers and content creators have avoided the industry's most portable laptops. It's hard for manufacturers to fit all the needed features – top-flight processing and graphics, long-lasting batteries, heat sinks and cooling fans – into their smallest laptop frames. However, with Iris Xe, Intel believes it has changed this equation forever.

What makes Iris Xe graphics different? Compared to earlier Intel solutions, they've got more and faster execution units (EUs) and a much bigger L3 caches. While some AAA game titles might still be out of reach, early reviews of multiple Iris Xe-equipped laptops found them to have plenty of power to support today's most popular games – even when the graphics settings aren't at maximum.

*Shortly after introducing integrated Iris Xe graphics, Intel launched its first discrete graphics option in nearly 20 years, Intel® Iris® Xe MAX. The dedicated Iris Xe MAX chip works with its integrated counterpart (Intel calls them "twins") to split up and share graphics chores using new technology called Intel® Deep Link. Depending on what the user is doing, more power is allocated either to the MAX chip (with its onboard VRAM) or to the CPU. And when graphical demands are highest, Deep Link shares those tasks between the Iris Xe MAX chip and the integrated Iris Xe graphics on the CPU.

There you have it. If you need a speedy, easily portable laptop – for work or gaming or something else – be sure to consider a Lenovo laptop with Intel Evo certification. Their technical specifications are impressive, and Intel promises they'll deliver real-world performance that's hard to beat.

1 Measured by Project Athena laptop innovation program Key Experience Indicators and 11th Gen Intel® Core processor Representative Usage Guides. For more complete information about performance and benchmark results, visit www.intel.com/Evo and www.intel.com/11thGen.

2 Measured speed of premium Windows OS-based design while performing 25 workflows predictive of performance under a typical-use environment comprising multiple cloud-based and local apps and web pages including Google Chrome, Google G-Suite, Microsoft Office 365, YouTube and Zoom. Testing as of August 2020 conducted on laptops on DC battery ≥30%, connected to 802.11 wireless, and with shipped hardware configurations including Windows 10 and 250-nit screen brightness.

3 Time taken to drain from 100% to critical battery level while performing workflows under a typical-use environment, comprising multiple cloud-based and local apps and web pages including Google Chrome, Google G-Suite, Microsoft Office 365, YouTube and Zoom. Testing as of August 2020 conducted on laptops connected to 802.11 wireless, and with shipped hardware configurations including Windows 10 and 250-nit screen brightness.

4 Minimum charge attained in 30-minute window while powered off from OEM-default shutdown level. Performance varies by use, configuration and other factors. Testing as of August 2020.

5 Based on integrated Intel® Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) and Thunderbolt 4 technology. Intel® Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) products enable the fastest possible maximum speed for typical laptop Wi-Fi products. Thunderbolt 4 is the fastest port available on a laptop, at 40 Gb/s, as compared to other laptop I/O connection technologies including eSATA, USB, and IEEE 1394 Firewire*. Performance varies by use, configuration and other factors.

6 As measured by MLPerf v0.5 Inference with Offline Scenario using OpenVINO 2020.2 framework Closed ResNet50-v1.5 offline int8 GPU (Batch=32) on 11th Gen Intel® Core i7-1185G7 Processor vs OpenVINO 2020.2 framework Closed ResNet50-v1.5 offline FP32 GPU (Batch=32).

7 Verified, measured and tested against a premium specification and Key Experience Indicators as part of Intel's laptop innovation program Project Athena. Testing results as of August 2020, and do not guarantee individual laptop performance. Power and performance vary by use, configuration and other factors. For more complete information about performance and benchmark results, visit Intel.com/Evo.

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