Intel just unveiled its fastest laptop processor yet, and it’s a 16-core beast

Intel launched its 12th generation processors earlier this year in three flavors: the H-series for high-performance laptops, the P-series for high-end ultra-thin devices, and the U-series for the thinnest laptops and tablets. more portable. These chips represented the majority of consumer products entering the market, but there is another niche segment that has not been addressed: powerful mobile workstations. You know: the thick, chunky beasts you can barely carry that come with power supplies as big as that netbook you owned in 2008.

Filling that hole, Intel unveiled new 12th Gen Alder Lake-HX processors today at its Intel Vision event, desktop-grade chips for laptops and gaming enthusiast workstations. Composed of seven chips divided into Core i5, Core i7 and Core i9, these processors come in a BGA package the same size as Intel’s LGA desktop (45 x 37.5) in addition to the height (2 against 4.4mm). These chips differentiate themselves from H-series processors with the ability to be unlocked, as well as more cores, higher power levels, and improved PCIe lanes.

The table below shows the complete Alder Lake-HX stack for gaming and workstation laptops:

Intel Core HX (Image: Intel)

As you can see, the Core i9-12950HX is the queen of this hive, and the first mobile chip with 16 cores, split between eight performance and eight efficiency cores. It has 24 threads and reaches a max turbo boost of 5.0 GHz, with a base frequency of 1.7 GHz on the efficiency cores. The Core i9-12900HX, which has similar specs but doesn’t support vPro for remote management (a feature used in commercial environments), steps down a rung.

When it comes to PCIe Express, Alder Lake-HX is the first laptop platform to support PCIe Gen 5, with a total of 48 PCIe lanes (Gen 5 x 16, Gen 4 x 20, Gen 3 x 12), compared to 28 lanes of PCIe Gen 4. Storage goes up to 16TB via four 4TB SSDs.

These “passionate” chips support up to 128GB of LPDDR5 memory (up to 4800MHz/5200MHz), with XMP 3.0 and error-correcting code, two discrete Thunderbolt 4 controllers, and a new feature called Dynamic Memory Boost for memory overclocking.

Intel promises significant performance gains from these chips. On a 3D rendering benchmark using Blender – the same program we use in our reviews – the Core i9-12900HX crushed its H-series counterpart by 81% and it led by 33% in the CrossMark benchmark for creative applications. .

Intel Core HX (Image: Intel)Intel Core HX (Image: Intel)

These chips are aimed at professional-grade tasks, like AutoCAD, where the Core i9-12900HX outperformed the Core i9-12900HK by 12%. It held an even bigger lead in the Autodesk Revit (28) and Autodesk Inventor (21%) benchmarks. These performance numbers come straight from Intel, so take them with a grain of salt until we can run our own tests.

Either way, this performance doesn’t come cheap. Each of these chips starts at a base power of 55W and ramps up to a turbo power of 157W. If Intel’s U-series chips are EVs and its P-series are hybrids, those HX processors are gas-guzzling V8 muscle cars. For comparison, Intel’s H-series chips start at 45W and turbo at 115W, which is a 42-watt increase in these more powerful processors.

Given these power requirements, laptops running HX processors will need some serious thermals, which will likely result in a thicker chassis. Then there’s the question of battery life, although these systems aren’t exactly supposed to be the most travel-friendly.

Laptops with Intel Core HX processor

Ten laptops are set to use these new HX processors, made up of a mix of business laptops and gaming rigs. Asus is set to refresh the ROG Strix Scar 17 SE, a powerful gaming laptop , and the ExpertBook B6, a surprisingly portable system, with these processors. Lenovo is bringing HX to its Legion 7i, while Dell has two Precision models (7670/7770) in the queue.

Image: IntelImage: Intel

Two MSI gaming laptops, the GT77 Titan and GE77/67 Raider, along with the Gigabyte Aorus 17X/15X and HP Omen 17, are also ready to harness the extra power. These laptops should be arriving soon for those who need a portable(ish) solution to replace their desktop.

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