At is Vision 2022 event, currently underway in Grapevine, Texas, Intel unveiled the latest new additions to its mobile processor line-up, targeted squarely at the high-performance mobile workstation and extreme gaming laptop segments. Intel’s new 12th Gen Alder Lake-HX processors build upon the company’s current mobile line-up, by adding more cores and features, which should push performance significantly higher, especially for the type of demanding multi-threaded workloads, common with today’s content creators, enthusiasts, scientists, and professionals in the visual arts, rendering and animation fields.
Upcoming Core i5, i7, and i9 12th Gen Alder Lake-HX processors are an extension of Intel’s H-Series mobile products that further scale the hybrid Alder Lake architecture into 55W+ power envelopes. The chips are fundamentally similar to their more-powerful desktop counterparts, but leverage different packaging technology suitable for mobile platforms. Whereas desktop chips use 45mm x 37.5xmm x 4.4mm LGA (Land Grid Array) packaging that fit into sockets on desktop motherboards, mobile 12th Gen Alder Lake-HX processors use a 45mm x 37.5xmm x 2mm BGA (Ball Grid Array) package that’ll be soldered down on the boards used in next-gen gaming laptops and mobile workstations.
Intel 12th Gen Core Alder Lake-HX processors will feature up to 16 cores, with up to 8 P-cores (Performance) and 8 E-cores (Efficiency). They will offer broad memory support for either DDR4 or DDR5 memory technologies, at speeds up to DDR5-4800, with capacities up to 128GB. Error Correcting Code (ECC) memory is also supported, which is a key differentiator for some scientific or mission critical workloads. The processors also have built-in support for PCIe Gen 5, with a flexible lane configuration (x16 or 2×8), but additional PCI Gen 4 and Gen 3 lanes are available in the processor and chipset, and offer support for up to four NVMe PCIe SSDs, among a myriad of other peripherals. Of course, WiFi 6E, Thunderbolt, and USB 3 are also integrated into the platform.
The initial line-up of 12th Gen Core Alder Lake-HX processors will consist of 7 processors, in the Core i5, i7, and i9 families. The base-line SKU is the Core i5-12450HX, which features 8 cores (12 threads), 12MB of L3 cache, and a maximum turbo frequency of 4.4GHz on its P-cores. The top-end Core i9-12950HX brings the core count all the way up to 16 cores (24 threads), with 30MB of L3 cache, and a maximum turbo frequency of 5GHz.
All of the 12th Gen Core Alder Lake-HX processors also feature integrated Intel Xe graphics cores, with 16 – 32 Execution Units (EUs), but expect every machine built around one of these powerful processors to be paired with high-performance discrete GPUs – the iGPUs are there only for light-duty, day-to-day computing tasks.
Another feature worth noting is overclocking support. Though overclocking in mobile platforms is typically limited due to the more stringent thermal constraints of laptop and notebook form factors, all of the 12th Gen Core Alder Lake-HX series offers full memory overclocking, with limited or complete core overclocking, depending on the model.
Intel is making some impressive performance claims with these processors as well. According to Intel’s data, the Core i9-12900HX (which will perform similarly to the Core i9-12950HX), is the fastest mobile processor made to date, offering huge double-digit gains over Intel’s own previous-gen platform and higher-performance than AMD’s current flagship Ryzen 9 as well, in an array of content creation, rendering, and CAD applications.
Gaming performance on 12th Gen Core Alder Lake-HX processors also shows big numbers. When paired to NVIDIA’s current top-of-the-line GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, Intel’s data shows triple-digit framerates in many titles, which will be ideal for pushing the high-refresh rate LCD panels that are growing increasingly more common in today’s premium gaming notebooks.
All told, Intel’s 12th Gen Core Alder Lake-HX processors will push the performance of high-end gaming notebooks and mobile workstations to new-found levels, that will compete with many desktop systems, with uncompromising feature sets and support for all of the latest IO and connectivity technologies. Of course, pushing huge core counts and high clocks will result in increased power demands (which translates into shorter battery life), but in this class of machine, that’s par for the course.
Expect machines powered by the Intel 12th Gen Core Alder Lake-HX to arrive from key partners like HP, Lenovo, MSI, ASUS and others in the not too distant future.