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Intel’s Alder Lake H-series laptop chips take on Apple M1 Max with vengeance

Intel is expanding its 12th-gen Alder Lake platform to mobile. The company announced eight new mobile chips being shown off in laptops at CES 2022, as well as a swath of low-power mobile processors arriving within the first few months of the year.

The chips in question come from the 45-watt H-series. These enthusiast chips have the highest power budget out of any of Intel’s mobile options, making them ideal for gaming laptops like the Alienware X14 and creator devices from Asus, Acer, Lenovo, HP, and more.

Over the next few months, many of the best laptops and gaming laptops will be updated with these new chips. You can find the specs of the H-series chips in the table below.

Specs

Cores Max boost frequency Intel Smart Cache (L3) Base power
Core i9-12900HK 14 (6P + 8E) 5.0GHz 24MB 45W
Core i9-12900H 14 (6P + 8E) 5.0GHz 24MB 45W
Core i7-12800H 14 (6P + 8E) 4.8GHz 24MB 45W
Core i7-12700H 14 (6P + 8E) 4.7GHz 24MB 45W
Core i7-12650H 10 (6P + 4E) 4.7GHz 24MB 45W
Core i5-12600H 12 (4P + 8E) 4.5GHz 18MB 45W
Core i5-12500H 12 (4P + 8E) 4.5GHz 18MB 45W
Core i5-12450H 8 (4P + 4E) 4.4GHz 12MB 45W

The flagship Core i9-12900HK tops out at 14 cores, split across six performant (P) cores and eight efficient (E) cores. Intel says the new chip delivers up to a 28% improvement in games over last-gen’s Core i911980HK, as well as an even larger improvement over AMD’s competing Ryzen 9 5900HX.

Most interesting is the comparison to Apple’s M1 Max, which shows up in Apple’s 2021 MacBook Pro. Intel says the Core i9-12900HK can outclass Apple’s best in Premiere Pro, Lightroom Classic, and Blender, among other apps. Early leaked benchmarks showed the chip performing as much as 50% better than the M1 Max. Some leaked benchmarks even show the cheaper Core i7-12800H beating Apple’s chip.

A render of Intel's 12th-gen mobile processor.

Intel only shared details about its H-series processors, but P-series (28W) and U-series (15W and 9W) chips should arrive within the first few months of 2022. We don’t have detailed specs on these chips yet, but we’ve already seen them in action in machines like the Dell XPS 13 Plus. In fact, there is a range of laptops using these chips being shown at CES 2022, suggesting that they’ll roll out sooner rather than later.

The new chips use the same hybrid architecture as the rest of the Alder Lake range, combining P-cores and E-cores to boost multithreaded performance. In addition, the mobile chips come with Wi-Fi 6E, Thunderbolt 4 support, and platform technologies like Intel Deep Link. They also support four memory standards: DDR5, DDR4, LPDDR5, and LPDDR4.

Intel says over 100 designs are already confirmed, many of which are being shown off at CES 2022. These include new HP Elitebook models, as well as a range of new Blade laptops from Razer. Unlike Intel’s newly announced 12th-gen desktop processors, all of the H-series chips come with Alder Lake’s signature hybrid architecture.

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