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Intel Alder Lake leak reveals 12-core laptop chip that challenges AMD

Alder Lake is Intel’s strategy for desktop and mobile going forward, but we’ve heard a lot more about the desktop chips than the laptop ones. Now, we’re starting to see more on mobile configurations, including the 12-core Intel Core i7-1270P that’s reportedly inside an upcoming Samsung Galaxy Book revision.

The leak comes via BenchLeaks, who discovered a listing for the unreleased chip in the GeekBench database. This is after GeekBench announced it would block all pre-release benchmarks. This result not only includes a pre-release chip, it includes the generation’s code name and even the processor name.

[GB5 CPU] Unknown CPU
CPU: Intel Core i7-1270P (12C 16T)
Min/Max/Avg: 7846/22882/17204 MHz
Codename: Alder Lake
CPUID: 906A2 (GenuineIntel)
Scores, vs AMD 5800X
Single: 851, -50.8%
Multi: 3624, -66.3%

— Benchleaks (@BenchLeaks) October 11, 2021

The result itself doesn’t mean much. It shows the upcoming Core i7-1270P underperforming compared to the Core i7-1165G7 available in the current Galaxy Book by about 40%. That doesn’t line up with previous leaks, which suggest Alder Lake will bring about a 20% bump to the previous generation, even at the low end.

More interesting are the specs. The result shows a 12-core, 16-thread part with a base frequency of 2.5GHz and a maximum frequency of 9MHz. That isn’t a typo, and you didn’t read it wrong. These kinds of pre-release benchmarks could have features disabled or be run for highly specific use cases, so discount the clock speed and take the final scores with a grain of salt.

Twelve cores are more than any laptop you can buy offers, outside of a few purpose-built machines that rock desktop chips. That includes AMD’s own Ryzen 5000 laptop chips, which have up to eight cores.

However, with Alder Lake, you’re not getting a full 12 cores. Like the rest of Alder Lake, the i7-1270P uses a hybrid architecture. Four of the cores are performant (P) cores, while the other eight are efficient (E) cores.

Render of Intel Alder Lake chip.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The P-cores are like any you’d find on a standard processor. They’re big, fast, and can handle heavy-duty workloads. The E-cores are built to run simpler tasks, taking some of the pressure off of the P-cores and freeing up resources for demanding applications. Windows 11 is said to leverage this architecture through Thread Director, which gives the operating system visibility into which tasks are most demanding.

Intel is replacing its wattage classifications — such as Tiger Lake H45 — with a single name: Alder Lake-P. These mobile chips can range from 12W to 45W, and you’ll likely find them everywhere from budget notebooks to high-end gaming machines. For Samsung’s part, an earlier leak revealed a 14-core Alder Lake-P chip, suggesting the upcoming Galaxy Book will come with multiple processor options.

Alder Lake chips are coming this year, but we’re not sure right now if the launch is for desktop, mobile, or both. Multiple rumors point to Intel launching the first desktop chips at its Intel Innovation event on October 27 with a street date later in November. Hopefully, the mobile chips are on the same release track.

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Jacob Roach
Senior Staff Writer, Computing
Jacob Roach is a writer covering computing and gaming at Digital Trends. After realizing Crysis wouldn't run on a laptop, he…
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