Intel is bulking up its household of Alder Lake cellular CPUs with new HX sequence chips that leverage the identical silicon because the Alder Lake desktop PC chips, however Intel crammed them right into a slimmer bundle that may energy the highest-powered gaming and workstation laptops and notebooks. The brand new chips function as much as 16 cores, 24 threads, peak clock charges of 5.0 GHz, and a 55W base energy spec that stretches as much as an almost-unbelievable 157 watts underneath heavy load. Intel says the HX chips ship as much as 80% extra efficiency in multi-threaded workloads than its personal previous-gen chips and 10 to twenty% extra efficiency than its current-gen H-Sequence, and that is earlier than you leverage the HX chips’ overclocking options.
Intel’s new chips will try and fend off Apple’s M1 Max and M1 Extremely processors, to not point out AMD’s current 6nm Ryzen 6000 ‘Rembrandt’ chips and the upcoming Zen 4-powered Ryzen 7000 ‘Dragon Vary’ processors that may even stretch past 55W.
The HX chips are armed for workstation duties with assist for an unimaginable quantity of I/O for a pocket book, together with as much as 128GB of reminiscence unfold throughout 4 DDR4 or DDR5 modules, assist for ECC reminiscence, and as much as 4 SSDs. It is also the primary cellular platform to assist the PCIe 5.0 interface, making it highly effective sufficient to suit into the ‘desktop substitute’ class of cellular techniques. The vPro-branded HX sequence fashions will substitute Intel’s Xeon W cellular lineup, whereas the Core-branded fashions will energy the highest-end gaming laptops. Let us take a look at the specs and see how Intel crams its desktop PC processors into notebooks, then look at the corporate’s efficiency claims.
Intel Alder Lake Core HX Processors Specs
Intel’s Twelfth-Gen Alder Lake chips function the corporate’s hybrid structure, which mixes a mixture of massive and quick Efficiency cores (P-cores) with clusters of small and highly effective Effectivity cores (E-cores) that chew by way of background processes. You possibly can learn extra in regards to the design right here.
- HX-Sequence: 55W / 157W — As much as 8 P-cores, 8 E-cores, 32EU Xe LP graphics
- H-Sequence: 45W / 115W — As much as 6 P-cores, 8 E-cores, 96EU Iris Xe graphics
- P-Sequence: 28W / 64W— As much as 6 P-cores, 8 E-cores, 96EU Iris Xe graphics
- U-Sequence: 9W/15W 29W/55W — As much as 2 P-cores, 8 E-cores, 96EU Iris Xe graphics
Intel usually carves its cellular processors into 9/15W, 28W, and 45W swim lanes, however the HX-Sequence steps in as a brand new 55W tier for essentially the most efficiency. As well as, the HX sequence can increase as much as 157W, which is 42W greater than the H-series and a brand new excessive for Intel’s cellular lineup. For reference, the ‘X’ in HX stands for ‘eXpanded,’ indicating these fashions are an enlargement of the H-series of chips.
Intel’s HX sequence lineup spans the Core i9, i7, and i5 households with a complete of eight SKUs and tops out at as much as eight P-cores and eight E-cores, offering a complete of 24 threads (the P-Cores have hyperthreading, whereas the E-cores don’t).
The HX processors use the identical silicon as Intel’s desktop PC chips (extra on that beneath), in order that they have the Xe LP graphics engine with as much as 32 EUs. Compared, the remainder of the Alder Lake cellular lineup comes with the sooner Iris Xe engine with as much as 96 EUs. Intel says that it expects the entire HX-powered laptops, which is able to are available in each Core-branded gaming and vPro-branded workstation flavors, to have discrete GPUs from Nvidia, AMD, or Intel’s personal Arc lineup (although the latter is besieged by delays), so the lesser built-in GPU should not be a priority.
The Core i9-12950HX slots in because the flagship chip and has the complete complement of 8P+8E cores. The processor boosts to five.0 GHz on the P-Cores, 3.6 GHz on the E-Cores, and helps partial overclockability.
As you’ll be able to see within the slide above, Intel has two tiers of overclocking out there for the HX fashions: Two fashions, the 12900HX and the 12800HX, assist full overclocking of each the CPU cores and reminiscence, whereas the 5 different fashions solely assist reminiscence overclocking, so you’ll be able to’t overclock the CPU cores. Reminiscence overclocking consists of assist for XMP 3.0 profiles and Intel’s Dynamic Reminiscence Increase tech. The chips additionally assist Intel Velocity Optimizer and the eXtreme Tuning Utility (XTU) for CPU core overclocking. Moreover, the P-Cores and E-Cores could be overclocked independently on fashions that absolutely assist overclocking.
The decrease finish of the spectrum consists of the Core i5-12400HX, which comes with 4 P-cores and 4 E-cores, for a complete of 12 threads, that increase to 4.4 and three.1 GHz, respectively. That is the one HX chip to return with a fair smaller Xe LP engine with solely 16 EUs.
Intel’s HX sequence makes use of the identical die because the Alder Lake desktop PC chips, that means they’re the identical bodily silicon, however its firmware has been optimized for the ability, frequency, and thermal profile wanted for cellular use.
Intel transplanted the Alder Lake die from the 45 x 37.5mm LGA bundle that usually slots into the motherboard’s socket right into a similarly-sized SBGA bundle soldered right into a slimmer socket on a motherboard. Moreover, as with all laptop computer chips, the HX processor would not have an built-in warmth spreader (IHS), as a substitute utilizing a naked die. Consequently, the BGA bundle is roughly 2mm thick, considerably thinner than the 4.4mm discovered with the desktop PC chips. This enables Intel to cram the chip into skinny laptops whereas nonetheless having room for a cooling answer on prime. Intel says most HX laptops could have a 20mm or decrease thickness, whereas H-series units purpose for 14mm or much less.
As you’ll be able to see within the first slide above, all of Intel’s different cellular chips include a separate, smaller platform controller hub (PCH) chip on the identical bundle that gives the connectivity usually discovered on a separate chipset processor. In distinction, the HX processor would not include a PCH on the identical bundle, so it’s positioned individually on the laptop computer’s motherboard.
This separate chipset offers much more connectivity than a typical laptop computer, with assist for as much as 4 PCIe 4.0 x4 SSDs (with one linked to the HX processor itself), discrete WiFi 6E MACs, and two discrete Thunderbolt controllers. You possibly can assign these 4 SSDs into several types of redundancy, like RAID 1 and 5, or use a RAID 0 stripe for efficiency.
Moreover, the HX processor helps an x16 PCIe 5.0 connection (or 2×8) that Intel says might be helpful for future GPUs (not one of the discrete GPUs used for the launch notebooks could have a PCIe 5.0 GPU). That makes the HX-series processors the primary to assist PCIe 5.0 for laptops. General, HX-based techniques assist as much as 48 whole PCIe lanes in each PCIe 5.0 and 4.0 flavors, whereas the H-series topped out at 28 lanes of PCIe 4.0.
The assist for PCIe 5.0 might be most helpful within the close to time period for the newer, sooner crop of SSDs with the brand new interface that may come to market quickly. Nevertheless, the respective laptops will must be wired appropriately, as the usual 4 lanes for M.2 SSDs from the CPU are PCIe 4.0.
The HX processor additionally helps dual-channel LPDDR4-4267/DDR4-3200 or LPDDR5-4800/DDR5-5200 reminiscence in normal or ECC flavors (ECC is for vPro fashions solely). Pocket book makers can use as much as two DIMMs per channel, boosting capability to 4 whole DIMMs that would present as much as 128GB. In distinction, Apple helps LPDDR-6400 and AMD has LPDDR5-5500.
Intel Alder Lake Core HX Cell Efficiency Benchmarks
Intel shared its personal inner benchmarks, however as with all vendor-provided exams, take them with a grain of salt.
Intel says that its H-Sequence processors are nonetheless the quickest gaming CPUs out there, so regardless that the HX sequence will are available in gaming-focused laptops, they will not present the very best ranges of gaming efficiency. As such, it is not stunning that Intel solely offered fundamental gaming benchmark outcomes that do not have any comparative information to different chips.
Intel did present loads of benchmarks for purposes, although. For instance, Intel claims that the 12900HX is 17% sooner than the 11980HK in single-threaded work and 64% sooner in threaded work, with each measurements coming within the SPECint_rate_based 2017 workload.
Notably, this is not the latest model of SPEC’s take a look at and solely measures integer efficiency. Intel’s outcomes present that it’s a lot sooner in single- and multi-threaded work than the AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX and the Apple M1 Max however would not present particular efficiency measurements. Sadly, that makes it unimaginable to derive any significant comparisons to competing processors. As an alternative, Intel offers us bars on a chart with an unlabeled axis, which actually would not give us a lot confidence within the take a look at methodology/outcomes.
The rest of Intel’s benchmark outcomes are simply as poorly-defined, with the corporate making an attempt to restrict its comparisons to its personal chips solely as a substitute of the AMD and Apple competitors. Workloads embrace Blender, CrossMark, AutoDesk, and SPECworkstation CPU exams, however you need to view all of those with skepticism.
Intel says that ten techniques constructed across the HX processors will arrive this 12 months, with merchandise from OEMs like Dell, HP, Lenovo, and others. That features the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 SE, HP Omen 17, Gigabyte Aorus 17X/15X, MSI GT77 Titan and GE77/67 Raider, Lenovo Legion 7i, and Dell Precision 7670/77700. Nevertheless, Intel hasn’t offered a particular date that these might be out there for buy.