Intel is betting big on Alder Lake and so far it has paid off. 12th Gen Intel processors have taken the lead from AMD in both gaming and productivity in almost all scenarios, and Intel wants to extend this lead even further. Not only are they launching 22 more Alder Lake desktop CPUs, the company has also just unveiled Alder Lake mobile. A collection of 28 mobile chips across different performance segments that aim to instill Intel as the frontrunner for mobile innovation.
There are three different series of Intel Alder Lake mobile processors. H-series for high-performance enthusiast laptops, P-series for a balanced experience that still packs a lot of power, and finally the U-series which is the low-powered version of Alder Lake meant for only thin and light notebooks.
The Alder Lake mobile platform can scale from 9W all the way to 125W and is built on the Intel 7 process, which is the new name for 10 nm Enhanced SuperFin. The top-end of the Alder Lake mobile lineup goes up against Apple‘s M1 Max and AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX and seemingly beats them by a healthy margin.
This article focuses on Alder Lake-H as that is the main series worth talking about, plus the only one Intel actually talked about at their show. The company has released slides for Alder Lake-P and Alder Lake-U but didn’t dive into details at the press conference so we’ll glance over them at the end.
Intel Alder Lake H-series
As mentioned before, this is the flagship Alder Lake mobile series as houses the best of the best Intel has to offer. Right off the bat, we’ll begin with the Core i9-12900HK which Intel says is the fastest mobile processor ever made. It features 14 cores and 20 threads. Six out of those 14 cores are Golden Cove Performance Cores while the other eight are Gracemont Efficiency Cores. The chip also features a max turbo clock speed of 5.0Ghz, something it shares with AMD’s new Ryzen 9 6980HX.
The i9-12900HK has a 45W base TDP but it’s an unlocked SKU so it’s overclockable and the max thermal limit is 115W which allows it to offer insane performance per wattage as seen in the pictures below. While these claims come directly from Intel, they are still quite exciting as the company says that the 12900HK is 28% faster than the 11980HK in gaming and beats both the Apple M1 Max and Ryzen 9 5900HX in Blender and PugetBench.
Apart from that, the Alder Lake-H series goes all the way down to the i5 SKU with the lowest-end chip being the Core i5-12450H, which is an 8-core, 12-thread CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores. Like the flagship i9, this SKU also has a 45W base TDP but only goes up to 95W before hitting its power limit. The max boost clock seen in the 12450H is 4.4Ghz.
All Alder Lake-H CPUs have the same 45W TDP but only i9 and i7 SKUs have a 115W power limit whereas the i5 SKUs have a slighly lower 95W power limit. Interestingly enough, non-K Alder Lake desktop processors don’t have efficiency cores at all and only rely on performance cores, but we get to see both of them working together in a hybrid architecture here on Alder Lake mobile.
As for the features, Alder Lake-H series supports both DDR5 (up to 4800Mhz) and LPDDR5 (up to 5200Mhz) memory standards along with PCIe Gen4. Intel’s Killer WiFi 6E will also be supported by all H-series SKUs and Thunderbolt 4 will be standard across Alder Lake-H. There’s also a new technology called “Intel Deep Link” which allows Intel CPUs and future Intel GPUs (Arc Alchemist) to talk to each other and dynamically share power to improve performance.
There are a total of 8 SKUs in Alder Lake mobile H-series and Intel says over 100 designs are in production using these SKUs. The first laptops featuring these processors will come out in Q1 2022 and many have already been announced at CES 2022. In comparison, the U-series and P-series laptops are a bit farther off. You can check out the detailed spec sheet for all Alder Lake-H series chips below.
Alder Lake U-series and P-series
Intel also announced the Alder Lake P-series which is meant for middle-of-the-road performance with efficiency as a priority. For many people, this would provide the best balance of not only power and battery life, but also cost. All P-series processors have a base TDP of 28W and a max TDP of 64W before they hit their power limit. There is only one i3 SKU in this series, two i5 SKUs, and three i7 SKUs with the top-end model, Core i7-1280P, hitting 4.8Ghz boost frequencies with 14 cores and 20 threads.
Then there’s the Alder Lake U-series which are the lowest-end, but still quite capable, performers. This category is mainly aimed at thin and light notebook that don’t prioritize gaming. There are 14 chips in this category: four i7 SKUs, four i5 SKUs, two i3 SKUs, and two Celeron and Pentium SKUs. The highest-end chip is the Core i7-1265U which has two performance cores and eight efficiency cores for a total of 10 cores and 12 threads. This model boosts up to 4.8Ghz.
Half of the U-series processors have a 15W base TDP with a max power limit of 55W whereas the rest have 9W base TDP and a 29W maximum turbo power. The lowest end SKU here is Celeron 7300 which has 1 big core and 4 small cores at a 1Ghz max boost clock. You can see the detailed spec sheet for both the U-series and P-series below. You’ll notice that the U-series is divided into two different charts with one representing 15W SKUs and the other 9W SKUs.
Apart from that, we don’t have much information about these two Alder Lake mobile series as Intel did not show any benchmarks or comparisons against the competition. We also don’t have a concrete release date for these processors, though it should be relatively close to the Alder Lake H-series launch as Alienware has already announced an Alder Lake-P laptop.
That concludes Intel’s announcements from CES 2022. Of course they talked about some other things like business and server products but all of that is irrelevant to normal consumers. There was one important product announcement at the start of the show, though, that we will cover soon. After the show, Intel lifted the curtains on the rest off Alder Lake desktop CPUs including the new Core i5-12400 that you can check out here.
Of course, Intel wasn’t the only one that announced mobile processors today, AMD also came to CES with Ryzen 6000 “Rembrandt” APUs that are specked surprisingly similarly to Intel’s options. NVIDIA, on the other hand, introduced new mobile GPUs along with desktop GPUs that will release in Q1 2022. Stick around as CES is bringing exciting news with new announcements every moment!