scorecardIntel’s 12th-gen mobile processors: From going big on content creation to beating Apple’s M1 Max, everything you need to know
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Intel’s 12th-gen mobile processors: From going big on content creation to beating Apple’s M1 Max, everything you need to know

Intel’s 12th-gen mobile processors: From going big on content creation to beating Apple’s M1 Max, everything you need to know
Tech4 min read
  • Intel launched its latest generation of mobile processors virtually at CES 2022.
  • The new line-up comprises 28 processors, including Pentium, Celeron and 600-series CPUs.
  • Intel claims to have inched past Apple's M1 Max's performance with its Core i9 12900 processor.

Despite deciding to not attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022 in-person in Las Vegas amid rising Omicron cases, Intel has taken the wraps off its latest 12th-generation mobile processor line-up. Codenamed Alder Lake, this new generation aims to bring a few key upgrades to the outgoing family of mobile processors – scalability for a wider range of form factors, performance hybrid architecture and support for the spanking new DDR5 memory and PCI Express Gen 5 connectivity.

“Intel‘s new performance hybrid architecture is helping to accelerate the pace of innovation and the future of compute,” said Gregory Bryant, executive vice president and general manager of Intel’s Client Computing Group.

The American chipmaker also announced updates for the third-generation Evo platform for laptops and other on-the-go form factors, along with some enterprise-related enhancements.

As many as 28 new processors belonging to three different series were announced. This can be a bit challenging to understand for many, and so we have crunched down the entire launch in easy-to-understand pointers so that you can make the right decision for your next tech upgrade.

Saying hello to the family
Apart from the i3, i5, i7, i9 classifications, Intel’s 12th-generation mobile processors also belong to different series – the H-series is the top-of-the-line, best-performing series suited for gamers and high-productivity users, the U-series chips are made for ultrathin, fanless laptops, whereas the P-series processors offer the best of both worlds by combining enthusiast-level performance in a thin and light form factor. The 12th generation also includes the Pentium and Celeron chipsets for less demanding use cases along with the H670, H610 and B660 chips that are aimed at tinkerers and DIY’ers.

Performance Hybrid Architecture explained
One of the biggest buzzwords from this launch is ‘Performance Hybrid Architecture’. Remember the time when Intel went multi-core with the Core 2 Duo processors? The Performance Hybrid Architecture may be the next jump for Intel, and it basically means you get multiples of different cores. Simply put, Alder Lake processors feature two different types of CPU cores – one for an outright performance called the ‘Performance’ or ‘P’ core and another for efficiency, also called an ‘E’ core. These two types of cores are combined with Intel’s new Thread Director that works with the OS to ensure these two cores work together in symphony automagically. The P-cores are all about raw speed and are meant for reducing latency (or lag) and pushing the limits of single-threaded performance. The E-cores give the 12th-generation chips their flexibility. They are capable of packing in a punch while consuming less power and space, and as a result, four of these E-cores occupy almost the same space as a single P-core. The E-cores give the Alder Lake chips insane scalability across different form factors and are responsible for efficient multitasking.

Broader memory support
It’s soon going to be time to say hello to DDR5 and LPDDR5 memory in your latest laptops, as Intel’s 12th-generation mobile chipsets have support for the new generation of memory along with existing DDR4 and LPDDR4 spec. What are the advantages, you ask? DDR5 and LPDDR5 spec memories allow higher density modules that make it easy to pack more memory in smaller spaces in your system. It also increases bandwidth, with a maximum data rate that’s double the outgoing spec. All this while consuming less voltage to improve power efficiency. The new generation also has PCI Express Gen 5 support, so you can expect the next-generation graphics to come soon to your laptops.

Can it really beat Apple’s M1 Max?
According to Intel, the cream-of-the-crop 12th-generation mobile processor, the Core i9-12900HK, has managed to inch past the competition, including the much-coveted Apple’s M1 Max, although the former tends to operate at higher wattage. Nevertheless, with up to 5 GHz max Turbo frequency, 14 cores (6 P-cores and 8 E-cores) and 20 threads, it is indeed fast. Further, the new generation is about 40% faster than the outgoing family.

Big on content creation
Intel says that users can expect equally respectable performance in content creation platforms too. According to the stats released by the company, rendering capabilities have gone up by up to 43% gen-over-gen, but this comparison was made between an 11th-gen Intel Core i5 12600 and 12th-gen Core i9 12900 processors on a PugetBench Premiere Pro benchmark tool. The same 12th-gen processor reported a 31% improvement over the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G in the same test. You may want to take this information with a grain of salt till the actual benchmarking figures surface on the web.

Upgraded Evo-branded laptops & support for foldable
Announced in early 2021, Intel Evo is a badge that requires laptop manufacturers to adhere to minimum standards to deliver a quality experience in an ultrathin notebook. This year, Intel’s high-performance H-series chips would be joining the Evo line-up. On top of this, other key attributes were also added to the Evo line-up, including larger screen sizes of up to 16-inches and creator oriented displays. Foldable display spec has also been added to the Evo line-up, wherein Intel said we can expect more foldable laptops with larger screens and various form factors this year.