Intel has introduced a whole new 55W tier in its 12th Gen “Alder Lake” laptop CPU portfolio. Known as the HX series, the seven new CPU models are essentially desktop-class Alder Lake CPUs repackaged to fit in laptops. The nominal TDP of 55 W can increase up to 157 W with an adequate cooling system. Announced today at Intel’s Vision technology conference, these CPUs target a new class of high-end gaming and workstation laptops. With up to 16 heterogeneous cores, PCIe 5.0, overclocking support and high-speed connectivity, these processors are not for the thin-and-light segment.
The top-of-the-line Core i9-12950HX has eight performance cores with Hyper-Threading and eight efficiency cores for a total of 24 threads. The P-cores can reach a Turbo Boost frequency of 5 GHz. There is a total of 30MB of cache memory. This model supports Intel’s vPro manageability framework but is otherwise identical to the Core i9-12900HX more commonly seen in consumer or gaming laptops. There are also three Core i7 models and two Core i5 models positioned further down the stack.
You get more cores and a higher TDP limit compared to the Alder Lake H series, but some models have slightly lower clock speeds and less powerful integrated GPUs. DDR5 and DDR4 memory are supported with optional error correction and XMP profile switching, but not the corresponding low-power standards. Memory and core overclocking are supported by the HX series, with independent controls for P and E cores.
The company claims performance that surpasses AMD’s current top-of-the-line Ryzen 6000 series and Apple’s M1 Max SoC, particularly on professional and media encoding workloads.
Intel’s Thread Director feature is tightly integrated into Windows 11 to help assign workloads to the most appropriate core or thread available. Laptop OEMs can use the 16 PCIe 5.0 lanes to interface with a discrete GPU, while additional PCIe 4.0 lanes can be used with up to four NVMe SSDs. There’s also Wi-Fi 6E and optional Thunderbolt.
Laptop manufacturers like Lenovo, HP, Dell, Asus, MSI and Gigabyte are among the first to announce laptop models based on these new CPUs. They can also show up in compact desktops or all-in-ones like Intel’s own NUC series.