Intel introduces a new processor class for notebooks: Alder Lake-HX, led by the Core i9-12950HX, positions itself with up to 16 CPU cores and a thermal design power of 55 watts above all previous Alder Lake Core i-12000 series -H (45W), Alder Lake-P (28W) and Alder Lake-U (8-15W).
Intel is bringing the previous desktop models Alder Lake-S into notebooks – the processors use the same silicon chips, but are soldered in BGA construction in mobile devices and are therefore not interchangeable. This step makes the CPUs and thus the notebooks primarily flatter.
The two new top models are called Core i9-12900HX and Core i9-12950HX. Both use eight performance and efficiency cores with a total of 24 threads (only the P cores are capable of hyperthreading). The previous top model Core i9-12900HK has six performance and eight efficiency cores. In Intel’s own benchmarks, the HX CPUs are therefore faster, especially in multithreading applications.
Platform with PCI Express 5.0 and 128 GB RAM
In addition, a new platform beckons, which draws level with the Z690 and H670 mainboards in terms of equipment. In addition to plenty of PCI Express 4.0 for up to four PCIe SSDs, there are also 16 PCIe 5.0 lanes, which, however, do not offer any advantage as of today – there are neither corresponding GPUs nor SSDs.
Intel releases the HX processors for up to 128 GB DDR5-4800 or DDR4-3200 RAM, in some cases optionally with ECC error correction. The manufacturer limits the previous H-CPUs to 64 GB of memory without ECC. Additional controllers are required for Thunderbolt 4, since the chipset adopted from desktop PCs has not integrated one.
Alder Lake-HX is intended for thick mobile workstations and gaming notebooks, which also makes the maximum power limit of 157 watts clear. However, Intel’s announcement shows how small the niche of these processors is: Only a little more than ten devices are to appear with these CPUs this year. All use dedicated graphics chips to increase performance.
Core i vPro instead of Xeon
Intel offers a total of seven models with 8 to 16 cores. The Core i5-12450HX at the lower end of the series is likely to be slower than the previously introduced 14-core Core i9-12900H, but should find buyers because of the extensive HX platform.
Meanwhile, the product segmentation without a strict nomenclature is confusing, since Intel no longer sets up entry-level Xeon processors, but instead sells vPro-capable Core i CPUs with ECC support. In the i9 performance class, the Core i9-12950HX with a 50 suffix has vPro and ECC support, but the CPU cores in this model cannot be overclocked using a multiplier. With the almost identical Core i9-12900HX, the CPU cores can be overclocked, but no ECC RAM can be used without vPro support.
The same applies to the Core i7-12850HX and Core i7-12800HX, but then there is also the Core i7-12650HX – also with a 50 ending – without vPro, ECC and overclocking support. In the i5 class, the Core i5-12600HX with the 00 ending has vPro and ECC support, but no OC support.
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