At today’s Intel Vision conference, the company introduced a new version of Alder Lake for mobile devices. Unlike existing H-Class mobile processors, the new HX variants are designed for exceptional performance at a variety of loads. It’s kind of like HEDT for laptops, if you will. Intel is even launching new chips such as desktop caliber technology.
This new batch of processors is designed for workstations and gaming machines to replace desktops. They mark the arrival of 16-core processors and PCIe Gen 5 in the mobile space, which is the first for the industry.
These new processors join the Alder Lake H mobile family of “enthusiasts”. They are one step higher, representing the company’s leading mobile parts. You know Intel means business because they added X to the name. One huge difference between the HX and H series is that the seven new processors are BGA-packed desktop chips. In addition, because processors are extreme, Intel has increased power consumption everywhere. This family includes all processors with a base power of 55W, as opposed to 45W for H-Class processors. Max Turbo Power has also been increased to 157W for the entire range. The high-end processors in the H family reach 115W, and the second-level chips reach 95W. Intel managed to squeeze its Alder Lake chips into a mobile footprint, reducing their Z-height by 2.4 mm. The other CPU package sizes are exactly the same at 45mm by 37.5mm.
Like Alder Lake’s desktop processors, these chips are made for overclocking. Each SKU supports overclocking, as well as Intel XMP 3.0 for DDR5. As with standard Alder Lake, DDR4-3200 and DDR5-4800 are supported. Up to 128 GB of memory is possible and ECC is also supported on certain models. This will be the first mobile platform to offer PCIe 5.0 with 48 PCIe lanes. (5.0 x16 + 4.0 x20 + 3.0 x12). This is a significant increase from Alder Lake H, which offers PCIe 4.0 x16 and PCIe 3.0 x12. These chips also support Intel Thread Director for optimized workload balancing in Windows 11. It also supports up to four PCIe SSDs for up to 16TB of storage. Extreme really.
The four best processors on the stack are Intel’s first 16-core mobile processors. They all have eight high-performance cores and eight efficient cores, giving them a total of 24 threads. The previous flagship, the Core i9-12900HK, had 14 cores and 20 threads. Both Core i9 processors also have 6MB more L3 cache than their H counterparts, for a total of 30MB.
Another way these chips differ drastically from their H-Class counterparts is their GPUs. As part of the desktop class, their iGPUs are significantly reduced compared to the mobile versions. This is because all these chips will be paired with a discrete graphics processor. While high-end H-chips have 96 actuators (EU), HX mobile parts have only 32 EUs in six of the seven processors. The HX “entry level” part has only 16 EUs, so they all have about a third of their H-class siblings in the EU.
These new processors will appear in many gaming laptops and workstations. In fact, we’ve discussed one of them before: the Dell Precision 7670. You may remember that this is the laptop with Dell’s new DDR5 memory module called CAMM. Other models include Asus ROG Scar Strix 17 SE, MSI GT77 Titan, HP Omen 17 and others. No doubt they will all be big, sturdy notebooks.
For now, it looks like this range of mobile processors will be a success, as AMD’s current 6000 series chips are more focused on efficiency than raw horsepower. AMD recently announced its 6000 Series Pro processors, but they are also focused on battery life and security, not maximum performance. That all will change later this year (or early 2023) when AMD launches its next-generation Zen 4-based mobile platform. These chips, called the Dragon Range, are designed to capture the crown of mobile device performance. AMD pre-brags about those processors that have the highest number of cores, clock and cache in a mobile solution. With today’s announcement from Intel, AMD obviously has its work to do. This is reminiscent of the words of a noble Japanese scientist: “let them fight.”