Intel Readies 'Muscle' Alder Lake-HX: 16-Core CPUs for Laptops

(Image credit: Intel)

Out of necessity, the highest-performing workstation-grade laptops turned to Intel's socketed CPUs to offer unbeatable performance for years. Apparently Intel will address that need head-on by rolling out new Alder Lake-HX processors with 16 cores and desktop PC-class performance. These CPUs will allegedly use Intel's Alder Lase-S silicon in BGA packaging and have a TDP of 55W. 

Intel's Alder Lake-HX looks like a full-fat Alder Lake-S die with eight Golden Cove performance cores, eight Gracemont efficiency cores, 30MB of cache, and an integrated Xe-LP GPU with 32 execution units. The CPU appears to use a BGA1964-ADL-S interposer specifically designed to provide enough pins and power to drive the rather large and power-hungry piece of silicon and perhaps house the chipset in the same package. The 'muscle' Alder Lake-HX processors will reportedly be rated for a 45W or 55W TDP, though we would expect much higher maximum power limits to enable high clocks. Meanwhile, when it comes to high clocks, voltage regulating modules (VRMs) play a big role, so the performance of Alder Lake-HX will also depend not only on Intel, but also on PC makers and motherboard designers. 

Speaking of clocks, we don't know anything about frequencies or when we can expect to see the chips on the market. In fact, it is extremely surprising to see this part emerging at all. 

(Image credit: Intel)

When Intel introduced its mobile 12th Generation Core Alder Lake 'Alder Lake' processors for laptops, it made it clear that for mobile PCs, it was going to offer two types of CPU silicon: Alder Lake-H with up to six Golden Cove cores and eight Gracemont cores for mainstream and higher-end notebooks, as well as Alder Lake-U and Alder Lake-P with two Golden Cove cores and up to eight Gracemont cores for ultra-portable and entry-level mobile PCs. Two types of dies are enough to address the vast majority of notebooks, but there are also machines that need to offer performance on par with desktops. To address them, it appears that Intel is prepping its rather unexpected Alder Lake-HX silicon. 

Truth be told, it was not that unexpected. Back in mid-2021, a slide covering an Alder Lake-H55 platform with 16 cores and in the so-called S-BGA packaging was leaked by @9550pro to a great surprise of observers who did not expect Intel to offer something like this. Keeping in mind how many fake slides emerge these days, many doubted the authenticity of the image. Meanwhile, Lit-Tech, a maker of interposers, has listed Intel's BGA1964-ADL-S interposer for quite a while. 

To confirm Intel's Alder Lake-HX plans, @Komachi_Ensaka published an excerpt from a document that describes an Intel Alder Lake-HX ES CRB kit for development and testing purposes. We do not know how old the document is and therefore cannot make assumptions regarding launch window of the alleged platform, but it looks like Intel's Alder Lake-HX is indeed incoming based on data from three sources.

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.