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Intel Alder Lake-HX Leak: 16 Cores, 5 GHz Boost Clock

Intel Alder Lake Mobile CPU
Intel Alder Lake Mobile CPU (Image credit: Intel)

Intel hasn't officially announced the 12th Generation Alder Lake-HX processors. However, Chinese news outlet ITHome has uncovered the alleged specifications for the chipmaker's forthcoming muscle chips. Hardware detective momomo_us helped fill in the base clock speeds.

Alder Lake-HX will feature the same recipe as Intel's other Alder Lake lineups. The Golden Cove cores and Gracemont cores will hook up to provide Alder Lake-HX with a hybrid design. Intel's mobile Alder Lake processors max out at 14 cores and 20 threads, and Alder Lake-HX is the last addition to the 12th Generation family, offering up to 16 cores and 24 threads.

The Alder Lake-HX lineup reportedly delivers desktop-class performance for mobile devices. However, more cores lead to higher power consumption. While Alder Lake-H has a 45W PBP (processor base power), Alder Lake-HX presumably sees a 10W increase, putting the new chips at 55W. However, the MTP (max turbo power) for Alder Lake-HX is unknown. The highest-end Alder Lake-H chips top out at 115W.

Alder Lake-HX will compete with AMD's recently unleashed 6nm Ryzen 6000 (Rembrandt) processors that wield Zen 3+ cores and RDNA 2 graphics. Intel's Gracemont efficiency cores add to Alder Lake-HX's core count, making it look impressive on paper, whereas Ryzen 6000 has up to eight full-fledged Zen 3+ cores. Inexperienced consumers may fall for the Alder Lake-HX's high core count as the chips appear to have twice as many cores as Ryzen 6000, but we'll need to wait for a thorough review before judging who's faster.

Intel Alder Lake-HX Specifications

ProcessorCores / ThreadsBase / Boost Clocks (GHz)
Core i9-12950HX (vPro)*16 / 242.3 / 5.0
Core i9-12900HX*16 / 242.3 / 5.0
Core i7-12850HX (vPro)*16 / 242.1 / 4.8
Core i7-12800HX*16 / 242.0 / 4.8
Core i9-12900H14 / 202.5 / 5.0
Core i7-12800H14 / 202.4 / 4.8
Core i5-12600H12 / 162.7 / 4.5
Core i5-12600HX (vPro)*12 / 162.5 / 4.6
Ryzen 9 6980HX8 / 163.3 / 5.0

*Specifications are unconfirmed.

The Core i9-12900HX is the flagship model for the Alder Lake-HX lineup. It has 16 cores and 24 threads with base and boost clock speed up to 2.3 GHz and 5 GHz, respectively. The Core i9-12950HX is the vPro version and will feature similar clock speeds. So, how does the Core i9-12900HX fair against the Ryzen 9 6980HX, the top SKU from the Ryzen 6000 army?

Despite the Core i9-12900HX flaunting 16 total cores, only eight of them are the performance Golden Cove cores. If we disregard the Gracemont cores, the Core i9-12900HX essentially has eight cores, the same as the Ryzen 9 6980HX. Both chips boast the same 5 GHz boost clock, but the Ryzen 9 6980HX has a 1 GHz higher base clock.

Looking at the specifications, it's clear that Intel had to make some sacrifices to the base clock speeds and bump up the PBP for Alder Lake-HX. For example, the Core i9-12900HX has two more cores than the Core i9-12900H, and while both processors have the same 5 GHz boost clock, the Core i9-12900H has a 200 MHz higher base clock.

The Core i7-12800HX received a similar treatment. The chip has two more cores than the Core i7-12800H, but the latter's base clock is 200 MHz higher. Finally, the Core i5-12600HX appears to be the oddball out of the lot. The processor retains the same 12-core, 16-thread configuration as the Core i5-12600H but has a 200 MHz lower base clock but a 100 MHz higher boost clock.

Intel hasn't shared any information on Alder Lake-HX's launch. However, Asus has announced its "Pinnacle of Performance" virtual event for May 9, hinting at the potential debut of Alder Lake-HX.

Zhiye Liu
Zhiye Liu

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • peachpuff
    How long before intel says <Mod Edit> it and stuffs the 12900ks in a laptop?
    Reply
  • hannibal
    When they invent quantum loop cooler that dump all the extra heat to another dimension ;)
    Reply
  • rtoaht
    Admin said:
    ...If we disregard the Gracemont cores,...
    How could you willy-nilly disregard the cores? If the 12900K didn't have those 8 gracemont core it wouldn't have been able beat the 16 core 5950X in most multi-threaded workloads. So those 8 gracemont must be doing something.
    Reply
  • watzupken
    The problem here is thermals. Intel can get away with high thermals on a desktop, but not so in a laptop. Especially when people expects slimmer laptop chassis while maintaining high performance. The supposed “up to 5Ghz” is more like a rare boost, which will not benefit a sustained CPU heavy workload. So these are more like marketing and of any practical purpose.
    Reply
  • edzieba
    watzupken said:
    The problem here is thermals. Intel can get away with high thermals on a desktop, but not so in a laptop. Especially when people expects slimmer laptop chassis while maintaining high performance. The supposed “up to 5Ghz” is more like a rare boost, which will not benefit a sustained CPU heavy workload. So these are more like marketing and of any practical purpose.
    Most practical purposes, particularly on laptops, are intermittent bursts rather than than steady-state. High short-term boosts give excellent practical performance benefits there, as your primary metric is task completion time (i.e. 'responsiveness').
    Almost any desktop CPU downvolted and downclocked enough could beat a stock laptop CPU in energy efficiency and overall TDP metrics, but perceptual performance in use would be pretty crap due to having to wait longer for each individual task to complete.
    CPU designers (Intel, AMD, ARM, Apple, etc) have all adopted clock boosting - under various brand-names - because it works very well.
    Reply